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ASU midshipmen outpace Marine Corps' 238th birthday

Naval ROTC celebrate Marine Corps 238th birthday with 238 mile relay.
November 20, 2013

How would you celebrate the Marine Corps’ 238th birthday? Running 238 miles and knocking out 1775 pull ups is how, if you are a member of Arizona State University Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps.  

“I was stationed at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twenty-Nine Palms, California, for my last duty station. They did an event like this and I thought it was a great idea,” said Timothy Garcia, staff sergeant and the assistant marine officer instructor at ASU. 

“So, when I got stationed here, I wanted to do something similar at ASU. I looked the fact that the U.S. Marine Corp was established on Nov. 10, 1775, I thought it would be a perfect kick off ASU’s Salute to Service Week.” 

While marines are tough, 1775 pull ups and 238 miles is clearly more than any one midshipman should do, so event leaders divided the burden amongst the 40 Marine midshipman and staff. Each participant ran 1 mile loops on the ASU campus until the 238 mile goal was reached – more than 12 hours of non-stop running. 

Starting at noon, Nov. 8, the event kicked off with Midshipman First Class Michael Harting. "The relay was a great way to instill camaraderie and esprit de corps amongst the Marine Options of ASU's Naval ROTC program," said Harting, after his first mile and set of eight pull ups. “Each mile represents more than a year of the Marine Corps history. It also represents the men and women who have come before us.”

Continuing through the night and into early morning of Nov. 9, the Marine Option midshipmen and active duty Marines of ASU NROTC completed the event at the top of A-Mountain. There, they listened to General John A. Lejeune’s birthday message, a tradition in the Marine Corps since Lejeune’s first reading on Nov. 1, 1921. The message brought closure to an experience that ASU Naval ROTC participants said they will never forget.

“This event gave us a chance to bond and celebrate the 238th birthday of our beloved Corps. It has also given us a great sense of pride not only in the Marine Corps but also in our ASU NROTC unit,” said Midshipman Benjamin Crites. “I am proud to say I helped start this program and have been able to see it develop from a small group of new students without uniforms, to one of the largest units in the nation."  

Expect to cheer them on in 2014 for 239 miles, said Garcia. “I hope to make this event an annual tradition at ASU.”

The Naval ROTC unit at Arizona State University was established in 2010 and has since grown to be one of the largest in the nation, including over 130 Marines and Marine Option midshipmen in the Sea Devil Battalion. Salute to Service is an annual weeklong event at ASU that highlights and celebrates our veterans and service members.