CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan -- One of many highlights in the illustrious history of “The Professionals,” is the Camp Hansen namesake and Medal of Honor recipient for outstanding heroism during the battle of Okinawa - Private Dale M. Hansen.
2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, currently serving as the Battalion Landing Team of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, celebrated the 90th anniversary of its activation here, August 1.
In honor of 2/1 Marines both past and present, the all-day ceremony included a 90-mile relay run, a cake-cutting ceremony and a reading of the battalion lineage.
“This battalion is full of history and it is important for the Marines not only to hear it, but be a part of it,” said Sgt. Maj. Kent D. Cartmill, sergeant major of 2/1 and native of Garden City, Kans. “The 90-mile run and formation honors those who served with 2/1 in the past and links them with those who serve with 2/1 today.”
The run took over 15 hours to complete and included more than 700 Marines separated into four-man teams, with each team running one-half mile.
During the run, each Marine carried the battalion colors, symbolically representing the pride felt within the unit and demonstrating the teamwork that has made it successful for the past 90 years.
The run began with the senior members of the battalion, and ended with the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Andrew T. Priddy; the sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Kent. D. Cartmill; the battalion color sergeant, Sgt. Brandon R. Rivers; and the reigning Marine of the Quarter, Lance Cpl. Cory Contreras.
“It is a privilege for me to be a part of such a prideful unit,” said Lance Cpl. Randy Robles, an ammo man with Golf Co., BLT 2/1 and a native of Pasadena, Calif. “I think pride is what really sets a Marine unit apart.”
Starting at 3 a.m., the 90-mile run concluded at approximately 6 p.m. with a battalion formation. With the majority of the battalion present, the lineage of 2/1 was read.
The battalion began its record of excellence in the Dominican Republic, 1922, where it was activated to participate in the country’s occupation. The battalion was deactivated two years later and wasn’t reactivated until 1941 as part of the 1st Marine Division in World War II.
Since its reactivation, the battalion has participated in historic battles at Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Okinawa, Chosin Reservoir, and numerous campaigns in Vietnam.
Recently, the battalion completed four combat tours in Iraq. with the most recent deployment to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in 2011.
The recitation of accomplishments concluded with a cake-cutting ceremony to recognize the oldest and youngest Marines of the unit. The oldest Marine was Gunnery Sgt. Aslan Altan, born Feb. 1, 1968. The youngest Marine was Lance Cpl. Randy Robles, born Oct. 26, 1993.
The 31st MEU is the Marine Corps' force in readiness for the Asia-Pacific region.