The U.S. Marine Corps has many long-standing proud traditions.
One of these, celebrating the Corps' birthday, was kept going Saturday evening by about 50 members and guests of the Mid-Iowa Detachment of the Marine Corps League at the Fort Dodge VFW Post 1856.
Born on Nov. 10, 1775, it's 237 years old.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
David McGaughy, senior vice-commandant with the Mid-Iowa Detachment of the Marine Corps League, cuts the Marine Corps 237th birthday cake Saturday evening during a celebration at the Fort Dodge VFW.
Paul Sanders, 39 of Fort Dodge, was the youngest Marine present.
He served from 1992 to 2002 in Panama, Africa, Somalia and Iraq.
His best birthday memory was from 1995 in Panama, when he was selected to wear a uniform from the War of 1812 in a parade.
"I had to wear this real leather collar," he said.
While authentic - it's how the Marines earned the nickname Leathernecks - it had a major problem in the tropical climate.
"It chafed," he said.
The oldest Marine in the room, Bob Knutson, 84, of Fort Dodge, recalled one celebration at a base in California. He said it was a good celebration.
David McGaughy, senior vice-commandant of the Mid-Iowa Detachment, recalled the pride he felt during birthday celebrations.
"There's nothing more memorable than being able to put on your dress blues," he said.
He also takes advantage of the day to connect with old Marine buddies and enjoys the camaraderie. He fondly recalls swapping stories around campfires and a familiar voice on the telephone.
"My phone has been blowing up all day from good buddies," he said.
While McGaughy is currently serving with the 133rd Iowa Air National Guard Test Squadron in Fort Dodge, he lives up to one of the many mottos to this day.
"I'm still a Marine," he said proudly.
After all, once a Marine, always a Marine.