Marines remember Battle of Belleau Wood

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BELLEAU, France — Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, along with French Brig. Gen. Eric Bonnemaison, Commandant of the 9th Brigade Legere Blindee de Marine, arrive at Belleau Wood for a wreath-laying ceremony at the feet of Iron Mike. The early morning ceremony marked the beginning of a series of Memorial Day events at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery. Each year, thousands of U.S. and French service members, their families, tourists and locals, gather to honor the memories of the 2,289 war-dead buried at the cemetery. (Department of Defense photo by Marine Cpl. Lydia M. Davey)

BELLEAU, France — Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos renders a salute after laying a wreath at the foot of Iron Mike. The early-morning wreath-laying ceremony commemorated the actions of U.S. Marines and French soldiers during the famed World War I Battle of Belleau Wood. Each year on Memorial Day, thousands of U.S. and French service members, their families, tourists and locals, gather at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery to honor the memories of the 2,289 war-dead buried there. (Department of Defense photo by Marine Cpl. Lydia M. Davey)

BELLEAU, France — French Army and U.S. Marine Corps ceremonial elements, along with approximately 2,000 tourists and local nationals, gather at the parade deck of the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery during the 91st annual Memorial Day ceremony there. Each year, thousands of U.S. and French service members, their families, tourists and locals, gather to honor the memories of the 2,289 war-dead buried at the cemetery. (Department of Defense photo by Marine Cpl. Lydia Davey)

BELLEAU, France — The U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps marches onto the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery's parade deck during the 91st Annual Memorial Day ceremony there. Each year, thousands of U.S. and French service members, their families, tourists and locals, gather to honor the memories of the 2,289 World War I Marines and soldiers buried at the cemetery. (Department of Defense photo by Marine Cpl. Lydia Davey)

BELLEAU, France — The U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps performs before approximately 2,000 tourists and local nationals, along with more than 500 U.S. and French service members, who gathered at the parade deck of the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery during the 91st annual Memorial Day ceremony there. Each year, thousands come together to honor the memories of the 2,289 war-dead buried at the cemetery. (Department of Defense photo by Marine Cpl. Lydia Davey)

BELLEAU, France — More than 300 Marines and sailors from commands throughout Europe and the United States, along with approximately 2,000 French locals, gathered at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery here for a Memorial Day ceremony May 24.

The gathering marked the 91st Anniversary of the World War I Battle of Belleau Wood, and was attended by Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, and French Brig. Gen. Eric Bonnemaison, Commandant of the 9th Brigade Legere Blindee de Marine. Each year, thousands come together at the 42.5-acre cemetery to honor the memories of the 2,289 war-dead who are buried there.

The ceremony featured remarks by the Mayor of Belleau, Mrs. Monique Benier, along with memorial addresses from both Amos and Bonnemaison. The laying of wreathes, poetry readings, and performances by the French Army Band, the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Silent Drill Platoon were also featured.

Today, let us pay tribute to the men who gave their lives for us and let us be worthy of their legacy,, said Bonnemaison. Their sacrifice will not have been in vain if our Army and your Corps maintain this respect for a soldierrs duty which extends up to the supreme sacrifice. In the annals of history, 1,087 Marines proved the friendship that the United States feels for France. We belong to an alliance that is renewed here each year and, in this place in particular, we feel its strength and duration..

Local nationals, along with service members, their families and tourists, watched the formal ceremony before walking into the nearby town of Belleau to attend a reception hosted by Benier. The small, centuries-old town with its spring gardens in full bloom, welcomed U.S. and French service members and their families with open arms and friendly smiles.

I wanted to attend to experience the opportunity of a lifetime as a proud Marine and American,, said CWO3 Norma Rucobo, Marine Forces East G-1 Assistant Personnel Officer. Rucobo attended the three-day event at her own cost, and said her personal take-away from the experience was The sense of pride and gratitude expressed by the people of the town, the spectacular sights, and the flyby as the memorial ceremony commenced. This experience was phenomenal. I think every Marine should live such a priceless opportunity..

During the reception, the group enjoyed Champaign, musical performances by several French groups, and the opportunity to drink from the famed Devil Dog Fountain.

Everything was perfect,, said Marine Cpl. Alfonzo Torres, adjutant clerk for Marine Corps Forces Europe. I was very excited due to the fact that I was able to visit a place where we were first ever called Devil Dogs!!

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VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Republic of Georgia-In front of a color detail with the national colors of America and the Republic of Georgia and the unit colors of the U.S. Marine Corps and Georgian military, Maj. Eric J. Andersen, executive officer Black Sea Rotational Force 11 and Kent, Wash., native,  â?forms the troops for the opening ceremony of Exercise Agile Spirit 2011, marking the official start of what is scheduled to be an annual training event with the partner nation. Marines with Alpha Company of Anti-Terrorism Battalion, and 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion deployed to Georgia for their annual training to supplement the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force deployment of BSRF-11, to conduct counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations training at Vaziani Training Area. , Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (June 28, 2011)  Cmdr. Patrick E. Kulakowski, commanding officer of the guided-missile frigate USS Carr (FFG 52), speaks with Russian media during a press conference shortly after the ship arrived in St. Petersburg. Carr is homeported out of Norfolk, Va., and is on a scheduled three-month deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

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VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Republic of Georgia-Gunnery Sgt. Charles Evers, an infantryman with Black Sea Rotational Force 11, draws a diagram on the floor for a Georgian soldier during Military Operations in an Urban Terrain training here July 19 as part of Exercise Agile Spirit 2011. Agile Spirit is designed to increase interoperability between the forces by exchanging and enhancing each otherrâ?s capacity in counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations, including: small unit tactics, convoy operations, and counter-Improvised Explosive Device training. (Cpl. Nana Dannsaappiah)

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