New York Marines gather, remember: Once a Marine, Always a Marine

21 May 2004 | Cpl. Beth Zimmerman

A Marine Corporal walked outside of his hotel on a warm Tuesday evening to catch some of New York City's sights. Between the restaurants and theatres that make up the city's crowded Theatre District, he saw a Marine Major in uniform. He gave the appropriate greeting. "Good evening, Sir," said Cpl. Michael Joyce, from Naval Air Station Atlanta. He didn't expect the Major's reply. "The party's upstairs," the Major replied. "What party?" asked Joyce. "Aren't you here for the all-hands party?""I'm just here on vacation," said Joyce. But, he went up the steps the Major gestured towards and found himself inside a restaurant just past Times Square --surrounded by 150 Marines. New York City Marines gathered for the first All-Hands Call Tuesday night at Hurley's Restaurant in Manhattan. Unlike Joyce, every other person at the event was an active duty, reserve, retired, or former Marine from the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey or Connecticut). The event called New York Marines together to build Espirit de Corps, introduce Marines who don't know each other, and to promote the Corps ethos, "Once a Marine, Always a Marine." "Anywhere in the world, when Marines get together it's a good time," said former Marine Sgt. G. E. W. Rupprect. This time they gathered at Hurley's, which is located at Broadway and 8th Avenue in Manhattan's Theatre District. Many New York Marines had no way of getting in touch with other Marines in the tri-state area. Hurley's provided a central location for Marines of all ages to meet each other."When you have all these Marines here, you meet people you do and don't know," said Rupprect. "But, you know at least one thing about everyone in the room because of the common background in the Corps." Meeting other Marines allowed the leathernecks to establish new personal and business contacts. "Without a doubt, this is a great networking opportunity," said former Marine Sgt. Jeffrey Castro. He said there should be more all-hands events. "You get to meet current and former Marines from every spectrum." Castro added that the variety of ages made the event more interesting. "For Marines starting out in the business world, it's a great way to gather knowledge from the older Marines," said the 31-year-old New Jersey native. "But, whether you're in the beginning or the pinnacle of your career, there's one common bond...starting out in the Marine Corps." The Marines ended the evening with The Marine's Hymn. More than a hundred Marines of all ages stood at the position of attention and sang the song so many Marines had sung before them. For many of them it was an emotional moment. "This is going to sound corny, but I would go home and tell my friends the coolest part of the night was being able to sing the Marine Corps Hymn," said Castro. He's been out of the Corps for three years, but he said it "still gives me chills."As for Joyce, he had not expected to see any Marines during his vacation in the Big Apple. But he was glad he did."They just sort of took me in," 24-year-old Joyce said inside Hurley's. "I guess that's just the Marine thing to do."
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