CAMP VIRGINIA, Kuwait -- Service members from Marine Corps Central Command Forward, based out of Bahrain, participated in a weeklong celebration of Kuwait's 50th year of Independence and 20th year of liberation.
More than 30 Marines and sailors marched with the Marine Corps colors and drove a formation of HMMWV’s in the 50/20 parade Feb. 26 alongside 12 other countries including the French, British and Kuwait military personnel. The two-hour event was in honor of veterans from Operation Desert Storm, and recognized the long standing and successful partnership that is indicative of the friendships in the region.
"A lot of coordinating went into planning this event," said Maj. Gary D. Thompson, commander of troops for the Marine formation, MarCent Forward. "There are a lot of moving parts to this celebration, especially dealing with the complexities of different nations, but I think the event was pulled off well."
The week consisted of early mornings and long days rehearsing. However, the Marines participating said they felt the time they gave in support, was rewarded by the unique opportunity of being a part of the celebration.
"It's been an honor to be one of the few Marines to represent the Marine Corps and the United States in the 50/20 celebration," said Cpl. Jessica Bauerlien," a marcher from MarCent Forward. "It's interesting to see the different services and to interact with so many different countries. It's such a unique experience, and I'm proud to be a part of it."
With many different cultures and militaries being involved in 50/20, the Marines appreciated the amount of time and energy spent planning such an event.
Thompson said he enjoyed seeing the interaction between the junior and veteran Marines throughout the week.
"I'm proud of our Marines, and I feel the opportunity to build friendships and partnerships amongst ourselves and other countries is great," Thompson said. “Two years down the road, these countries will remember the times they had with the U.S. Marines and when it comes to coordinating bigger events they will remember the friendships created in Kuwait."
Whether marching in formation next to each other or sharing stories during their down time, the Marines said they enjoyed their experience while in Kuwait.