USS Ronald Reagan, At Sea (NNS) - The Commandant of the Marine Corps, arrived aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) to celebrate the 235th birthday of the Marine Corps with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323 along with Sailors from Commander, Carrier Strike Group Seven and Carrier Air Wing One Four, Nov 5.

This was Gen. James F. Amos', the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps, first visit to the Ronald Reagan. Amos assumed command as commandant in a ceremony last month. Amos is the first Marine aviator to become commandant. With almost 40 years of service, Amos talked about the proud history of the Marine Corps.

"When I see the young men and women in this uniform who sacrifice so much and I get asked [Are they made of the same stuff] I answer the veterans, 'We still make them precisely the same way."

Amos' visit to Ronald Reagan was the first visit from a USMC commandant, truly solidifying the Navy-Marine Corps team.

"This is a testimony of the brotherhood and the sisterhood, and the fraternal spirit between our two services," said Amos. "Together there is no more powerful a force on the face of the earth than the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps."

The celebration included a multimedia presentation on the history of the Marine Corps, focusing on several battles from the Korean War, as well as the ceremonial March of the Cake and a speech from Amos.

The ship's first Marine Corps squadron, VMFA-323 was commissioned in 1943 and is currently embarked aboard Ronald Reagan.

"This was a great first with Gen. Amos being a fellow Aviator," said Sgt. Eduardo Ayala, VMFA-323 career planner. "This is a great morale booster. To have him out here to celebrate with us is a real treat."

Ronald Reagan is currently underway for a Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX) to earn its blue water certification prior to deployment. Ronald Reagan Strike Group is comprised of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), and the ships of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, which include the guided missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Howard (DDG 83) and USS Gridley (DDG 101), and the guided missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43). Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 includes the "Black Knights" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, the "Argonauts" of VFA-147, the "Blue Diamonds" of VFA-146, the "Death Rattlers" of VMFA-323, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 139, the "Providers" of Carrier Logistics Support (VRC) 30, and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4.

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