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U.S. Marines pose for a selfie with Marine Corps veterans during the “Once a Marine, Always a Marine” formation in Times Square as a part of Fleet Week New York (FWNY) 2024, May 22, 2024. FWNY, now in its 36th year, is a time-honored celebration of the sea services that brings the citizens of New York City and the surrounding tri-state area together with Marines, Sailors, and Coast Guardsmen. Throughout the week, participants can tour ships, experience military static displays, and see drill and musical performances that showcase the expertise, excellence, and patriotism of America’s maritime services. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher

Past, Present, Future Marines Come Together to Begin Fleet Week New York 2024

24 May 2024 | Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher Headquarters Marine Corps

Among the many mottos associated with the United States Marine Corps, “Once a Marine, always a Marine” stands as a reminder of the permanent camaraderie that exists between past, present and future Marines. As New York City celebrates Fleet Week 2024, Marines, Marine Corps veterans, and future Marines participated in a tangible example of this shared and lasting commitment, standing in formation together in Times Square, May 22, 2024.

The formation celebrated the heritage and traditions passed down from Marine to Marine, allowed veterans to share their sense of pride and camaraderie with subsequent generations, and provided civilian spectators a unique perspective on the Corps and what it means to be a Marine.

“We will last and echo throughout the generations like we see with this formation; the former Marines, future Marines and current Marines, all together in celebration of who we are.” said the 20th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlos Ruiz.


Under the watchful eyes of the Father Duffy Statue in midtown Manhattan, hundreds of Marines and civilians gathered to stand side-by-side with their brothers and sisters in arms. In the square below stood two formations - one of active duty Marines, dressed sharply in their Dress Blue Delta uniforms, and a second of “poolees” who will soon report to Marine Corps Recruit Depots and begin their own journeys of earning the title of “United States Marine.”

“It is a line which every Marine knows and understands: you are never alone. We hold to the code of honor, courage, commitment, and that will change and shape your life,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony Henderson, deputy director, Joint Strategic Planning, Joint Staff.

Standing between the Corps’ present and its future, Ruiz then summoned its past, announcing to the audience that all Marines, including ones who were no longer actively serving, needed to fall into formation. One by one, men and women from the assembled crowd, representing all walks of life, came forward into the center of the square and assumed the familiar position of attention.

Ruiz explained that no matter how long it had been since those in attendance had stepped on the yellow footprints and earned the title, they will always be welcomed and recognized as United States Marines.

“Those [Marine veterans] standing in front of me are the reason why the [active duty] Marines standing behind me are where they are today,” said Ruiz. “And also the reason why the young men and women standing next to me aspire to be a part of the same organization. What an amazing opportunity for past and present Marines to come together for the American people to see.”

Marine Formation Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher
U.S. Marines with the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon perform during the “Once a Marine, Always a Marine” formation in Times Square as a part of Fleet Week New York (FWNY) 2024, May 22, 2024. FWNY, now in its 36th year, is a time-honored celebration of the sea services that brings the citizens of New York City and the surrounding tri-state area together with Marines, Sailors, and Coast Guardsmen. Throughout the week, participants can tour ships, experience military static displays, and see drill and musical performances that showcase the expertise, excellence, and patriotism of America’s maritime services. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher)


This formation was only the first Marine Corps event to take place during Fleet Week New York 2024. Many other events will take place throughout the next six days such as tours of the USS Intrepid at Pier 88, military vehicle and equipment static displays, and the USMC Silent Drill Platoon and Quantico Marine Corps Band performances that showcase the expertise, excellence, and patriotism of America’s maritime services.

Fleet Week is a long-standing tradition where Marines, Sailors, and Coast Guardsmen are given the opportunity to interact with communities and locals of major cities. This is the 36th annual celebration hosted in New York that invites the citizens of the city and the surrounding tri-state area to celebrate those who have served and engage with active service members.

Ruiz explained the importance of FWNY by saying, “We must connect the civilian population with today's Marines, Coast Guard, Navy, you name it! We must be able to have conversions with each other.”

To learn more about Fleet Week New York or find information about Fleet Week New York events, visit https://cnrma.cnic.navy.mil/Operations-and-Management/Fleet-Week-New-York/;
https://www.dvidshub.net/fwny24; or find us on social media at: Instagram: fleetweeknyc and
Facebook: Fleet Week New York, U.S. Marine Corps


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