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Marines ribbon cutting marks historic day at Luke
Marine Corps Capt. Nathan Bowlin and Col. Jeff Weed, 56th Fighter Wing vice commander, cut a ribbon Sept. 12 during a ceremony for the new home of the 6th Engineer Support Battalion Bulk Fuel Company Charlie. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andre Bowser)
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Marines ribbon cutting marks historic day at Luke

Posted 9/24/2009   Updated 9/24/2009 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman
944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

9/24/2009 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- For the first time in history, a U.S. Marine Corps battalion has a home on Luke Air Force Base. 

Separating them from their new home was a thin strand of red, tape-thin material. 

That ribbon blocking the entrance to the new building was sheared Sept. 12 with a "K-bar" knife by Marine Corps Capt. Nathan Bowlin, 6th Engineer Support Battalion Bulk Fuel Company Charlie commanding officer, and Col. Jeff Weed, 56th Fighter Wing vice commander. 

The battalion's 1st Sgt. Manuel Gonzales rallied the Marines outside of the building with the sound devil dogs have become known for loudly evoking, "Hoorah! 

"This is the best Marine Corps facility I've seen in the state," Sergeant Gonzales said. 

For Marine Corps and Air Force leaders on Luke, the day represented a historic move. 

"This is significant for the fact that we are moving out of a smaller place in central Phoenix and moving into a comfortable and secure location on Luke Air Force Base," Captain Bowlin said. 

Captain Bowlin said nearly 350 Marines, including active-duty and reserve members, will call the new station home, a first in the state, to his recollection. In 2011, he said U.S. Navy members would also find a home on the installation not far from the Marine facility on the northwest section of base. 

Col. Michael Popovich, 944th Fighter Wing commander, was on hand to support and applaud the joint-force accomplishment. 

"They're part of team Luke now," he said. 

Colonel Popovich, Colonel Weed and Captain Bowlin stood before a large gathering of Marines, Airmen, family and friends, as honor guard members brought out the colors. 

Captain Bowlin and Colonel Weed cut the ceremonial ribbon with the K-bar knife, the Marine Corps primary close-in combat weapon. This was the culminating event of a four-year process. The new facility was constructed due to the vision of Marine Corps Capt. James Hedger, a vision that came to fruition in the form of a brand new facility. 

Colonel Weed welcomed the new tenants on behalf of the entire Luke family. 

"When we go to war, we don't go alone," he said, adding that while U.S. Marines and Soldiers dominate on land, Sailors control the sea and Airmen rule the sky. "We go to war as Americans; we go to war together. And together, we're a formidable force to defend our proud nation." 

As Captain Bowlin surveyed the Marines advancing on their new home, he issued a promise, "Marines, you're going to be extremely impressed." 

The throng responded, "Hoorah!" 

As Marines filed into their new facility, they were impressed by the amount of space they would have to train. Perhaps the first thing they noticed was the large globe and anchor in the center of the highly-polished gymnasium floor. 

The previous building, erected in 1942, was razed to become the home of the Marine battalion. In recent years, it had been used for medical supply storage.

9/29/2009 9:03:07 PM ET
Wow I had no idea.I really want to visit.J.L. Stelling1stSgt of Marines Retired
Jim Stelling, Peoria AZ
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