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CAMP FUJI, Japan — Being away from family and friends for a year while stationed at Camp Fuji can be hard sometimes, especially when you have a birthday and no one to really celebrate with.

To let Marines and civilian employees know that they’re not being forgotten, the command at Camp Fuji holds a monthly lunch for anyone with a birthday that month.

"We don’t have our families here, so we do this as our own little family," said Col. Robert G. Golden III, commanding officer of the Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji.

Along with the obligatory birthday cake, the guests are treated to a special menu: steak and lobster.

"It’s good to sit down with everybody and eat a meal," said Lance Cpl. Marcus Findlay, who was in attendance during the December lunch. "I actually kind of forgot my birthday, and this reminded me."

The Marines also receive a present from the commander, in the form of a card they can redeem for a day off work anytime during that month.

"It’s really cool that we have something like this," Findlay said.

When asked if he had ever seen a tradition like this before, Gunnery Sgt. Antonio Cortez, Camp Fuji’s mess hall manager, said, "Nope. And I’ve been cooking for 20 years."


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