ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia --
Although they were an ocean away from home, the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Band celebrated Independence Day among a community of fellow Americans at the International School of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 2 and 3.
The MarForPac Band was in Mongolia to continue fostering camaraderie with the Mongolian Armed Forces through a subject matter expert exchange. This was the fourth year the MarForPac Band traveled to Mongolia, highlighting the existing partnership between the two countries.
“Not only is it important that we as Americans celebrate our Independence and our democratic lifestyle, but that we share that with our Mongolian friends,” said U.S. Ambassador Jonathan S. Addleton.
During the official ceremony July 2, the Marines performed patriotic songs for U.S. Embassy employees, VIPs and their Mongolian counterparts.
Festivities continued July 3 and were open to all U.S. citizens and Mongolian friends of the U.S. Embassy. The Marines played patriotic songs and also showcased their party and show bands, a side some people were surprised to see from a Marine band.
“They were one of the highlights today,” said Leon Heisey, an American living in Mongolia.“Not only do they do the ceremonial gigs, but they can get on stage and really rock out. It’s a great reminder of home and a great addition to our Fourth of July celebration.”
It is estimated that there are more than 1,800 Americans working, living and going to school in Mongolia, according Addleton.
“Being in the Marine Corps, you get used to spending holidays away from home,” said Cpl. Joshua Armijo, a clarinetist with the band, who spent his second Fourth of July away from the U.S. “It’s great to be able to bring a piece of home to Americans here and to mingle with them. We found out about all the great things they’re doing in Mongolia.”
Addleton expressed his gratitude for the time and dedication the Marines displayed in sharing their musical talents with the people of Mongolia and the Americans who are so far from home.
“We all have such a huge appreciation for what our Marines do and we thank them for coming to Mongolia, entertaining us, and most importantly, for supporting the U.S.’s mission here,” Addleton said.