Ukraine’s 503rd Marine Corps Battalion Celebrates Birthday
Ukraine's 503rd Marine Corps battalion celebrated in Mariupol
Ukraine’s 503rd Marine Corps battalion celebrated its birthday in Mariupol, at the unit’s permanent base.
For the battalion, it was live orchestra music instead of the sounds of shelling.
“We fought for every plot of this land. Sometimes, the distance between our positions and positions of militants was no further than 60 to 70 meters. In 2017, we even took part in hand-to-hand combat. Airborne reconnaissance groups were constantly working. There were artillery attacks as well. This is what the war looks like,” said the Commander of 503rd Marine Battalion, Vadym Sukharevsky.
The front line, where the Marine Corps together with other combat units, are constantly defending the borders of Ukraine was only a few kilometers away from where the battalion celebrated.
The birthday was a time for remembrance.
A monument in memory of the marines who fell in Donbas was created by blacksmiths from Zaporizhia. The ‘Order for Courage was posthumously awarded to Senior sailor Fedir Balakhchy.
“It was time to go to the front line. He volunteered and, unfortunately, was killed. He was very courageous and always fought for justice,” Vladyslav Balakhchy said of his father.
Balakhchy’s family recalled how he dreamt of getting a military beret – no easy task. To become its proud owner, he had to spare no effort to get through an obstacle course.
“He came home with scratches on his arms and legs. He said: ‘It was so hard there!’ Nevertheless, he was so happy to have passed. He was literally over the moon,” said Olena Balakhchy, the widow of killed marine.
Marine Anastasia Diachenko said that strength, reliability, and readiness to perform one’s duty are the main things for marines.
“This means to keep your Marine Corps oath of enlistment and fulfill your duties well. Not just good, but excellent. And it means to bear true allegiance to the Ukrainian people,” she said.
A birthday cake — shaped as a military beret with a bold badger on top of it — was brought to the marines from Zaporizhia.
The figure of the animal was created and put on top of the cake to honor the commander of the unit, call sign ‘Borsuk’ which, in English, means bold badger.