Retired Spartanburg Co. Marines celebrate 246th anniversary

Local News

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Wednesday marked 246 years that the Marine Corps has been in service.

Three firefighters at the Westview-Fairforest Fire Department served in the Marine Corps, two of them even served together. They say they have a brotherhood like no other.

“It’s kinda been a long-term, passed down tradition that we keep going every year. Even with us not being in the Marine Corps anymore, we like to keep that alive,” said Ben Diffie.

Diffie served in the Marine Corps for eight years and was deployed twice.

“I did two combat tours, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan and the rest of my time was spent at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina,” said Diffie.

He said on each anniversary, they have a birthday cake where the oldest and youngest Marine cut the first slice, a tradition all three firefighters took part in.

Firefighters Adam Vitek and Dominic Wirthlin served together.

“To not even talk to him for two years really and then one day pick right up where we left off, is awesome,” Wirthlin said. “It’s really cool to just keep the friendship and family alive.”

All three say they carry a special bond.

“It’s kind of cool to come to this brotherhood and then have somebody from your other brotherhood. Somebody that you can actually share that tradition with,” said Diffie.

Adam Vitek served for four years as an aicraft firefighter. He says with each anniversary brings honor.

“To think that the Marine Corps is still here today is just mind-blowing to think about,” said Vitek.

Dominic Wirthlin served as a firefighter in the Marines for four and a half years. He said there’s not a day that goes by that he’s not thankful for his time in service.

“I absolutely love the Marine Corps, there’s not a single thing I’d change about it. I still, to this day, wish I was still in,” said Wirthlin.

On the special day, they all got to wear Marine Corps memorabilia and fly the flag, right under the flag of the country for which they served.

“My family is super proud of what I’ve done, I’m proud of myself of what I’ve gotten to accomplish,” said Vitek.

All three continue to spend their lives doing what they love most, helping others.

They said their experience is something they’ll never forget, and they will continue to keep their Marine Corps traditions alive, together.

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