September 12, 2016

Event to be held aboard Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum on November 15, emceed by Comedian and Marine Rob Riggle


New York, NY (September 12, 2016) The Semper Fi Fund (SFF) is excited to participate in this year’s United States Marine Corps Birthday Gala, scheduled for Tuesday, November 15 aboard the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum. Marines Gerry Byrne and Harvey Keitel will Co-Chair the Birthday Gala, and Comedian and Marine Rob Riggle will serve as emcee. Semper Fi Fund, along with the United States Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, were selected as three of the most prominent and highly regarded foundations supporting Marine family needs, and will partner as beneficiaries for the event.

The Gala was created by Byrne and Keitel as a special Gotham sized thank you and celebration of service for all Marines and their families. Byrne was a Marine Officer in Vietnam in 1968/669 and is presently Vice Chairman of the Penske Media Corporation.  Iconic Actor and Academy Award nominated Keitel served as a Marine Corporal in Beirut and has been a long time supporter of the Corps. 2016 is the 241st birthday of the Marine Corps.

The “Marine For Life” Award was created to honor exemplary Marines who have built careers and communities that have made our nation, a nation forged on the solid foundations of ethics, integrity and personal commitment.  It is that “Marine for Life” spirit that makes a difference to the Corps and to the nation.  The recipient of the 2016 Corporal Allen J. Striffler “Marine For Life” Award is Team Rubicon’s Founder, Jake Wood. A post 9/11 Marine and a Scout Sniper in Iraq, Wood built TR as a disaster relief team to respond to the 2010 Haitian earthquake. TR has grown from 6 volunteers to a massive force of global first responders.  Corporal Striffler who the MFL Award was named for, was a decorated Iwo Jima Marine who went on to build an exemplary corporate career and life of community service.  Past recipients include FedEx’s Fred Smith, Senator Jim Webb, NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mets GM Sandy Alderson.

Gerry Byrne commented, “Harvey and I are honored to continue to chair and host this very special evening.  We are grateful that General Neller will attend as our Military Guest of Honor. And no one deserves the “Marine For Life” Award more than Jake Wood.  He’s exceptional. To have the uniquely talented fellow Marine, Rob Riggle, as our MC, is also icing on this very special Birthday celebration. Our pride as Marines and New Yorkers shines.”