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  • Writer's pictureDavid Stolinsky

The Marine Corps Birthday Ball - A Brief Overview

Updated: Feb 21

History Of The Marine Corps:

  • The Birthday Ball is the day we celebrate the birth of the Marine Corps, we celebrate it on November 11.

  • It is actually on the tenth but we celebrate it on the 11.

  • It began on November 10, 1921. They chose this date because, on that day in 1775, they raised two battalions of Continental Marines.

  • On July 11, 1918, they celebrated their 120th Birthday "as usual with no fuss". They continued to do it in July from 1798 to 1921.

  • At the start of the revolution they disbanded. On July 11, 1798, President John Adams recreated the Corps. On October 21, 1921, The Officer-In-Charge (Major Edwin McClellan) sent a letter to Major Commandant John A. Lejeune suggesting that the original Birthday on November 10, 1775, be declared to be celebrated throughout the corps.

  • Major McClellan further suggested that a dinner be held in Washington DC, to commemorate the event.

  • In 1923 at Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania for the Marine Corps' 148th birthday, it took form as a dance in the barracks that evening.

Before the Marines had the Birthday Ball:

  1. They celebrated by Shooting Matches.

  2. They then won a baseball game against a Cuban Team the score was 9-8.

  3. We would have boxing matches

  • There is no exact date for the first birthday ball, we believe it was held in 1925 in Philadelphia.

  • The principle event was the unveiling of a tablet on the site of Tun Tavern.

Cake Cutting:

  • It is not possible to determine the precise date of the first cake ceremony. There is a record of one being held in 1935 at Quantico, Virginia.

  • Also on record was one held at Marine Barracks, Washington DC, in 1937 where Major General Commandant Thomas Holcomb presided at an open house for Marine Corps Officers.

  • On October 28, 1952, CMC General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., directed that the celebration of the Marine Corps Birthday be formalized throughout the Corps, and provided an outline for the cake ceremony, as well as other formal observance.

  • We cut 2 pieces of cake, First piece is for the guest of honor. The second piece is for the oldest and youngest cadets.

  • We use a sword to symbolize that we are a band of warriors. The oldest cadet takes the first bite of the cake and passes it on symbolizing the passing of knowledge and wisdom.

This Year's Birthday Ball:

This year Color Guard is led by Cadet Staff Sergeant Julia Jirka, Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Leah Ritchie, Cadet Sergeant Edgar Gillam and Cadet Sergeant Cameron Pope. Then Cadet Captain Kerolous Gerges escorts the Guest of Honor. Then the cake cart is led by Cadet Gunnery Sergeant Rachel Blumhardt, Cadet PFC Ohemaa Poku, Cadet Private David Stolinsky and Cadet Private Zelainy Karnof. They will all be led by Cadet Staff Sergeant Aaron Adams. The Oldest Cadet is 1st Lieutenant James Courtney. The youngest cadet is Cadet PFC Argenis Galvan-Martinez.

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