United States Marine Corps birthday ball: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2008 Birthday celebration at Camp Lejeune

The United States Marine Corps Birthday is celebrated every year on the 10th of November with a traditional ball and cake-cutting ceremony.


Historical birthday

Tun Tavern, "birth place" of the Marine Corps.

The official birthday of the United States Marine Corps, on November 10, 1775, was when the Second Continental Congress decreed:

That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one Colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates as with other battalions, that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to offices, or enlisted into said battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve for and during the present war with Great Britain and the Colonies; unless dismissed by Congress; that they be distinguished by the names of the First and Second Battalions of Marines.

Tun Tavern, in Philadelphia, is regarded as the location of the first Marines to enlist under Commandant Samuel Nicholas.[1][2] When the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, the Continental Navy was disestablished, and with it, the Continental Marines. The Corps was re-established on 11 July 1798, when the "act for establishing and organizing a Marine Corps" was signed by President John Adams.


John A. Lejeune, author of Marine Corps Order 47.

Prior to 1921, Marines celebrated the recreation of the Corps on 11 July with little pomp or pagentry.[3] On October 21, 1921, Major Edwin McClellan, in charge the Corps' only historical section, sent a memorandum to Commandant John A. Lejeune, suggesting the Marines’ original birthday of November 10 be declared a Marine Corps holiday to be celebrated throughout the Corps. Lejeune so ordered in Marine Corps Order 47:[4]

No. 47 (Series 1921)
Washington, November 1, 1921

759. The following will be read to the command on the 10th of November, 1921, and hereafter on the 10th of November of every year. Should the order not be received by the 10th of November, 1921, it will be read upon receipt.

  1. On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name "Marine". In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.
  2. The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and is the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.
  3. In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.
  4. This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.

Major General Commandant

Col Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller cuts the Marine Corps birthday cake in 1950, during a brief reprieve in battle during the Korean War.

The first formal ball was celebrated in 1925, though no records exist that indicate the proceedings of that event.[5][6] Birthday celebrations would take varied forms, most included dances, though some accounts include mock battles, musical performances, pageants, and sporting events.

The celebrations were formalized and standardized by Commandant Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. in 1952, outlining the cake cutting ceremony, which would enter the Marine Drill Manual in 1956. By tradition, the first slice of cake is given to the oldest Marine present, who in turn hands it off to the youngest Marine present, symbolizing the old and experienced Marines passing their knowledge to the new generation of Marines. The celebration also includes a reading of Marine Corps Order 47, republished every year, as well as a message from the current Commandant, and often includes a banquet and dancing if possible. In many cases, the birthday celebration will also include a pageant of current and historical Marine Corps uniforms, as a reminder of the history of the Corps.[7] Another modern tradition includes a unit run on the 10th.[8] Marines are reputed to celebrate the birthday, regardless of where they may be in the world, even in austere environments or combat.[9]

In a more somber tradition, Samuel Nicholas's grave in the Arch Street Friends Meeting graveyard in Philadelphia is marked with a wreath at dawn by a group of Marines annually on November 10th to celebrate his role in the founding of the Corps. [10]


See also


  1. ^ "Tun Tavern History". tuntavern.com. http://www.tuntavern.com/pages/history.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-14.  
  2. ^ Simmons, Edwin Howard (2003). The United States Marines: A History, 4th Edition. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-790-5.  
  3. ^ "History, Traditions behind the Marine Corps Ball". The Windsock (MCAS Cherry Point, United States Marine Corps) 66 (45): A3. November 6, 2008. http://www.cherrypoint.usmc.mil/windsockprint/2008/6Nov2008.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-08.  
  4. ^ "Marine Corps Birthday Celebration". Customs and Traditions. Reference Branch, History Division, United States Marine Corps. http://www.tecom.usmc.mil/HD/Customes_Traditions/Birthday_Celebration.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-11.  
  5. ^ "Commandant's Marine Corps Birthday Ball, 2008". http://www.usmcbirthdayball.com/site5.aspx. Retrieved 2008-11-08.  
  6. ^ Sturkey, Marion F. (2001). "Marine Corps Birthday". Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines. Heritage Press International. http://www.usmcpress.com/heritage/marine_corps_birthday.htm.  
  7. ^ LaVine, Cpl Nicole A. (5 November 2008). "Combat Center honors past warriors, battles in pageant" (in English). The Observation Post (United States Marine Corps). http://www.marines.mil/units/mciwest/29palms/Pages/CombatCenterhonorspastwarriors,battlesinpageant.aspx. Retrieved 2008-11-09.  
  8. ^ Harris, Lance Cpl. Benjamin (11/12/2009). "Marines double-time for birthday bash, celebrate 234 years". Headquarters Marine Corps. Arlington, Virginia: United States Marine Corps. http://www.marines.mil/units/hqmc/Pages/Marinesdouble-timeforbirthdaybash,celebrate234years.aspx. Retrieved 2009-11-14.  
  9. ^ Mucha, Peter (2008-11-11). "Ceremony honors Marine Corps founder". Philadelphia Inquirer. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20081111_Ceremony_honors_Marine_Corps_founder.html.  

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address