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Happy 237th Birthday USMC


The 10th of November 2015, will be the 240th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. On the 10th of November 1775, the Second Continental Congress raised the Marine Corps to serve under the Navy for the Revolutionary War. It was at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia where the first Marines were recruited for service.

The Marine Corps Ball is a modern way to commemorate the service and history of the USMC. It usually involves a cake cutting ceremony that is outlined in the Marine Drill Manual. There is also a dance, formation run, uniform pageant, and maybe a mock battle, sporting events, and music performance on some bases. Also, every year, Order 47 is reprinted. It states:

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 in 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

What really goes on at the Marine Corps Ball? Well, I am not a Marine but have friends who are. What they tell me is this: anything can happen during the Ball. (See the $30 folding knife that will outperform $200+ knives). For example, do you have a hot First Sergeant that you’ve always been wanting to hook up with? Well, during the ball, such magic can happen ;-).

Another example is, do you have some celebrity that you have a crush on? In 2011, a few Marines were posting YouTube videos requesting that certain celebrities be their date for the Marine Corps Ball. Corporal Kelsey DeSantis requested and had Justin Timberlake as her date for the ball. Sergeant Scott Moore requested and had Mila Kunis as his date for the ball.

Justin Timberlake’s blog stated that he was moved by the event and was very proud to be invited to such a great tradition. He really appreciated the kindness and generosity that the Marines gave him as well as their defense for Freedom. Mila Kunis also enjoyed her time at the ball. She stated how she enjoyed the USMC’s rich history and traditions.

Justin Timberlake and Corporal Kelsey DeSantis standing up at the ball
JT and Corporal Kelsey DeSantis at the 2011 USMC Ball

Even if you are not on a base that has an elaborate ball, many Marines and former Marines are still celebrating the special occasion with a small cake cutting ceremony and formation runs. Here in Boulder, the local veteran’s group is having a small 2-mile formation run for any service member who would like to run. The run will also follow with a BBQ (no cake cutting ceremony though).

Formation runs are a great unit cohesion exercise

Over the years, there have been a great number of items that were developed by the Corps that has migrated into civilian life. For example, the Ka-Bar USMC knife is one of the greatest survival knives ever made. Kabar also makes great machetes.

In 2001, the Marine Corps started the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program which is a form of mixed martial arts. It involves: striking with the palm, fist, knees, and elbows; grappling; throws and takedowns; and knife fighting techniques. The MCMAP gave Marines more options to handle hostile but unarmed civilians. It also built up the esprit de corps.

The Army also celebrates their birthday on Flag Day but the occasion is not as grand as the Marine Corps. What occurs on most bases is that the cooks prepare a cake for dinner in addition to the dinner menu. The cake is decorated and an announcement is made about the history of the US Army.

How do I know this? Well, guess who was in the kitchen making the cake? Me.

(How to buy a balisong knife).



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