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The Marine Corps Birthday and Birthday Ball

Click here to shop for Marine Corps Birthday items in our EGA Store, where 100% of the proceeds fund the outreach programs that support the Marines and their families.

Talk about this on Marine Family Network!

Click here to read about the 2014 Marine Corps Birthday.

The Marine Corps BirthdayThe Marine Corps' birthday is a day of pride and respect, and its celebration is one of the most revered traditions in the Corps. Each year, on November 10th, Marines around the world celebrate what they see as their "second" birthday, the day the United States Marine Corps was born.

The tradition runs deep. For years, Marines have been telling each other "Happy Birthday" on November 10th and attending Marine Corps Birthday Balls in cities across the globe. Each year, the Commandant of the Corps reads his "Birthday Message" to all Marines, and they "...reflect upon the legacy of [the] Corps and upon the awesome responsibilities lying ahead." (Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines by Marion F. Sturkey)

The History

Since the time of the Phoenicians and Greeks, roughly three millenia, fighting men on ships have served as boarding parties (in attacks on other ships) as well as infantry (while securing land bases and harbors). In 1664, the British Admiralty named its soldiers of the sea the “Regiment of Marines.”

Approximately one century later, in the developing American Colonies, a committee of the Continental Congress met at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to draft a resolution calling for two battalions of Marines able to fight for independence at sea and on shore. The resolution was approved on November 10, 1775, officially forming the Continental Marines. The resolution stated that:

...two Battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one Colonel, two Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors & Officers as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no person be appointed to office or enlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea.

The new Continental Marines set up their recruiting station in Tun Tavern. Led by their Commandant Samuel Nicholas, in March 1776 the Continental Marines conducted their first amphibious assault against the British in the Bahamas. Continental Marines fought as naval infantry and as expeditionary forces throughout the Revolutionary War.

On 11 July 1778 the new U.S. Congress passed “An Act for Establishing and Organizing a Marine Corps”:

SECTION 1: Be it enacted by the Seante of the House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, that in addition to the present military establishment, there shall be raised and organized a corps of marines, which shall consist of one major, four captains, sixteen first-lieutenants, twelve second-lieutenants, forty-eight sergeants, forty-eight corporals, thirty- two drums and fifes, and seven-hundred and twenty privates, including the marines who have been enlisted, or are authorized to be raised, for the naval armament, and the said corps may be formed into as many companies, or detachments, as the President of the United States shall direct, with a proper distribution of the commissioned and non-commissioned officers and musicians to each company or detachment.

This act formally established the U.S. Marine Corps. In the more than two centuries since, Marines have conducted hundreds of assaults on foreign shores and have been first to fight in military campaigns around the world.

Marine Corps Birthday Message

In 1921, the thirteenth Commandant of the Marine Corps, Major General John A. Lejeune, issued Marine Corps Order No. 47. This order summarized the history, mission, and traditions of the Marine Corps and was to be read to all Marine commands throughout the world each year on the 10th of November. It is now referred to as the "Marine Corps Birthday Message", and it is issued by the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Marine Corps Birthday Ball

The first Marine Corps Birthday Ball took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1925. Like the Marine Corps itself, the Birthday Ball has evolved over the years, from humble origins in Philadelphia to the polished, world-renouned entity it has become today. Each year, hundreds, if not thousands, of Marine Corps Birthday Balls take place around the world. At each ball, there is a ceremonial cutting of a birthday cake. The first piece of cake is given to the guest of honor. The second is given to the oldest Marine present, who, in turn, passes it to the youngest Marine present, symbolizing the passing of Marine Corps experience and knowledge down through the generations.

Click here to shop for Marine Corps Birthday items in our EGA Store, where 100% of the proceeds fund the outreach programs that support the Marines and their families.

Source: Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines by Marion F. Sturkey

   
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