How Marines celebrate their birthday

Marines hold a birthday ball every year around November 10th to celebrate the day they were founded in 1775.

The first ball was celebrated in 1925 and according to 1st Sgt Javier Duarte it had dance, included mock battles, musical performances, and more. "It's always done with prestige. It brought in honor, courage, and commitment to every marine" says Duarte.

In 1952 the ball adopted official standards that define the pageantry and formal protocol for the event which includes the reading of the message from the 13th Commandant General John A. LeJeune who established the ball. The event is a black tie formal affair where marines wear their highest uniform, which is the dress blues outfit. "We show class by a black tie event so we can show the world that we do mean business when it's our ball" says Duarte.

During the event a slice of birthday cake is passed from the oldest to the youngest marine present. "Birthday cake signifies the past and present, and pushing off the knowledge from the oldest to the youngest" says Duarte.

After the ceremonial portion of the evening is over, active duty marines and retirees will cut loose and dance. Duarte says regardless if a marine is stationed on an American base or fighting abroad, they'll find a way, big or small to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday.