The U.S. Marine Corps is known for its intense training, discipline, and dedication to duty, but there's one event that has been bringing Marines and their families together for a century: the Marine Corps Ball. This annual celebration is a time-honored tradition that includes ceremony, dinner, dancing, and camaraderie.
In this blog post, we will explore the history of the Marine Corps Ball, what happens during the event, and what it means for Marines and their families. What is the Marine Corps Ball?
What is the Marine Corps Ball?
The Marine Corps Ball is an annual celebration held by the U.S. Marine Corps to commemorate their founding on November 10, 1775. The Marine Corps Ball is celebrated each year on the Corps’ birthday. The first organized Marine Corps birthday ball was held in Philadelphia in 1921. It was a formal affair, featuring a three-course meal, speeches, and music. The tradition quickly spread throughout the Corps, and by the 1950s, it had become an annual event for all Marines.
Today, the Marine Corps Ball is one of the most important events on the Marine Corps calendar. The event is typically held in November or December, and it is a chance for Marines and their families to come together and celebrate the Corps' history, traditions, and values. It's also an opportunity for Marines to honor those who have served before them and to reflect on their own service. If you are a young Marine or a new Marine family member and you find yourself asking, “What is the Marine Corps Ball?” then read on.
What is the Marine Corps Ball attire?
The Marine Corps Ball is a formal event, and attendees are expected to dress accordingly. Marines wear the dress blue uniform. Women who are not Marines typically wear a long formal dress. Men who are not Marines normally wear a tuxedo or equally formal attire.
However, it is important to note that Marines around the world, even those in austere, forward deployed conditions, will often mark the Marine Corps birthday in some official manner, but sometimes those events are in the field, and therefore, Marines do not wear formal attire, but instead wear their duty uniforms.
What is the Marine Corps Ball List of Events?
The ball typically starts with a receiving line, where Marines and their guests are introduced to the commanding officer and other senior leaders. After the receiving line, there is a ceremony that includes a presentation of the colors, the Marine Corps Hymn, and a speech by a guest speaker. The dinner portion of the Marine Corps Ball is an elaborate affair, featuring multiple courses and plenty of toasts (not bread, but toasts made with glasses). It’s also a time to honor Marines who have previously served.
Notice we didn’t write “former Marines.” Marine veterans are referred to as “Marines.” Once a person earns the title of United States Marine, they are always considered and referred to as a Marine. The oldest and youngest Marines in attendance are recognized at the ball, as are Marines who have recently returned from combat. During the Global War on Terrorism, there were normally many Marines recognized during this portion of the ball.
One of the more popular events of the Marine Corps Ball is the ceremonial cake cutting. During the cake cutting the first slice of cake is traditionally given to the guest of honor, who then passes it to the oldest Marine present. This is one of the highlights of the Marine Corps Ball. The oldest and youngest Marines in attendance are usually chosen to participate in this special tradition, symbolizing the passing of knowledge and experience from one generation to the next. It’s a beautiful moment that truly captures the camaraderie and brotherhood/sisterhood of the Marine Corps.
After dinner, the dancing begins. The DJ or band typically plays a mix of music, from slow ballads to upbeat pop songs. Marines and their guests are encouraged to dance and have a good time. There may also be a photobooth or other entertainment provided.
What is the Marine Corps Ball ultimately?
The Marine Corps Ball is much more than a formal event. It's a chance for Marines and their families to come together and celebrate everything that makes the Marine Corps great. Additionally, attending the Marine Corps Ball is not just reserved for active-duty Marines and their spouses. Retired Marines, Marine Reservists, Marine veterans, and even civilians can also attend as guests of service members.
The Marine Corps Ball is a great opportunity to connect with fellow Marines and their families, as well as show support for the Marine Corps. It is important to remember that the Marine Corps Ball is considered an extraordinarily important event to the U.S. Marine Corps. While attendance is important, it is also important to consider the cost of attending the Marine Corps Ball for those who are on a budget.
While most units try to keep ticket prices reasonable, there may be additional costs associated with attending the Marine Corps Ball. Purchasing formal attire, uniform items, transportation to and from the venue, and hotel rooms are some commonly overlooked expenses and it is always a good idea to budget and plan ahead for these expenses. Saving for the Marine Corps Ball ahead of time will prevent fiscal surprises and it will enable you to focus on enjoying an evening with the Marines.
Lastly, don't forget to have fun! The Marine Corps Ball is a celebration and a chance to let loose and enjoy the company of the most feared fighting force in the world, the U.S. Marines. Make sure to take plenty of photos, dance the night away, and create unforgettable memories. It's not just about honoring traditions but also creating new ones with your Marine family.
Marine Corps Ball Quick Reference
• What is the Marine Corps Ball most common saying? Semper Fi!
• What is the Marine Corps Ball attire? Formal wear.
• What is the Marine Corps Ball? A celebration of the Marine Corps.
• What is the Marine Corps Ball location? Worldwide, wherever there are Marines.