All U.S. Marines are gung-ho. But, few can match the vision and total commitment of the famous 13th Commandant, Gen. John A. Lejeune. In 1921 he issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921.
Gen. Lejeune's order summarized the history, mission, and tradition of the Corps. It further directed that the order be read to all Marines on 10 November of each year to honor the founding of the Marine Corps. Thereafter, 10 November became a unique day for U.S. Marines throughout the world.
Soon, some Marine commands began to not only honor the birthday, but celebrate it. In 1923 the Marine Barracks at Ft. Mifflin, Pennsylvania, staged a formal dance. The Marines at the Washington Navy Yard arranged a mock battle on the parade ground. At Quantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Marine baseball team played a Cuban team and won, 9 to 8.
The first "formal" Birthday Ball took place on Philadelphia in 1925. First class Marine Corps style, all the way! Guests included the Commandant, the Secretary of War (in 1925 the term "politically correct" didn't exist; it was Secretary of War, not Secretary of Defense), and a host of statesmen and elected officials. Prior to the Ball, Gen. Lejeune unveiled a memorial plaque at Tun Tavern. Then the entourage headed for the Benjamin Franklin Hotel and an evening of festivities and frolicking.
Over the years the annual Birthday Ball grew and grew, taking on a life of its own. In 1952 the Commandant, Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr., formalized the cake-cutting ceremony and other traditional observances. For example, Marine Corps policy now mandates that the first piece of cake must be presented to the oldest U.S. Marine present. The second piece goes to the youngest Marine. Among the many such mandates is a solemn reading of the Commandant's birthday message to the Corps.
Like the U.S. Marine Corps itself, the annual Birthday Ball has evolved from simple origins to the polished and professional functions of today. Nonetheless, one thing remains constant, the tenth day of November! This unique holiday for warriors is a day of camaraderie, a day to honor Corps and Country. Throughout the world on 10 November, U.S. Marines celebrate the birth of their Corps -- the most loyal, most feared, most revered, and most professional fighting force the world has ever known.
In honor of the Marine Corps celebrating it's birthday on November 10th, we thought we would take the time to have a member of our staff and a former Marine say a few words about his service. This is what he shared with us.
Ben Service Photo
"I served in the United States Marine Corps directly out of high school. I went to boot camp on September 18, 2006 and little did I know how drastically my life was about to change. The marines shaped me into a man with a level of values and discipline not matched by any other branch in the military. We learned how to be leaders, we learned what coming together for a greater purpose means and that when you have your brother right by your side, anything can be accomplished. We learned what hard work and discipline will do for a person while on this great journey called life.
Ben Pictured on Far Right
While enlisted in the marines I met many different types of people from all different walks of life. Whether it be a man from new jersey, from florida, from texas we all came together to accomplish our mission. In our experiences together serving in both iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2009 we developed such a strong relationship, a brotherhood that could never be matched by anything found in the civilian world. We laughed together, we cried together, we became a family, we have a brotherhood that could never be matched by anything found in any other branch of the military.
That is what makes the Marine Corps so special and sets it apart from any other branch in the military. Its not just the rigorous training Marines endure, or the discipline hard wired into them, its the bond that develops. I am thankful for serving with such a great group of men and am so fortunate to have developed the family i have with them."
We also stumbled upon these Marines, sporting the Harley Logo and celebrating the freedom they served to earn for all of us in the United States of America.
Hafa Adai (greetings) from Guam! These photos are of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that sits in about 30 feet of water in Apra Harbor, Guam. This bike was used during World War II. After the war ended, Seabees and Marines dumped tons of unusable vehicles and gear overboard from barges. It’s unknown whether the bike was used by the Japanese during the occupation of Guam or whether it was used by Marines during the island’s liberation. Either way, it’s a reminder of Harley-Davidson’s contribution to, and impact on, the military and U.S. history.
Pete Siguenza, Vice Director
Mariana Islands H.O.G. Chapter, Guam