The Marine Corps Birthday (10 NOV. 1775)

Written by Frank Guftafson on Oct 29, 2018
The Marine Corps Birthday (10 NOV. 1775)

Well it’s November again, and for Marines of all ages around the globe that could only mean one thing.  It’s time to celebrate the birth of our beloved Corps.  Happy 243rd Marines!


The United States Marine Corps is replete with pomp and circumstance and chock-full of customs and traditions.  None of them more revered than the annual celebration of its birth and the Marine Corps Birthday Ball.


I was a bit sketchy on my details and specifics, so I went to my trusty companion with all the facts… and here’s what Google said…


The birthday itself was formally recognized in 1921 at the behest of the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps General John Lejeune, who ordered November 10, 1775 to be officially recognized service-wide as the Marine Corps birthday. Read more:


I think back with fond memories of Marine Corps Balls gone by.  I remember the first time I had the honor and privilege, as a brand-new NCO, to wear Blood Stripes with my dress blues; it was at a Birthday Ball in the mid 80’s.  A few years later, with a fresh set of sergeant chevrons sewed neatly on my sleeves, I took my new girlfriend on our first date to the Ball.  We’ve been married 29 years now.


The last Ball I attended was several years ago in Minneapolis.  That was an evening, I will never forget.  It was in a brightly lit banquet room at a VFW.  There were rows and rows of “lunch-room” type tables and metal folding chairs.  Nothing fancy.  My wife and I walked in and I noticed all of these elderly gents wearing blue jackets.  There was probably a dozen of them.


As I got closer, I read the back of one of these jackets.  Wow! I was in the presents of true American Greatness.  All of these guys had served in Korea… these were the real-life Frozen Chosen.  I spent the next several hours celebrating the birth of our Corps and listening to amazing stories, as my Brothers recounted events of their glory-days.  What an honor that was.


Obviously, Marines don’t need a special occasion to gather to trade stories about the old days.  All it really takes to spark a conversation is a bumper sticker, or a ball cap with an eagle, globe and anchor on it, or a tattoo peeking out from under a sleeve.  These impromptu reunions could take place at the grocery store, in a crowded restaurant or at any street corner on the planet.  It’s a Brotherhood that cannot be ignored.


However, the Marine Corps Ball is special.  It’s a time and place where Marines of all generations can come together and fellowship as Brothers and Sisters with a common bond.  It’s a time when we remember the history of our storied past.  We set aside time to honor those from our ranks who have paid the ultimate price.  We acknowledge that we will one day see them again, guarding the gates of heaven.


Marines speak a common language, we have a connection at the soul level and a love and respect for one another that transcends any petty differences that play themselves out on Facebook every day.  None of that matters… we are all Marines, we are family, and that’s what really counts.


So… Happy Birthday Devil Dogs and here’s to many more.


Semper Fi,

Frank Gustafson