NStar Articles

2 min read

USMC Birthday

Nov 7, 2019 9:00:00 AM

USMC Birthday Blog Image

“Happy Birthday, Marine!” is a refrain heard throughout the world each November. The birth of this revered fighting force is celebrated with great production, pomp, and tradition every November 10.

The birth of the United States Marine Corps occurred on November 10, 1775. On this date, by official decree, the nation’s Second Continental Congress established the Continental Marines. Led by Captain Samuel Nichols, its first recruiting headquarters was located in Philadelphia at the Tun Tavern on Water Street.

The purpose of this newly established fighting force was to provide support to naval forces during the Revolutionary War. Although they experienced great success during the war, Congress was forced to disband the Continental Marines following the end of the Revolutionary War out of fiscal responsibility to the fledgling nation.

However, it wasn’t long before the Marines were reborn. On July 11, 1798, Congress ordered the establishment of a military service to operate under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy. This service was named the United States Marine Corps.

For over one hundred years, the birth of the Marines was celebrated on the latter birthdate of July 11. However, in 1921, Major Edwin North McClellan, a Marine Corps historian, sent a memorandum to General John Lejeune, the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps. In the memo, McClellan suggested that the birthdate of the nation’s original Marine fighting force should be a Marine Corps holiday, and that date should be celebrated throughout the service to honor the efforts and accomplishments of Marines during the Revolutionary War.

Gen. Lejeune subsequently issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921. This now famous order was to be read to all Marines on November 10 of that year and every November 10 thereafter. Order No. 47’s four short paragraphs retell Marine Corps history, review its mission, and reinforce the values and traditions of what it means to be a United States Marine.

USMC Birthday Blog Image 2

The most anticipated event of the celebration is the Marine Corps Ball. The first known formal dance took place in 1923 at the barracks in Ft. Mifflin, Pennsylvania, though the first official formal birthday ball was celebrated in 1925 at the Benjamin Franklin Hotel in Philadelphia. In attendance at this Marine Corps Ball were the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Secretary of War, and a variety of other dignified officials. Kicking off the event was the unveiling of the memorial plaque at Tun Tavern, commemorating its location as the birthplace of the Marine Corps.

The ball’s popularity has grown over the decades and aspects of it have been formalized into traditions that are now observed each year. The most famous tradition is the cake cutting ceremony, outlined in 1952 by Commandant Lemuel C. Shepard. During this moving and highly symbolic ceremony, the oldest Marine in attendance is presented with the first slice of cake. This Marine then passes the slice of cake, representing the older generation’s experience and knowledge, to the youngest Marine present.

Since 1921, the Marine Corps birthday has been an event celebrated by Marines worldwide with parades, drill team performances, speeches, and always, the reading of Order 47. Wherever you find yourself this November 10, be sure to wish the Marines you know a happy birthday!

Topics: Insider

Bill the Goat
Written by Bill the Goat

Post a Comment

Recent Articles