Happy 239th Birthday Marine Corps!
Happy Birthday, Marine Corps! You look great for being 239-years old! For Marines, November 10 is just as important as Christmas. When you go through the front gate of any Marine Corps base on our birthday, you will see the military police, or MPs, and gate guards wearing their snazzy dress blues. When a Marine presents their military ID to come on base, the MPs sees that they are Marines (if they are not in uniform) and scream "Ooh Rah, Marine! Happy Birthday! Semper Fi!". Of course the Marine responds back with the same enthusiasm as well, and then they basically say the same thing. It truly is motivating for a Marine.
Drinking has always been a part of Marine Corps history, really. The Marine Corps was started in a taven, Tun Taven in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first two Marines were Samuel Nicholas (the inn keeper of Tun Tavern) and Robert Mullan. One was the first commandant, and the other, the first recruiter. A commandant is kind of like our president, and this person is a General. One of our most famous commandants was General Lejeune.
Every Marine unit celebrates our birthday by throwing a large ball. If you ever pass by a bunch of Marines working a car wash, it's likely a fundraiser for them to raise enough money for a spectacular Marine ball. They really are fun. Some units make their Marines attend their ball. However, over all, Marine Corps balls are incredible. General Lejeune, back in 1921 provided us with a birthday message we read each year at our birthday ball. I will provide you his message in a picture format because if I list it below, my hub will be labeled a "duplicate".
Our birthday celebration is filled with traditions. Besides reading Lejeune's message, we have the cake cutting ceremony. We always have a huge birthday cake, and the oldest Marines cuts a piece of cake with his sword (saber) and hands it to the youngest Marine. He lets the youngest Marine eat before he does. This symbolizes the older Marine passing traditions and knowledge to the younger Marine. Higher ranks always make sure their junior Marines eat first, it's just a matter of troop welfare.
Even in boot camp, we took part in the birthday celdbration. In boot camp, the food is well, it's edible, let's just leave it as that. However, on November 10, they served steak and lobster. Unfortunately, I don't eat meat. My drill instructor noticed I just got a salad, and she said "Oh, I am so sorry, was your steak not cooked to order?! Did they not have lemon juice for your lobster? ". I laugh about it now.
I joined the Marine Corps on my 17th birthday. I was the youngest Marine for each ball till I turned 21. This was because NCO and Non-NCOs have their own balls, and I was a 19-year old Corporal, something very, very unusal. I was handed the cake by my senior Marine four times. It was a high honor, but I was always embarrassed. Balls are normally very large, with about 500 Marines and their wives.
My most favorite Marine Corps birthday wasn't what you might think. I was in Iraq, in a place nicknamed "Camp Suicide". It looked like a post-apocalypse outpost. However, in certain MREs there is a cocoa pack to make pudding. Almost every Marine knows how to make a brownie by making the pudding then placing the pouch inside the MRE heater bag. We all did this to make our own brownie. Before eating it, we all tried to recite as much as General Lejeunes message from heart. We actually did get most of it. My squad of six Marines were my brothers, they were so great. Then, the oldest Marine (who I actually out ranked), he was a 21-year old Lance Corporal, took his Kabar (a large sharp knife we are issued) and cut his tiny brownie in half and gave it to me. I ate it, then we all screamed "Ooh Rah", then drank as much Gatoraide as possible. Our ghetto brownie really was gross, but it was one of the most proudest moments of my life.
Happy Birthday, Marine Corps!