Marines Celebrate 244th Birthday

Since 1775 the United States Maines have protected this nation in the air, on land and on the sea. This year they celebrate 244 years of this proud tradition.


By Sgt. Matthew Troyer -, Public Domain,

Marine Reads Marine Corps Order number 47

November 10th is considered a major holiday in the Marine Corps.  It is the day in 1775 that the Continental Congress officially established the United States Marine Corps.

Formal celebration of the birthday of the Marine Corps began on 10 November 1921 and is now recognized as the official birthday of the Marine Corps. The Marines celebrate their birthday every year with the formal Ball along with numerous ceremonies around the world. All of these ceremonies include the cutting of a cake with a sword.  The first piece is presented to the honored guest, the second is given to oldest Marine present, and the third to the youngest Marine present, to represent the “passing of the torch” to the future of the Marines. All commemorations include the reading of Marine Corps Order No. 47, and the Commandant’s message to those assembled. They also include other things, such as sharing Marine Corps history and singing of the Marines Hymn.

Logistics specialist Lance Corporal Xavier Maldonado of the Marine Corps had much to say regarding the Marine Corps Ball. “I’ve been to 5 as of this year.  You always learn something new… its all about sharing the birthday and traditions of the Marine Corps with your fellow Marines and their families.” He went on to tell of the unique tradition of leadership in the Corps. “Leadership is the best part of the Marine Corps.  We have leaders from the low private all the way up to the Sargent Major and the officers.  Everyone is trained to be a leader and to handle any kind of situation.” He is motivated by the accomplishments of his fellow Marines and of the many heroes of the Marine Corps.  He specifically is very much inspired by Corporal Kyle Carpenter, who was Awarded the Metal Of Honor after jumping on a hand grenade causing multiple injury’s to himself but saving the lives of his Marines.  He is the youngest living recipient of this honor. Sergeant Zack Riley has attended 4 Marine Corps Balls and once again had much to say about this event. “The Marine Corps Ball is a incredible time, its one of the many things that separate us as a service.”

Newport News Recruiters at the Marine Corps ball 2019

“We come together and celebrate the Marine Corps birthday, there’s a big ceremony, then we have the pleasure to break bread amongst the ranks, get to enjoy others company and just over all celebrate each other and the Marine Corps,” Sgt. Riley said.  An event that is personally dear to his and many other marines’ hearts is the raising the flag over Mount Suribachi at the battle of Iwo Jima during WWII. “The Japanese General commanding the island said (and I’m paraphrasing) the island would never be taken captive by 400,000 men in 400,000 years. The Marines took that mountain in 4 days; that signifies the toughness and tenacity that makes Marines special… to quote Chester Nimitz, uncommon valor was a common virtue. Marines are united by that uncommon valor, its going towards the sound of chaos that not everyone possesses.”

The Marine culture is very much based on the rich history that is celebrated every November 10th. The sword that is wielded by Marine officers is the Mameluke sword, derived from First Barbary War in Libya, presented as a gesture of respect for the Marines’ actions at the Battle of Derna in 1805. The term “Leatherneck” originated from a leather stock (or collar) once worn around the neck by Marines in the early 19th century.

Poolies of RS Williamsburg celebrate the 244th Birthday of the Marines

The origins of  the Marine battle cry “Oorah” lie with recon Marines stationed in Korea in 1953, that mimicked the siren “Aarugha” sound as submarines dove under water. The term “Devil Dog” comes from the German phrase “Teufel Hunden”, this is what German stormtroopers of ww1 called marines after facing them at the Battle of Belleau Wood in 1918.

As per tridition the oldest and youngest Marines preasent share the first slice of cake.

The Marine corps Dress Blues are very similar to the uniform worn by marines during the American Civil War, from the buttons to the iconic red trim and even the color of the trousers and coat.

If you are in the Army you’re a Soldier. If you are in the Navy you’re a Sailor. If you are in the Air Force you’re an Airman.  But if you are in the Marines, you are a Marine. They are the only branch of the US military that bestows their name on their men and women, a symbol that that the name is something that is earned and that will be carried with that marine for the rest of their life. To quote Sargent Riley once more,”The Marine Corps is an organization renowned for its history and tradition, its the thing that ties all Marines together.”

For more information about the Marines Contact Sgt. Riley using the information below.