MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Since 1921, when Gen. John A. Lejeune issued Marine Corps Order No. 47 summarizing the history, mission and tradition of the Corps, Marines all over the world have celebrated the birth of the Marine Corps either on or around Nov. 10.
“Ten November represents the start of our Corps, a beginning of a belief in oneself, in each other and in a commitment to a fledgling nation that had to defeat the greatest political, economic and military power of its age to begin an experiment in government and in the fundamental rights of man,” said Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis, deputy commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force and guest speaker for one of the Marine Corps Birthday Balls.
“Our commitment to that great experiment as Marines and in the Unites States has not wavered in those 235 years,” he added.
Marine commands began celebrating the birthday in their own special ways from staged formal dances to mock battles until the Marine Corps held its first formal birthday ball in 1925.
In celebration of the 235th Marine Corps Birthday, station members here celebrated the birthday over the course of three days and three separate balls.
Service members and civilians from across the station observed the birthday in a lavishly transformed IronWorks Gym here Monday through Wednesday.
As each night began, Marines and their dates socialized and made casual conversation while finding their seats.
The lights grew dim, and video from the commandant of the Marine Corps played.
In his first birthday message since becoming the Commandant of the Marine Corps Oct. 22, Gen. James F. Amos paid tribute to the Marines of the Korean War and recognized their contributions to our enduring legacy.
Amos also focused on the recent accomplishments of today’s Marines in marking the end of combat operations in Iraq and the future accomplishments to come.
After the ceremony concluded and the colors were retired, Marines stood at attention for the playing of the Marine Hymn and Anchors Aweigh, while a large Eagle, Globe and Anchor disco ball descended from the ceiling as the cue to start the party.
A gourmet dinner was served and attendees made they’re way to the dance floor.
“It is crucial to celebrate our illustrious history and to keep our traditions alive,” said Sgt. Maj. Gonzalo A. Vasquez, guest speaker for one of the Marine Corps Birthday Balls. “I personally value the Marine Corps Birthday celebration. I see it as a time to dress up, enjoy the company of our brothers and sisters and to eat, dance and party. It is also a time to reflect on those who have gone before us and also on our personal contributions to the Corps.”
Throughout the world on Nov. 10, Marines celebrate the birth of their Corps — arguably the most loyal, most feared, most revered and most professional fighting force the world has ever known.