In honor of the 238th Marine Corps’ birthday, the Marine Corps Detachment, Fort Huachuca, will hold a special birthday ball Nov. 16, 6 p.m. – midnight, at the J.W. Marriot Starr Pass Resort and Spa in Tucson.
It was Nov. 10, 1775 that the Second Continental Congress declared the official birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps. However, the first formal birthday ball was not held until 1925. Since then, the annual celebration has continued Marine-wide.
Preparation for this event began in May and has been under the direction of Gunnery Sgt. David Luna, Defense Strategic Debriefing Course, or DSDC, instructor, and Gunnery Sgt. Roger Hightower, DSDC noncommissioned officer in charge.
“Planning this event has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve learned a lot,” Luna said. “I have organized other [events] but organizing something like this, here within the Sierra Vista community, really opened my eyes to how much the community loves and appreciates the Marines.”
Luna explained that celebrating the Marine Corps’ birthday is a chance to pause and reflect on all past and present Marines and to recognize the customs and traditions of the Marine’s history.
“Every year, around the world, Marines pause on Nov. 10, whether they are in garrison or in combat,” Luna explained. “We’ve had Marine Corps birthday celebrations where we pull the pound cake out of an MRE (meals-ready-to-eat) and read Maj. Gen. Lejeune’s message.”
Here at Fort Huachuca, Marines attached to the detachment are trained on unmanned aircraft systems operations and maintenance, human intelligence and counterintelligence strategic debriefing skills.
Luna explained how this birthday ball is different from those in Fort Huachuca’s past. “Typically, the balls have been held at the TMAC (Thunder Mountain Activity Centre) but this year we are having it at the J.W. Marriott Starr Pass Resort,” said Luna. “It’s a good change of scenery. For $5 more than the price of tickets last year, we are able to hold it at a five-star resort.”
While the location is different from the past, standard traditions will remain the same. A Marine will read Maj. Gen. Lejeune’s birthday message, the commandant’s message will be on display, and the Marines will hold a cake-cutting ceremony.
By tradition, the first slice of cake is given to the oldest attending Marine present, who takes a bite and then passes the cake to the youngest Marine present. This symbolizes the experienced Marines passing their knowledge to the newest generation.
Through donations and internal fundraising, the detachment raised more than $14,000 for the event.
Ticket prices for active duty Marines and their dependants are $20 per person (E1-E3), $30 per person (E4-E5), $40 per person (E6-E9) and $50 per person (O1 and above). All other guests are $50.
“With the purchase of every ticket, guests will receive a special gift, a three course fine-dining experience, dancing, and the traditional Marine Corps Birthday Ball ceremony,” Luna said.
Certified representatives from the Fort Huachuca Child Youth and School Services, or CYSS, will provide childcare services on site for a flat rate of $12 per child. This payment is due at the time of ticket purchase. Services will be available 6 p.m. – midnight.
In order to receive childcare at Star Pass, all children must be registered with CYSS at Fort Huachuca. Parents must possess a valid Common Access Card, or CAC, or be a military dependant. Reservations must be completed by Monday. To schedule these services, call Angie Babcock, 533.0710.
Discounted rooms are available for $90 for Marine ball guests, Nov. 15 – 16. To make reservations, visit https://resweb.passkey.com/go/usmcbirthdayball.
Transportation to and from the event will be provided for active duty Marine students stationed at Fort Huachuca.
With the purchase of a ticket, attendees will receive a discounted golf package at the Star Pass Resort. Golf rates will be $75, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., and $39, 3 p.m. until dark. Those who plan to golf should call 1.520.670.0406 and identify themselves as guests of the 238th Marine Corps Birthday Ball.
RSVP and purchase tickets no later than Monday at the Marine Detachment Headquarters, Building 80405 (Willoughby Barracks) or by contacting Gunnery Sgt. David Luna, 1.520.678.7941, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more general information, logon to Facebook and search ‘Marine Det Fort Huachuca.’