Marine Corps Birthday Ball Etiquette

Marine Corps ball participants

Marine Corps Base Hawaii -- The Marine Corps Birthday is a tradition celebrated throughout the history of the Corps. 

Guests should look sharp and elegant, said Gunnery Sgt. Tanya Fitch, administration chief, Headquarters Battalion and a coordinator for the Headquarters Battalion birthday ball. Marines should look professional and presentable and remember that not only is the Marine representing the Marine Corps but so is their date.

Male guests are expected wear a suit and tie or a tuxedo. Female guests should make sure their dress choice is conservative and not show too much skin, long ball gowns are preferred, Fitch explained.

"The gown should be below the knee, Fitch said. "Do not wear a cocktail dress. The less skin you show the better. It’s a formal."

Female Marines can wear updos, but hair still needs to be neat and not sit past the collar according to Marine Corps regulations Fitch said. Male Marines should have a clean shave and fresh hair cut.

"We are known for our dress blues," Fitch said. "We should do everything to look our best. We should wear it with pride and look sharp."

All Marines should have their uniforms pressed.

Besides looking the part, everyone must be respectful and respectable.

"We have a beautiful ceremony," Fitch said. "It is not okay to talk, get up or hoot and holler during the ceremony. Give respect to the ceremony. Be quiet and respectful. Once the ceremony is over it’s okay to have fun."

The ball is very tradition based. The ceremony is usually an hour long and involves a cake cutting ceremony, a guest speaker, a showing of the Commandant’s birthday message and the reading of Gen. John A. Lejune’s birthday message.

"The Marine Corps Ball is a fun tradition," Fitch said. "It’s a time where you get to celebrate with your brothers and sisters. You get to celebrate 238 years of the Marine Corps. It’s fine to have fun."

The ball is important to Marines and the night is about honoring the Marine Corps and it’s accomplishments, but it also builds camaraderie among peers.

"The ball is to celebrate the Marine Corps history and traditions," Fitch said. "It shows where we started to where we are now. It gives us a look at the past, present and future."

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