Local marines were treated like royalty this week, wolfing down cake, lobster and steak, in celebration of the fighting force’s 248th birthday.
The U.S. Marine Corps, created as the nation prepared for war with the British, turns 248 years old Friday. As usual, the week preceding the big day was celebrated with pageantry and in routine ways along with fancy food at U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in Port Royal and U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
The history of the force sometimes called the nation’s “tip of the spear” dates to Nov. 10, 1775 and action taken by the Second Continental Congress in advance of the Revolutionary War. On that date, the congress, which included delegates from the 13 colonies who were united in a quest for independence from the British, resolved to raise two battalions of Continental Marines for service as landing forces with the recently created naval fleet.
That resolution officially marked the birth date of the Marine Corps but the formal commemoration did not begin until Nov. 10, 1921, according Marine Corps University, which preserves Marine Corps history.
During the American Revolution, Marines fought on land and sea, but at the close of the war the Marine Corps and the Navy were all but disbanded. On July 11, 1798, President John Adams approved a bill that officially recreated the Corps. The original Nov. 10, 1775 date has been kept for purposes of the birthday celebration.
Each year, most commands sponsor a birthday ball of some sort, complete with a pageant and cake ceremony as prescribed in the Marine Corps Manual.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island held a Marine Corps Ball Pageant Wednesday at Peatross Parade Field, said Major Philip Kulczewski, a Marine spokesman.
At Air Station Beaufort, from 10:30 to 1:30 Thursday, Marines were treated to a “nice, fancy meal” at the mess hall, said Capt. E.C. Common, a air station spokesman.
French onion soup and shrimp cocktail were just getting the meal started. That was followed by grilled steak and lobster tail with sides of baked potato, Italian-cut green beans, corn on the cob, salad bar, fruit salad and dinner rolls. To finish it all off, marines ate cheesecake and assorted fruit pies and, of course, birthday cake.
Various commands at the air station also celebrated the birthday at venues around the area. Some personnel marked the birthday with a plain old training hike.