The United States Marine Corps was established on November 10, 1775, to augment naval forces in the Revolutionary War. The recruiting headquarters was set up by Capt. Samuel Nicholas in the Tun Tavern on Water Street in Philadelphia, which is considered to be the birthplace of the Marines.
After success in many campaigns, the Corps was abolished at the close of the Revolutionary War for reasons of economy. On July 11, 1798, Congress ordered the creation of the Corps, named it the United States Marine Corps and directed that it be available for service under the Secretary of the Navy.
The Corps celebrated its birthday, or Marine Corps Day, on July 11 from 1799 until 1921 when the date was permanently changed to November 10 to commemorate the establishment of the Corps to aid in the Revolutionary War.
The day is still observed by U. S. Marines worldwide. Special exhibits, parades, drill team performances, and speeches typically mark the occasion. The Birthday Ball, which culminates in the cutting of the birthday cake, is held that evening in Washington, D.C. It is not possible to determine precisely when the first cake ceremony was held, but the first on record took place at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., in 1937. Major General Thomas Holcomb, the Commandant, presided at an open house for Marine Corps officers, including the cutting of a huge cake in the shape of Tun Tavern.
Dave Radcliffe, CFAC, CDPE
The Radcliffe Group
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