By Deborah A. Culp
There are still a few people that don’t know that the Marines were born on November 10, 1775. Each year, the USMC Military Birthday Celebration Ball’s take place all across the United States and beyond. Often you’ll hear someone say” oh, I saw the ball or I went to the Ball last weekend, etc. But unless they know that the celebration takes on an across the board (USA and abroad wide) “plural status”, the assumption is on one specific celebration.
Marine Corps League Cape Fear # 1070 Detachment: 236th US Marine Birthday Celebration (USMC Military Ball) enhanced the beautiful campus of UNCW, shortly after Thanksgiving 2011. A well orchestrated evening complete with a catered, full course meal, followed up by tasty pieces of the ceremonial birthday cake and more. It was something to see indeed! Retired and active duty Marines coupled by literal war heroes and trailblazers alike; for an evening of remembering, celebrating, making new friends and of course…” dancing!”
This was no ordinary event, it was sincerely a pleasure watching the veterans and “higher-up’s” taking a valid interest in the younger Marines. Teaching, not preaching and commending them on their success thus far in their careers in the Corps. This outreach went all the way to the top to key note speaker SgtMaj Robert Van Oostrum., Also known as Sergeant Major “Grant” Van Oostrum, this stellar warrior currently serves as the SgtMaj. Of Marines Corps Installations East. He has been a proud, well respected and revered US Marine since 1985. During his speech, Sgt.Maj. Van Oostrum spoke of the young warriors who are joining today’s USMC and how proud he is of them. He provided the audience with a captivating personal career history and mentioned his lovely wife Melissa and tow beautiful children, Caleb and CassidyDuring the ceremony a well choreographed Color Guard was performed by 4 of the best high stepping Marines that enlisted in the Corps! Based on Camp Le Jeune, the 4 Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron Marines: Corporal Shawn Hylton, Corporal Seiler Munoz, Lance Corporal Quincy Alexander and Lance Corporal Robert Cook, kept all eyes on them during said Color Guard. Heck their “Pig Picking” dances did more of the same with audience visual captivation.
The MCL Cape Fear Detachment # 1070 2011 Officers were: Commandant John gill, Senior Vice, Bill Crews, Junior Vice, Richard Munoz, Junior Past Commandant, Hank Phillips, Judge Advocate, George Casual, Adjutant, Arcelia Wicker, Paymaster, Bill Young, Sergeant At Arms, Bob Cooke and O.T. Thompson, Quartermaster, Chuck Mc Liverty and Chaplain Joe Hack. The 3 committees were: Birthday Ball, Steve Smith, the Fallen Marine, Joe Hack and the program Publicity Chair, George Casola.
The ceremony consisted of Cocktails, Dinner, the Traditional Cake Cutting, Escorts Entrance, and the Entrance of the Commandant & Guest Speaker (SgtMaj. Van Oostrum), the Posting of Colors, the National Anthem, the birthday Cake Procession and the Reading of General LeJeune’s Message. Followed up by the Reading of the Commandant’s Message, the official Cake Cutting, where the Oldest and youngest Marines are allotted the first pieces of cake. The Departure of Participants, Guest Introductions, the Guest Speaker, the Retiring of Colors, and the Marines Hymn: The Halls of Montezuma and dancing ended this year’s celebration. For more about the Marine Corps Detachment # 1070 or the MCL in general, see: www.mcleague.org