MCJROTC Celebrates Marine Corps Anniversary

Josh Magpantay, Multimedia editor

Allen High School’s Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps will be holding their annual U.S. Marine Corps Birthday Ball tonight, Nov. 9, in the Performing Arts Center. The event begins at 5 p.m., and MCJROTC cadets are invited to come and bring their friends and family. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $30.

The Birthday Ball is a part of a longstanding and widespread tradition within the Marine Corps commemorating the day the Second Continental Congress resolved to raise two battalions of Continental Marines.

“It’s our 241st birthday, and we celebrate it worldwide,” Maj. Tom Connor, MCJROTC teacher, said. “Whether it’s in Afghanistan, eating a little MRE (meal ready-to-eat) cake or, you know, a full-blown ceremony, it’s celebrated.”

Even though the MCJROTC at Allen is just a high school program, they still participate in the celebration.

“We are still a Marine-sponsored MCJROTC so therefore we still have the same traditions and values as the actual Marine Corps,” senior Sgt. Maj. Chris Casenas said.

The event consists of a ceremony, dinner and dance. The ceremony involves a presentation of the colors and a symbolic cake cutting, in which the oldest and youngest cadets receive a piece of the birthday cake cut with a saber.

“[It] signifies passing down traditions generation after generation,” junior and 2nd lt. Basia Figueroa said. “We don’t just cut a cake to have a cake.”

Included in the formalities is a reading of two orders issued to the entire Marine Corps: one from the current commandant, or senior general of the Marine Corps, and one from Major General Commandant John Lejeune summarizing the history, mission and tradition of the Corps.

“We read, from 1921, General Lejeune’s message about the birthday ball because that’s when we really formalized the Birthday Ball proceedings,” Maj. Connor said.

The Corps is expecting a turnout of around 100 to 120 guests.

“It usually fills up the whole PAC only with cadets, family and friends,” Casenas said. “We could have five, we could have 500—we’d still celebrate it.”

The proceeds from the event, alongside proceeds from their awards banquet, go on to fund the Corps’ functions and competitions.

“It’s a great event, and it really continues to bond us as cadets and Marines to our history and our future,” Maj. Connor said.