Happy 244th Birthday to the United States Marine Corps!
On November 10th, 1775, the Second Continental Congress established the Continental Marines with a decree to raise “two battalions of Marines.” Tun Tavern, in Philadelphia is regarded as the birthplace of the Corps, as many consider it the location where the first Marines enlisted. The Continental Marines, like the Continental Navy, was disestablished following the close of the Revolutionary War in 1783, but was re-established on July 11th of 1798 by an act signed by President John Adams. Prior to 1921, it was that July 11th date that was celebrated as the Marine’s birthday, but in 1921 it was suggested that the original date of November 10th be declared a “Marine Holiday”. Commandant John Lejeune created Marine Corps order #47 which ordered, that from that time forward, November 10th would be officially celebrated as the US Marine Corps Birthday!
And how, you may ask, do I know all this? Well, I know this because Susie and I have the honor to be living on Pennlyn Place, bookended by two good friends who are Marines! Notice I said, “are Marines”, not were Marines. Even though neither of them are actively serving, the tradition is once a Marine, always a Marine! We have been fortunate to be included in the annual celebration of the Marine Corps Birthday several times, and that’s where some of this knowledge has come from.
Our immediate neighbor on our left is 98 year old Doie Barnes. In World War II, Doie was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, having told Susie that her job was to dispatch planes. She also told Susie one time when she realized that Susie had been a Registered Nurse, that she always wanted to be a nurse, but that her Father said she had to be a secretary, and so she went to Secretarial School. It was indeed a different time, which only to my mind makes Doie’s service in WWII more incredible!
On the other side of us, one house away, lives our good friends Patti and Meade Rudasill. As a student at the University of Virginia, Meade was a member of the NAVY ROTC program, and applied for and was accepted for the Marine Option. Between his Junior and Senior year of college, he went to OCS (Officer Candidate School) and also Jump School at Lakehurst Air Station. After college, he attended Basic School, where unlike every other service, every Marine Officer goes for 6 months to learn how to be a Marine. Then it was off to Engineer School, where he could apply his UVA Engineering Degree, but as he said to me, “It was Marine Corps specific and they hadn’t taught me about blowing up things at UVA.” He was on active duty from 1979 to 1984, having assignments on both the East and West Coasts, and being deployed with the Marine Detachment on the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga CV-60 to the Mediterranean. During his entire Marine carrier, he did “interesting stuff”, to quote my friend. He rose to the rank of Captain and was selected for Major in the reserves. After his service in the Marine Corps, he went on to have a successful business career, including being the CEO of QVC, and I know he would say that without a doubt, much of what he learned as a Marine Corps Officer helped him in his business life!
This years celebration for our Pennlyn Place group was held at Captain Bob’s in the far South End of Ocean City. Organized by Doie’s Son-In-Law, Doc Anderson, the group included, in addition to Susie and I, Doie and Doc, Patti and Meade, and neighbors Dale Nicholas, Barbara Kichline, and Bob Byrne. Not exactly a traditional Marine Corps Ball (there was no dancing), but we do our best to help Doie and Meade, as Marine Order #47 orders, “commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of it’s long and illustrious history.”
One part of our celebration that is in keeping with tradition, is maintaining the cake cutting ceremony, as has been contained in the Marine Drill Manual since 1956. To quote that manual, “By tradition, the first slice of cake is given to the oldest Marine present, who in turn hands it off to the youngest Marine present, symbolizing the old and experienced Marines passing their knowledge to the new generation of Marines.” Doc always procures an appropriate cake, and using Meade’s sword, Doie always makes the first cut. Then, as tradition, Doie will get the first piece of cake and pass it on to Meade, but Doie loves her sweets, so some years it’s a struggle for her to give it up, but there’s always another piece on its way!
Susie and I are proud to have these folks as friends and neighbors, and proud to be included in this annual celebration with them, and in this small way, thank them for their service! Again, Happy 244th Birthday to the United States Marine Corps, and to all who proudly have earned the name Marine, including our two favorite Marines, Doie Barnes and Meade Rudasill!
Happy Birthday Marine!! Semper Fi!