The Birthday Ball is a time honored tradition in the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Boston Consortium and ROTC units in general have the unique position of having both Navy and Marine Corps midshipmen and therefore hold the Birthday Ball between the Navy Birthday of October 13th and Marine Corps Birthday of November 10th. Birthday Ball is a way to celebrate another year of success, sacrifice, and service. It is held to think of those who are forward deployed who may not be able to join in on the festivities that year and to remember those who we’ve lost who will not participate in a Navy or Marine Corps Birthday again. Often, there is one rule for Birthday Ball: have fun—if not for yourself, then for those who can’t be there.
This year’s Ball was held on the 3rd of November at the United States Coast Guard Base Boston. Midshipmen and staff from both sides of the Charles River trickled in and joined together for cocktail hour and mingled before the ceremony, catching up with those they possibly don’t see often enough. The ceremony commenced and the traditions were rolled out in customary fashion. Senior midshipmen entered the ballroom one by one as their names and new service selections were announced. A room full of midshipmen stood at attention as the National Anthem was sung with heavier implication than usual. The cake was brought out and sliced with a sword. The youngest Navy midshipman was handed a piece of cake from the oldest Navy personnel present. The same was done with youngest Marine Corps midshipman and oldest Marine present. This is a tradition passing the knowledge, experience, and reigns of the Navy and Marine Corps from one generation to the next. A message was played from the Commandant of the Marine Corps and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. Another from the CNO and MCPON was played. Both congratulated the members in the room on another successful year, preached strength, and urged remembrance.
The guest speaker, Rear Admiral Christian Boris Becker, a commissioned NFO from Boston University and now head of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, gave the keynote address over dinner. He told midshipmen bits of wisdom, tales of experiences had and lessons learned, along with some dad jokes (which I personally really appreciated).
After finishing a well-prepared meal, midshipmen (and a few staff members) ditched their coats and hit the dance floor; the ceremony was over and it was time to celebrate. It was a time for midshipmen to relax and let their hair down (figuratively of course). Dances resembling exercises of the Navy standard warm up were performed. Midshipmen from the BU side performed a surprisingly impressive line dance. Overall, good times were had, meaningful words were given, and everyone left the ballroom with some pride in our Navy and Marine Corps and a handful of good memories. Happy birthday, Navy and Marine Corps. 243 never looked so good.
By MIDN 2/C Rodriquez