On 24FEB2018, over one hundred Midshipmen, Cadets, Officers, and their guests joined together in the Metcalf Hall on the Boston University campus. The BU Joint Service Military Ball is an annual event held to celebrate the United States Military, its servicemembers, and the soon-to-be commissioned officers from the Boston University ROTC programs. Other than the Pass in Review in the fall, the Military Ball is the only time annually that all ROTC branches of service come together and celebrate their love and passion for the military.
The Ball began at 1800 with a reception including drinks and light refreshments before dinner. By 1830, BU’s very own Joint Guard marched to the center of the room. A representative from each branch–Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps–stood at attention with the proper thousand-yard stare while the crowd had the opportunity to take pictures and pose with the members of the Guard.
MIDN 4/C Yaeger wrote in a message, “Having never really interacted with the other BU ROTC branches, it was nice to see everyone together.”
Guests eventually moved into the main ballroom for the official start of the ball. The room was elegantly decorated, featuring seating cards with each guests’ name and the seal for his/her respective branch of service printed on the front. In the middle of the room, a large projector screen displayed photographs of the members of all branches of service completing summer training and having fun at ROTC-related events. The main slides were senior spotlights, highlighting the accomplishments of each branch’s seniors and listing their name, major, and what they will be doing upon their commissioning in the spring. MIDN 3/C Morgan Longo said about the event, “It was cool to see what all the seniors are doing and seeing their success.”
A few words were spoken to commemorate the event before everyone stood respectfully to welcome the joint-service color guard as it presented the colors of the United States and its service branches in the front of the room. The Prisoner of War and Missing in Action ceremony followed. A small table covered with a white tablecloth sat alone in the center of the room. Cadets and Midshipmen came forward around the table, placing covers for each branch of service in their respective place. At the table, the glasses were then inverted, representing those who could not toast with their comrades that evening. A meager meal of a lemon slice and salt was present on each plate, reminding the room of the bitter fate of all POW and those MIA, and the tears of their families.
Dinner followed suit, with salad, an option of pasta or steak, and dessert. Afterwards, a Cadet and Midshipman from each branch came to the front of the room to celebrate the accomplishments of their graduating seniors, and soon to be 2nd Lieutenants and Ensigns. Members of the crowd cheered loudly, banged on tables, and clapped with much enthusiasm as Cadet and Midshipman names were proudly called aloud. MIDN 2/C Russo wrote in a message that she “really enjoyed celebrating the seniors achievements and experiencing the joint comradery.”
With the formal ceremonies of the night concluded, Cadets, Midshipmen, and their guests took to the dance floor to continue enjoying the evening. While it is true that there is much competition between every service branch, at the end of the day, they all come together as the one joint team that is the United States Military. All taking the same Oath of Office upon commissioning; regardless of branch, regardless of competition, there is a sense of camaraderie that pervades through it all. The annual BU Joint Service Military Ball captures that sense of camaraderie. MIDN 3/C Mason, a Marine-Option Midshipman, captured the importance and purpose of the event, saying, “It’s a night I won’t soon forget.”
Article by MIDN 4/C Pavon, Photographs by MIDN 3/C Mason