Marine Corps commemorates its 246th birthday

Local News

Thursday, November 11 is a day that we commemorate our veterans and thank them for their service to our country.

However, one particular branch of our armed services holds a celebration a day early.

The Marine Corps was founded on November 10, 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today, celebrations are happening all over the country. Like right here at the Marine House in Mandan.

A toast to our beloved Marine Corps kicks off the celebration at the Marine House, home of the Dakota Leathernecks, under the charge of their Commandant, Stephanie Belohlavek-Geiger.

She served in the Marine Corps from 1985 to 1990 and wanted to bring the birthday celebration to Mandan.

“Randy came into the office and wanted to know if there were any Jarheads in the building, and I walked out of the office, I was the only one in the office at the time. I walked in and was like ‘yeah I am’ because he wasn’t expecting anybody. I told him what I wanted to do was resurrect the Marine Corps Ball,” she said.

This was back in 2012. The ball traditions are uniform, whether the ball is here in Mandan, Quantico, Virginia, or even Okinawa, Japan.

What are some of the traditions?

Gerald Hedberg, a Marine Corps Veteran a part of the Marine Corps League in Mandan, said, “Well I kind of enjoy the cutting of the cake, I do enjoy the toast, I know that. Like all good Marines, we do enjoy spirits every once in a while.”

The cake is cut with a sword, which serves as “a reminder that we are a band of warriors, committed to carrying the sword.”

The first piece is handed to the guest of honor and then a slice is passed to the oldest Marine at the ball.

The oldest Marine then passes the cake to the youngest Marine – a symbol of passing on the Marine Corps Traditions.

Randy Lehmann, also a Marine Corps Veteran, said “we use the term ingrained traditions, we’re steeped in traditions. It’s part of who we are, who we were, where we came from.”

Semper Fi Marines! For the last 246 years of service, here’s to another 246.

Following a toast at the Marine House in Mandan tonight, the Marine Corps League will be holding their birthday ball at the Baymont Inn in Mandan Friday evening.

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