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Belle of Ball teaches Marine Corps etiquette

4 Oct 2013 | Lance Cpl Paul S. Martinez

The Lifestyle Insight Networking Knowledge and Skills organization held a special class at the Officers’ Club Sept. 28, 2013 which brought Combat Center spouses together to help prepare them for the 238th Annual Marine Corps Birthday Ball. 
The event, named Belle of the Ball, was put together with sponsorship from Allied American University and Elite Cosmetology School for its second year of educating spouses on the customs and traditions of the Marine Corps Birthday Ball.

The inside of the Officers’ Club was completely transformed to resemble a Marine Corps Birthday Ball setting. Spouses sat together at fully decorated tables as Gina Smith, L.I.N.K.S. trainer, explained the history behind the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, including Gen. John Lejuene’s birthday message, the significant POW/MIA table and the customs associated with celebrating the Marine Corps’ birthday.
“The birthday ball helps build camaraderie and honors tradition,” said Lt. Col. Steven DeLazaro, director, Marine Corps Community Services. “We share esprit de corps not just with fellow Marines and sailors, but the families as well.”
A detail of Marines, led by 1st Lt. Adam Lawrenz, logistics officer, 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, entered the ballroom with a Marine Corps birthday cake to demonstrate the official cake-cutting ceremony.
Spouses learned the tradition of cutting the cake and giving the first slice to the guest of honor, the second to the oldest Marine present, and the third to the youngest Marine present, symbolizing the passing of knowledge and leadership.

“With this event, I learned what to expect at the ball, and how to act,” said Tammy Flores, spouse of Cpl. Noe Flores, combat engineer, 3rd CEB. “I’m excited for the ball. It will be my first time going.”            
The spouses then watched as L.I.N.K.S. held a fashion show dedicated to displaying dresses that are appropriate, and inappropriate to wear to the ball.
Dresses with a camouflage print, mid-drift waistline and even a wedding dress were highlights of what not to wear. More elegant dresses that are long in length and simple in color were strongly suggested.

“What to wear and what not to wear for spouses is huge at the ball,” said Amber Bilderain, L.I.N.K.S. trainer. “We want to teach spouses how they can be a good representative for their Marine.”

After the class, spouses were allowed to pick from a collection of donated dresses, provided by Armed Services YMCA, to find their calling of what to wear for this year’s ball.

“This is a fun event that gets spouses excited and prepared for the ball,” Bilderain said. “At the same time, they gain an appreciation for the significance of it, and understand that it is their Marine’s day.”

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