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Pfc. Bronson Hicks, student, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, passes the birthday cake to Combat Center Sergeant Major, Sgt. Maj. Karl Villalino, during a demonstration birthday ball ceremony as part of the Belle of the Ball event at the Combat Center Officer’s Club, Oct. 3, 2015. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz

Belle of the Ball 2015

7 Oct 2015 | Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

The Marine Corps Birthday Ball has developed from its humble origins in to an iconic, professional occasion celebrated by Marines in all corners of the world. Just as Marines look forward to this proud tradition, so do those who dutifully serve by their side, Marine wives.















For some, the elegant displays and formal ceremonies can be an intimidating experience. To help put spouses at ease, the Military Spouse Community Leadership Association hosted Belle of the Ball, an informational walk-through of a Marine Corps Ball, at the Combat Center Officer’s Club, Oct. 3, 2015.















“The goal of the event was to give spouses as much information about the ball as possible so they understand why it happens every year,” said Angela Davis, public relations coordinator, Board of Military Spouse Community Leadership Association. “It’s more than just getting dressed up and looking pretty for a night. We want them to understand the history and tradition behind it.”















Throughout the event, spouses learned about proper ball etiquette, how to dress, and what to expect during the ceremony and celebrations.















“For spouses who have never been to a ball, we wanted to provide them a walk-through so they can be more at ease during the ball,” Davis said. “It lets them know that it isn’t just a ceremony and they will have fun as well.”















Many of the spouses at the event were preparing to attend their first ball and were unsure of what to expect.















“I was kind of nervous at first, so coming here really helped,” said Haleigh Gooding, military spouse. “So many people get to their first ball and think they are going to wing it but it is really important to be prepared. It makes you more comfortable and you can enjoy it more.”















In the past, Lifestyle Insights Networking Knowledge Skill organization put the Belle of the Ball event together. The MSCLA, a new organization on base, took over the event this year.















“This year, the MSCLA held the event with assistance from LINKS volunteers,” Davis said. “We also coordinated with Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School and Combat Logistics Battalion 7 for Marine volunteers. The Headquarters Battalion Color Guard also came out for the ceremony.”















With the Marine Corps Birthday Ball fast approaching, the Marines and their spouses look forward to celebrating another year of honor and tradition in the Marine Corps.















“We definitely want to keep this going in coming years because we think it is important to put people at ease going into their first ball,” Davis said. “Being that it is a formal military event they might be nervous and our organization feels the more information we can give to spouses the more they will be able to support their military member.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms