The USMC Birthday Cake Cutting Ceremony
committed to carrying the sword, so that our nation may live in peace. The Mameluke sword gets
its name from the cross hilt and ivory grip design, similar to swords used for centuries by Ottoman
warriors. The Marine Corps tradition of carrying this sword dates from Lieutenant Presley O’
Bannon’s assault of Derna, Tripoli, in 1805, where he is said to have won the sword of the
governor of the city.
The first piece of cake is given to the guest of honor. The second piece is given to the oldest
Upon receiving the second piece of cake, the oldest Marine will in turn pass it on to the youngest
Marine present, signifying the passing of experience and knowledge from the old to the young of
our Corps. The oldest Marine will then receive the third piece of cake further emphasizing the fact
that we care for our young Marines before we look to our own needs. And so it must be.
The above text was adapted from standard Marine
Corps birthday ball narrator scripts. After the
ceremony the cake (minus the first three pieces) is
served to all in attendance. At our Birthday Ball this
November 10th here in Baghdad, Iraq, a K-Bar Marine
Corps fighting knife was used in lieu of the Mameluke
sword. As with the sword, the K-Bar has well and
faitfully served several generations of Marines and is
still issued to this day.
It is customary at Marine Corps birthday celebrations
worldwide to cut a traditional cake in celebration of the
birth of our illustrious Corps.
The Marine Corp’s birthday cake-cutting ceremony is
important to all Marines, as it is an annual renewal of
each Marine’s commitment to the Corps and the Corps’
commitment to our nation’s quest for peace and
The birthday cake is traditionally cut with the Mameluke
sword, as a reminder that we are a band of warriors,
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