The United States Marine Corps Celebrates 248th Birthday in Sol Ballroom

Colonel Shannon Shea and Col. Marty Lenzini
(photo by Steve Weiss)

On Nov. 10, 2023, in the SaddleBrooke Ranch (SBR) Sol Ballroom, Col. (Ret.) Marty Lenzini served as Master of Ceremonies to flawlessly oversee a traditional and highly celebratory evening, commemorating the inception of the U.S. Marine Corps. The Marine Corps began when two battalions of Continental Marines were formed on Nov. 10, 1775, in Philadelphia as a service branch of infantry troops capable of fighting both at sea and onshore. The rest is history.

Marines and guests admired the University of Arizona Color Guard presentation, including their youthful vigor and poise. Club “Chaplain” Greg Byrne delivered a moving invocation. Following protocol, attendees enjoyed the reading of Lt. Gen. Lejeune Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, which summarizes the history, mission, and tradition of the Corps. This year’s letter of encouragement and pride from current Assistant Commandant Christopher J. Mahoney was accompanied by a stirring video showing current Marines operations and training. The lost comrade table commemorates fallen heroes, and during the reading of symbolism, guests here were able to privately remember and honor their own heroes.

Guest speaker Colonel Shannon Shea brought members up-to-date on all that is going on in the world, militarily. The United States will always be the beacon of freedom, democracy, strength, and hope. Colonel Shea is the Commanding Officer of the University of Arizona NROTC Unit.

Color Guard from the University of Arizona ROTC (photo by Steve Weiss)

Colonel Shannon Shea, youngest Marine present, eldest Marine John Hardy, and Board Member Tom Somenske (photo by Steve Weiss)

Kelly Cardwell and staff served excellent meals to more than 80 guests. The mostly military ambiance was warm, friendly, and extraordinarily befitting of the occasion.

The birthday cake dessert is another tradition filled with symbolism. The first piece is just tasted by the guest of honor and returned; the next piece goes to the oldest Marine present, 86-year-old John Hardy, who passes it to the youngest Marine, here a 27-year-old Captain, signifying the transfer of wisdom and experience.

Sedona Crossing, featuring vocals by SBR’s own Pam Artibey, provided rock and roll music. Dancing began after dinner; many danced the night away.

Thanks to Marty Lenzini, John Newfang, Tom Somenske, Greg Byrne, Lowell Graves, and Jim Mabbott of the Marines Club board for several hours of invigorating patriotism, commemoration, and one terrific birthday party. Hoo-Rah.

Please contact President John Newfang at [email protected] for more information and to join the SBR Marines Club.