USMC Commander Cancels Annual Marine Ball – Is Something Big Underway?

Confusion, consternation and all manner of speculation are running amok this week over what the Marine Corps decided to do — or, more accurately, decided not to do. According to an ominous Tuesday report from the Marine Corps Times, the Marine Corps arm of U.S. Central Command has decided to cancel its annual birthday ball. There are two important things to keep in mind regarding this decision. First and foremost, and this can’t be understated, Marines love their celebratory balls. It’s “an evening to honor the history and legacy of the Marine Corps and the accomplishments of the Marines,” according to the Corps’ website. Anyone who has served or has relatives who’ve served, or is currently serving, can attest to this soft spot that virtually every Marine appears to have. Second, and perhaps far more disconcertingly, U.S. Central Command, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, is a unified combatant command that specifically oversees central Asia — and the Middle East. And as long as you haven’t been living under a rock in the last month or so, you are also painfully aware that things are not well in the Middle East. Israel is at war with Hamas terrorists following their bloody and barbaric invasion of the Jewish state on Oct. 7. Given that logical extension, many prognosticators took this birthday ball cancellation as a sign that something big and something bad was imminent. Not helping matters, Maj. Gen. Chris McPhillips seemingly confirmed that something was going on, even if he wouldn’t offer any more specifics when he announced this decision on Wednesday. “Regretfully and with a strong sense of duty, I write to inform you of a decision that I had to make regarding the Marine Corps 248th Ball, scheduled for 16 November 2023,” McPhillips announced Wednesday, per Military.com, in a since-scrubbed message on the X social media platform. “Due to unforeseen operation commitments and the nature of our current mission, it is with great regret that we must cancel this year’s event,” the general said. In an email to the Times on Wednesday, Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Joe Wright said, “Because of the uncertain situation, the MARCENT [Marine Corps Forces Central Command] Commander wants to avoid a last-minute cancellation that would burden Marines, families, veterans, and members of the community with trying to recoup money from ticket sales, reservations, etc.” Wright said the message was removed from X and posted to Facebook “because the audience it’s trying to reach — of current and former members of the unit, family members and the larger Tampa community — is located on Facebook.” The post on the MARCENT page on Facebook had different wording but the same message: A cursory X search of “CENTCOM Ball” yielded a number of very concerned responses to the news: As to what this could portend, this writer dares not speculate given the gravity of the situation. But it’s safe to say it could be bloody, it won’t be good, it’ll likely be very costly and it’ll probably be taking place in the Middle East — directly. As one final reiteration to drive this home: Marines love their celebratory balls. It’s a point of pride and something other branches simply don’t replicate at this scale or grandeur. Given that the only other times that these balls have been canceled were during the height of the COVID-19 hysteria, this seemingly trivial decision to cancel a celebration is anything but that. The CENTCOM Marine Corps birthday ball was slated for Nov. 16. The Marines’ actual “birthday” is Nov. 10.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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