Updated: Feb 8
The Wine Country Marines Birthday Ball is already known throughout the Marine Corps as as a destination Ball, and one of the classiest, if not the classiest in the Marine Corps. For over a decade our ball has been themed, Marines taking care of Marines as funds are generally raised at the ball, which directly support our Wounded Warriors and disadvantaged, injured and ill Veterans and their families.
Our theme of supporting our fellow Marines was particularly evident during the time-honored tradition of the oldest and youngest Marines sharing the second piece of birthday cake.
This year, the oldest Marine in attendance was Col. Loren Eldred (Ret.) and the youngest was Cpl. Jason Hallett. Hallett is a triple amputee who was severely injured in combat while serving with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, or “Darkhorse” battalion. As the decorative Tun Tavern-designed cake was wheeled out and unveiled, SgtMaj. Larry Liechty, Recruiting Station San Francisco Sergeant Major, and 1stSgt., Angelleonardo Gomez, Headquarters Company First Sergeant, 23rd Marine Regiment, assisted Hallett to his feet so he could take part in the ceremony. Eldred held the plate for Hallett as Mattis looked on.
Wine Country Marines Ball Chairman, James Brown (now President) captured the moment with his cell phone and posted to social media. Over the next 72 hours the photo was being shared across the globe by Marines in every clime and place. "This is what love looks like" Brown captioned his post.