USMC Ball season is here: The more you know

USMC Ball Season is here and that said, we are under one month away from the 244th Birthday of the most elite fighting force in all of the lands, the United States Marine Corps. Within this piece are some tips, suggestions and last minute “the more you know, the better you,” are pointers.

The U.S. Marine Corps Birthday celebrates the history, memory of those who served before and rekindles the bond that unites all generations of Marines. It is a celebration of the profound respect for the Marine Corps traditions and reverence of the heritage that distinguishes the Corps of Marines.- Military Benefits

Each year, generally in October, the “Ermahgerd, I need a dress” crunch-time fest begins. As a proud and seasoned Marine wife, I totally get it. It’s only the biggest night of celebration of the entire year in our marine family lifestyle, right? It’s like prom to the infinite capacity of all adulting powers. Seriously, it’s not prom but it is a hardcore adult celebration.

Well, here’s a few things that I have learned and seen not go well over the years and a few duty stations. As well as there are a few things that I honestly don’t understand after all this time, why anyone cares or complains yet there have been a few moments that have made my head spin.

Let’s get down to it:

Alcohol- Drink responsibly. 

No spouse, nor any marine should show up to the ball  severely intoxicated and you should also refrain from leaving that way. Get dressed at the hotel nearby and decide to have a cocktail or two before heading over? Totally fine, if you are walking over, otherwise call Uber, Lyft or phone a sober buddy. If you are attempting to leave a venue to travel home, don’t forget to use your “Arrive Alive Card,” they’re there for a reason. I wouldn’t recommend it driving for obvious reasons of the law. I say this because in Greenville for example, there’s a hotel attached to the convention center and you can walk over. I always recommend staying as close to the venue as possible to be able to walk safely to and from if you plan to take this route of cocktails before cocktail hour. I understand this because let’s be super honest here, it is more fiscally responsible (cheaper) to consume responsibly the adult beverages of your choice at your hotel room than to purchase by the drink from the bar at the ball.

Another point to make here is, don’t blow your whole paycheck on the ball and spouses that includes you. Don’t overspend trying to impress other marines, spouses/girlfriends or superiors. The ball is one night and you will have to eat next week, put in gas, and if you have kids- their field trip, lunch money is still due, daycare fees and that grocery bill won’t pay itself. Don’t dig a financial hole right before the holiday’s to celebrate the biggest USMC holiday of them all. Be responsible financially and consumption of alcohol wise. I’ve witnessed younger marines show up pretty intoxicated, as well as spouses and completely wasted by the end of the ceremony because the quick and heavy consumption caught up to them. Your command will not be pleased and if you are one who is already on thin ice, this definitely is the time to be on your best representation of the corps.

Does the dress matter?

Oh you can bet your first born and a vital organ it does! Please, for the love of God, 7lb-4oz-21in long baby Jesus, and the peace of Buddha please do dress according to your spouses uniform requirements in any military function. Don’t show up to the birthday ball in arm with your marine in dress blues and you are in a club dress fit for a rump shaking contest, a sundress fit for a pig pickin’ and a pie baking contest, don’t wear your Sunday’s best- I know it’s modest and you only had the whole year to find a dress suitable for the one night a year your husband’s career of service is celebrated on earth and in heaven. (Sigh in sarcasm) Seriously, go get a floor length formal dress, it is the standard to accompany the dress blues uniform. It can be bridesmaid style, something inexpensive from Ross or TJMaxx, honestly, they have some really great finds and won’t rob the bank. Focus more on accessories to enhance a simple solid dress if you feel it isn’t “formal” enough. Male guest standard is to wear a suit and tie or a tuxedo.

Stella McCartney Sweetheart Neckline Gown
Stella McCartney Sweetheart Neckline Gown

Example of a simple and acceptable dress with nicely placed accessories is shown, a similar dress can be purchased on Amazon for an affordable price with two-day shipping for Prime members. Can’t afford a new dress, ask around to see if anyone has one you can borrow or rent from them and please do the right thing and return the dress in the condition you received it. You can also add a simple belt  with rhinestones or a satin band to a plain dress like this and make it appeal more to your taste.

Can I wear a formal that has patterns/print on it?

Well sure you can, but the question is to gauge off of is how would you feel if your photo in it ended up circulating the internet for weeks after the ball and years to come as to what not to wear? Does it compliment your marines dress blues? Seriously, the great photos don’t go viral, only the bad ones in a drama-filled society. Honestly, I’ve seen chevron satin and sequined, floor length gowns. I wore a Jovani zebra print gown one year myself but my husband approved and actually selected the dress. I would advise against some extreme prints and especially text printed. I know how much many of us Americans absolutely adore and love our 45th President Donald J. Trump but please don’t wear exhibit A to the lower left for example. Believe me, people will talk to you, maybe even take some instagood “usies” for Instagram and all the perks but you will be talked about, likely not in a positive way.

The 59th GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals
Photo Credit-GettyImages

What would be in line of the standard with print in mind? 

I know, kind of hard coming from the woman who just admitted to wearing zebra print to a birthday ball? Well it shouldn’t be. I will share that photo in this piece before it’s over.

Here’s an example of a gorgeous, A-line, print that accents the dress blues and wait for it, $99.00 on PromGirl.com

print 1
PromGirl.com $99.00

Now, I know, I know, we don’t all have the body type for that dress and it might not be available in your size. But the point is, we have placed so much stigma on the ball dress, whose wife did what, what marine made a pass at who and who got in trouble, I believe many have forgotten what it is about to begin with. This is a celebration of the establishment of the USMC in 1775, it is an honor, it is respect, a time of reflection on those who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, a time of building unity and comradery. These are not only sought amongst marines themselves, but in our community in general over the last 244-years of service amongst the most admired and revered branch in the world, the US Marine Corps. Lest we forget, it is a privilege to be a part of these events as well as this lifestyle, though we may not always realize it.

Amazon has this pretty floral print as well with great reviews, always read reviews.

Mean Girls aka Stepford Wives, this part is for you.

Instead of standing around with your noses turned up in the, “investment dress” you wear every 3rd year or the one you ordered from Rent the Runway to look snazzy for more money than you could have just bought a dress at a consignment shop that has also already been worn while you judge “Jr. Spouses” for showing a little leg or an exposed collarbone. Don’t get me wrong, absolutely nothing wrong with Rent the Runway, it’s the attitude described that is an issue. Someone call the paddy wagon if one of these uptight, self-righteous, scrutinizing Spanx lines showing or gawking in questioning is that a roll or is she pregnant, miserable trolls gone wild if they see a tattoo exposed women start with you. (Hope you got a chuckle, seriously, it isn’t this bad- it’s honestly a dying breed.) Moving on here, everyone has a different personality, everyone has their own style of fashion and it’s okay to show that through what you wear to the birthday ball. You do not have to be forced into a dress that is equivalent to someone’s mother-of-the-bride-dress. You can be sexy, feel confident and look respectful. Now grant it, no we don’t want any of your body parts escaping or anatomy questioned as it creeps out. Honestly, the bend test usually solves everything. If you can bend over and your entire bosom is visible, plops right out, that dress is probably not a wise selection. In short, if you bend over and your breasts or dairy air come out, stay home if you cannot find another dress. There’s no other way to put that nicely because mini-dresses are not birthday ball acceptable. Use common sense.

Tattoos/scars

You don’t need to cover your tattoos, it’s a part of you now. However, if it is something offensive that would go against USMC standards of conduct, I would suggest covering it. Of course if you would just like to, there’s a waterproof concealer on Amazon (Prime) for $24.99 that is great for covering scars and tattoos. As far as scars go, I believe they are proof something attacked and didn’t win so I wear my few scars proudly. If it is something that would make you more confident by covering, go for it. This event is about feeling your best and being your best.

Ceremony

The ceremony is the most important part of the ball, it is an intimate ceremony (I don’t mean time to make out with your marine) and unless you cannot stand at all, you stand for any portion instructed to stand, sit when told to be seated and remain quiet. This is not the time for laughing with your sister wife (spouse friend), fix each others dress straps or to fix each others hair. Wait until the ceremony is over and then go to the restroom. This usually lasts around an hour, the cake is cut, the reading of Gen. John A. Lejeune’s birthday message, speeches and the current Commandant’s birthday message over a large screen. You should be seated prior to the start of the ceremony, silence your phone, refrain from texting and please don’t scroll social media during the ceremony. Photography is permitted at some events but please check to make sure it is acceptable at your event this year. Just because it was okay last year, doesn’t mean it is this year. Then there’s dinner served, most times your marine picks your meals in advance, so you already know what you are having and is usually a three-course meal. Following dinner, the dancefloor is opened to get down. Once everyone has had their fill in uniform and fancy dresses, it’s time to change clothes and find a nearby establishment for the after-party if you wish or head home.

Be yourself.

You don’t have to fake it to make it at the ball. There are spouses/significant others just like you there and there will be those who are polar opposite and that is okay. Remember when your spouse introduces you to people to say, good evening sir/ma’am as a reflection of respect to command.  If the zebra print or floral print dress is you, go for it. Just remember, you are always a reflection of your marine and if he/she is happy with your dress, you should be too. Shoes wise, if you can wear high heels, wear them, if you cannot, don’t. Wear nice, clean dress shoes that will complement your attire, stiletto’s are not required. When we look good, we feel good and so do our marines. Want to find the best dress for your body type? I got ‘cha covered.

wedding_dress_to_suit_body_shape_oomphelicious-wordpress-com
Photo Credit: Oomphelicious WordPress

Hair/Makeup. 

No need in spending hundreds of dollars on hair coloring, styling, clip-in or bonded extensions if it is not something you already do or have planned to do. Most spouses like their hair and make-up to look nice but trust me, you can do it yourself with a good YouTube tutorial if you aren’t very skilled or call up your friend who is and go for it. Not confident in your YouTube University skill set? No worries. An alternative to salon costs is Miller-Motte College’s Cosmetology Clinic, you can get a full head of highlights for $35 if you want color, acrylic nails for $20 and brow tinting for $5. There are several options for makeup around town if you just want to go that route. (Several MUA’s  recommended on Camp Lejeune Spouses FB group.)

Hair don’t’s

Steer from dying your hair hot pink before the ball to stand out or jumping into a rainbow mohawk for the cause. Colored hair can be done tastefully and I personally am a big fan but save it for after the ball if it is something like this mohawk below. I think you can catch my drift here.

rainbow mohawk
Photo Credit: Ebay

Bring on the beautiful plums, shades of reds, auburns, bold blondes, colored highlights to accent tastefully to your liking. Most of all ladies and gentlemen, remember, “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” -Coco Chanel. Even with all of these “standards,” you can still be yourself.

As long as you feel confident, your husband approves and he gives you that eye in the dress– you know the hanky-panky eye, wear the dress and be one of the many reasons he is proud on this joyous occasion. In case no one has told you yet, “If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.” – Marines Hymn. That verse alone is reason to be your best self.

For more information, I suggest taking on one of the L.I.N.K.S classes that can help better understand the standards and how to navigate through this lifestyle more easily visit MCCS New River LINKS.

Oh, and about that Jovani Zebra Print dress, check it out below. JOVANI I gave the dress away 3-years-ago. Speaking of which, I have a number of gowns to get rid of ranging size 6-14 and if interested in seeing them, send an email or comment on one of the social media posts, they’ll be free, paying it forward so please do the same.

 

 

Editor’s Note: My marine is approaching 20-years of active duty service and this is our last birthday celebration with him in active service. It is a bittersweet time in our lives, the USMC has taught us both as well as our children so much through travels, learning resiliency through deployments, and being open to building in communities we wouldn’t be in long enough to unpack all the boxes. We have made friends who are around the globe and we have memories to last infinite lifetimes. I pray that the stigma and negative attitudes amongst spouses continues to cease and the future communities here and abroad learn to embrace each other just as we are. We are all uniquely, individually made just as God intended us to be. Trust me, if your marine (God-forbid) is called off to serve in war suddenly, you won’t care what the next spouse has on as those buses pull away and your children are screaming in tears for daddy, while you wipe your own tears or hold them back. In those moments, you will only care about who can help you maintain life, you will unite and you will understand what this community truly is about. So I hope in some way, this opinion piece helps you in some way, if nothing but a laugh or two. I am a former MCBH LINKS Mentor, FRA and MOPS teacher. I am thankful for those “Seasoned Spouses” who embraced me on our first round at Camp Lejeune and changed my prior perspective on military wives. Heather, Danielle 1 & 2 (D1 & D2), and Paula, you were inspiration for me to be the spouse I have matured into and the spouse I am today though now I have retired early as a FRA but volunteering nonetheless in the community. Hea, thanks for being there since the day we met and never being “that officers wife”, you were always approachable, accessible and a darn good hurricane shelter even after 10-years. Blessed to have you as a friend forever. Lady Phantoms what was that? My tribe, the women that completed my soul in this journey. From First Friday’s to garages after (love you April), to being lost on hikes in the native lands of Oahu with failing limbs to zip lining fearlessly hundreds of feet in the air, having each other’s backs on and off the field. We were a life team and K-Bay’s 1st sweethearts, never forget it! Ju-Not a Jew, Ash-sweets, Nelly, Jen, Hutch, DQ, Kell, Reesa, Britt, Jos’… you all know who you are, even unnamed. Here’s to 20 in 2020, it’s not the end, just a new chapter beginning. Take care of the Corps and it will take care of you.  Lastly, to my husband, thank you for inviting me on this journey of life and service .-M. Oakley, Reporter & Blogger 

If you enjoyed this, give it a like or leave a comment, don’t forget- sharing is caring.

American Legion Post damaged during Hurricane Florence to receive disaster funding

American Legion Post 64 will receive funding for damages from Hurricane Florence this week.

(POLLOCKSVILLE, NC)- The American Legion Department of North Carolina and the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (NC DMVA) issued a press release Monday afternoon informing the public that American Legion Post 64 of Pollocksville, NC will be presented with a check from the National Emergency Fund. This check is to assist in the rebuilding of the post from the damages from Hurricane Florence in Sept. 2018. The presentation will take place on Wednesday, September 25th   at 10 AM at 195 Evia Gray Lane Pollocksville, NC.

The American Legion and the NC DMVA has also partnered with Team Rubicon and Team Red, White & Blue Raleigh NC, to assist in the rebuilding of Post 64.  The estimated cost to repair the Post is approximately $80,000, however; through the participation of volunteer electricians and contractors, the project cost has been substantially reduced.

Since the early 1920’s, the American Legion has been actively involved in meeting the needs of the community and their members in the wake of disaster.  The National Emergency Fund has provided over $6,000,000 in direct financial assistance to American Legion members and Posts.

Regarding the American Legion Post 64 project, NC DMVA Secretary Larry Hall said, “We are always pleased to assist our veteran partners in any way possible and rebuilding this Post will help not only our veterans but also the entire Pollocksville community.” Commander Gray, a US Marine Veteran and Commander of American Legion Post 64, stated “American Legion Post 64 is extremely appreciative of the NC DMVA, American Legion Department of NC, Team Rubicon and Team Red, White & Blue in working tirelessly to assist in rebuilding this post and helping other displaced veterans in the Pollocksville area.

The NC DMVA began the collaboration for this American Legion project in early February 2019, in support of Governor Cooper’s efforts to support those affected by Hurricane Florence.

 

For more information about the project or the NC DMVA contact Angella Dunston at angella.dunston@milvets.nc.gov or 984-204-8336.

Juvenile arrested and charged following high speed chase in a stolen vehicle

Austin Tyndall, age 17 charged and arrested following a high speed chase in a stolen vehicle from Black Mountain, NC. Tyndall has been in and out of headlines in recent months for unauthorized use of vehicles and crossing state lines.

Sunday evening a Black Mountain man setout on a mission to find his vehicle. The Onslow Beat received a call from Charles Nicholas “Nick” Tarlton requesting urgent help sharing photos of his 2017 Honda Civic Touring and the police report information.

After searching Facebook for any clues about the juvenile who had stolen his vehicle early Sunday morning from his mountain home while he slept, Tarlton was shocked with what he found. He discovered in his search on Facebook the recent prior posts and articles in regards to recent disappearances with the 17-year-old juvenile, Austin Tyndall. Upon discovering these, it was then he reached out pleading for assistance in sharing information on his vehicle that was stolen from his Black Mountain, NC home.

Tarlton, a Professional Photographer and General Manager of a hotel who became acquainted with 17-year-old Tyndall online via a popular mobile app, “TikTok” that is designed for short-form mobile video clips with dance, singing, comedy, vlogging, food, sports, DIY, animals and everything in between.

Tarlton said that he provided help to Tyndall on several occasions when he was in New York and alleged he was stranded, hungry and needs neglected. Digital Reporter, Melissa Oakley asked Mr. Tarlton, “What made you feel so drawn to help him? Did you not see any signs of a possibly dangerous situation?” Mr. Tarlton responded, “I have helped raise teenagers with a former partner and I guess my fatherly instincts just kicked in, he reminded me of the kids I helped raise and I wanted to help.” Tarlton continued, “It’s just sad that in today’s world you want to have a good heart and help people and you can’t.”

Nick Tartlon went in depth with The Onslow Beat in showing his selfless acts of humanity towards Austin Tyndall. “I bought him food for a good week while he was in NY, I just can’t stand to see anyone going hungry, especially a kid like that.”, Tarlton said. He further explained that he offered to buy Austin a bus ticket but he didn’t have an ID to board a bus so he took vacation time, used his own money and set off to NYC to help a stranger in need get home, who he had no idea would soon make him the next victim.

Nick Tarlton said he drove to NYC to pick up Austin Tyndall and drove him back to the Beulaville, NC area by Mike’s Farm where Austin said he was, “kind of just staying between friends.”  Austin contacted Nick the following day to bring him some money, a repayment of sorts for all he had done for him while he was in NYC. Austin Tyndall came by travel in a pick up truck that he shortly after arrival to the mountain area said had mechanic issues and needed repair, which turned into a suggestion to scrap the truck. You can see in these messages that at this point Nick Tarlton became very frustrated with the idea that Austin had travelled all the way to the mountains to give him what was at that time $20 (view images) and then lead to more issues that would potentially require him to assist physically and financially. It has been further discovered that Austin Tyndall travelled to the home of Nick Tarlton in the pickup truck and it was allegedly stolen as well.  The Onslow Beat reached out to Asheville PD which is the agency in that matter and was unable to receive a response by deadline.

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Below is a screenshot from Austin Tyndall expressing gratitude over social media on Facebook for the help and generosity Nick Tarlton had shown before the very ironic event occurred. img_3829

While in today’s climate of youth being taken advantage of, human trafficking and sex trafficking, it seems to be that is nowhere near the case here. Speculations quickly rose with Nick Tarlton being a 40-year-old, gay, white male and Austin Tyndall being a 17-year-old in what appeared to be circumstances of desperation and despair. In this case, it’s merely a one in a million, a true good Samaritan.  Below you can see pieces of conversations by electronic means between Tarlton and the juvenile where food was ordered for him while in NY after the last disappearance.

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BACK STORY

On April 23, 2019, Goldsboro Police posted a missing persons report for Tyndall via Facebook. During this incident, Tyndall had taken his mother’s vehicle he was not authorized,  nor licensed to operate along with two teenage girls who were also included in the missing alerts additionally. The three juveniles were located in Iowa several days later.

May 10, 2019 Onslow County Sheriff’s Office issued a Missing Persons report for the girlfriend of Austin Tyndall, Madison Bratcher. Austin and Madison had yet again left the state in a vehicle he was unauthorized to operate. The two juveniles were located in Connecticut on May 15, 2019. From Connecticut, Austin Tyndall somehow made way to New York.

THIS WEEK

Early Monday morning at 12:43am a Craven County deputy responded to a request from the Black Mountain Police Department to locate a stolen 2017 Honda Civic Touring operated by juvenile, Austin Tyndall age 17 at an address in Newport, NC. The vehicle was located and the suspect fled in the vehicle. The chase ended in New Bern, NC in Craven County. Craven County Sheriff’s Office and the NC State Highway Patrol were able to stop the vehicle and take him into custody. Carteret County Sheriff’s office said Monday, Austin Tyndall was in custody under a $10K secured bond.” Tyndall was charged with one count of (F) fleeing to elude law enforcement and (F) larceny of a motor vehicle per the Black Mountain Police Department Monday morning with probation violations pending.

The owner of the vehicle, Nick Tarlton told Digital Reporter, Melissa Oakley after he became aware of his vehicle being gone that he realized that Austin Tyndall had used his computer when he was there. He checked the browser to see if Tyndall had failed to log out on any online accounts and if the location settings were on.

“I realized he had used my desktop, so I decided to see if he was still logged into any of his accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Google, anything to see if his location was on and I could tell the police where he was at with my car.”, Tarlton said. “Sure enough, he had not logged out of his Facebook account nor his Google account…”, he continued. “From there, I called Black Mountain [police] and told them where he was located.”, explained Tarlton.

Austin Tyndall is currently showing to have one upcoming court date per the NC Courts website. He is calendared to be in Wayne Co. (Goldsboro) on June 24, 2019 for an arrest from May 7, 2019 for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, misdemeanor probation violation, and he is currently on probation for Larceny of a Motor Vehicle in 2018 in Lenoir Co.

Nick Tarlton, the most recent victim of car theft was able to get his car back Wednesday in Morehead City, NC and head back to his mountain home with minimal damages.

Images of visible damage to the 2017 Honda Civic Touring, owned by Nick Tarlton of Black Mountain, NC. (Photo Courtesy: Nick Tarlton) 

The Onslow Beat received many tips and screenshots of messages from sources who wish to remain anonymous where Tyndall admitted to stealing the vehicle belonging to Nick Tarlton, how he did it and how fast he was driving the vehicle at high rates of speed (160KM apx 100MPH) all while bragging gleefully to friends online as he headed back to the coast of NC. Tyndall showed no remorse in the messages not shown for privacy and ethical standards (heavy language) cannot be shared publicly, referring to the stolen vehicle as his own, bragging to friends to come out and see “his” car at local businesses.

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Screenshot image of Tyndall showing image of speed to another person by digital communication in what appears to be a video chat.

In asking Nick Tarlton, “If you could say one thing or ask anything to Austin Tyndall, what would you say or ask after all of this?” “Tarlton answered, “I would ask why and how could you do this to someone who was so generous and genuinely kind to you? ”

“How are you now that this is over for the most part?” Tarlton replied, “It feels like I’m getting back to normal. My car is in the shop and getting the necessary repairs. I did have some unnerved feelings for several days…” He continued with response of how it has changed him, “In the long term, someone will come along and really need help and I’ll say no.”

The great state of N.C. tries most cases with 16-17 year-old juveniles as adults in cases as this. We can only hope for fair justice and Austin Tyndall to change his behavior and become a productive adult citizen in society.