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2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

Cherry Point celebrates 7th annual Operation Ball Gown

By Lance Cpl. Jason Jimenez | Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point | October 5, 2015


More than 100 women tried on a rare opportunity Oct. 2 when they selected free ball gowns for upcoming Marine Corps birthday celebrations during the 7th annual Operation Ball Gown at Miller's Landing aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

Operation Ball Gown is a Marine Corps Community Services-sponsored event that pairs Marine Corps birthday ball-bound women with gently-used ball gowns that were donated to give new life to these normally expensive dresses.  The event also provides other tools that would be helpful to ball participants, especially those who are attending their first birthday ball.

The event was first come, first served. The first 30 ladies present gathered for the initial look-around for gowns and as one was complete with her selection, the next was let in.

According to Jocelyn Jakubowski, the director of Cherry Point’s Marine Corps Family Team Building, Operation Ball Gown serves a two-fold purpose.

“It is primarily to educate women on the history, customs and etiquette of the Marine Corps Birthday Ball,” said Jakubowski. “The second purpose is to provide spouses of active-duty members the opportunity to select a gown and network with the other spouses.”

Gowns were donated by fellow spouses and members of the local community. Each participant could try on gowns and walk away with one, free of charge.

Guests were given a sneak-peak into the birthday ball ceremony where they learned the ins-and-outs of the historical tradition, while waiting for their opportunity to select a gown and possibly save hundreds of dollars.

“For many women, this is their first Marine Corps Ball and it could be a little intimidating to come out to an event like this,” said Jakubowski. “For those who may be attending for the first time, they will have a better understanding of how Marines and guests should conduct themselves throughout the night.”

A large number of sponsors and vendors, from on and off base, provided participants with information and tips for hair, make-up and travel.

“Events like this greatly help out the families of Cherry Point,” said Tania Gonzalez, a spouse of an active-duty Marine. “It is my first Operation Ball Gown and I made sure to get here early to be one of the first ladies in.”

According to Gonzalez, she is excited about attending the ball this year and was surprised at the great selection of gowns.

“I highly recommend people to come to the next Operation Ball Gown,” said Gonzalez. “Cherry Point definitely takes care of its own.”

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