Dear Army: Thanks for Being Cooler than the Corps


Dear Army –

The last time I wrote I was feeling pretty bummed. I know it was scandalous to admit, but I couldn’t help but look at the Marine Corps with jealousy. It’s just that their birthday balls with the cake and the singing is so much cooler than anything we do for our birthday.

You know it’s true. And even though you didn’t write me back, I know you took my complaint to heart,  because for our birthday you whipped out that giant tank made of cupcakes. I know we’re an Army Infantry family and not Armor people, but I can appreciate a cupcake tank as much as the next girl.

So I’ll give it to you: the cupcake tank was downright rad.

But all the cupcake tanks in the world don’t outrank the good work you just did stomping the Corps in the coolness race.

Hear that? We are now cooler than the Corps.

You’re probably having a “wait, what?” moment. And I can see why you’re confused. Being cooler than the Corps is hard, what with their snappy uniforms and their giant muscles. But let me spell it out for you.

You canceled our June birthday ball. When you chose to do that to save some coin, you chose buying bullets over fun.

I gotta say … that’s hot.

The Marine Corps, on the other hand, has made no overtures about canceling their November shindigs. They even went ahead and held the Navy-Marine Corps ball just a few weeks ago.

Us? No way are we dropping cash on a party when our soldiers need equipment and our families need taking care of.

By not having a ball we’re proving that we are approximately 17 times cooler than the Corps. Instead of being silly and spending money we don’t have, we are saving our dimes for things we actually need.

I know the budget cuts aren’t our favorite thing and sequestration is downright uncool. But saving money on this one looks good on you, Army.

Stay awesome and GO ARMY.



Edit: Before our readers get upset about this post, allow me to clarify a few things. The above was meant in good fun just as the original post, which was entirely self-deprecating towards the Army, was. Interservice rivalries have been around much longer than I have.

Finally, several people have mentioned in the comments that I do not have my facts straight regarding Marine Corps ball funding. They say the balls are paid for entirely by raised money, not by federal dollars. However, according to this guidance that is not entirely true. Some appropriated funds do go towards the birthday ball.


About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • Juan

    Ms. Amy,
    The Marine Corps does not pay for our unit Birthday Ball. It is funded by the Marines themselves and through charitable donations. Marines volunteer at various public events and the entities involved sponsor us ie donate money towards our ball. We make up the rest through the purchase of tickets to the event. Regardless, Marines don’t need a ball to celebrate the birth of our Corps. We are perfectly content to celebrate with shared portion of MRE pound-cake and a libation of instant coffee. Semper Fi

    • Amy_Bushatz

      I’m referring both to the unit level AND the national level ball (the Army ball is largely a national level event although some smaller balls are held throughout the country). And the funds are not, in fact, only raised by Marines. According to this guidance some appropriated funds (tax payer dollars) ARE authorized.

      • Marine Corps S/O


        If you were sincere about your “apologies” you wouldn’t be trying to prove that you are right. Stop digging yourself into a bigger hole. There are no winners in this conversation, just know that you shouldn’t talk about something you know nothing about.

        • smapdi42

          Doesn’t the included link to actual research imply that she does know something on the topic? You should take a lesson from Amy and cheer for your service by being witty and charming rather than trying to bash her. You claim to be all about uniting the services in another post of yours, but you respond by going on the attack not just against another military spouse, but against the site that allowed her to publish an article. Now, being the one in the military and not a spouse myself, I know there’s a sub-culture here that I’m not fully read-on to; but common decency doesn’t have to be bound by affiliation.

      • DCGirl

        Authorized does not equal USED

  • sabrinacking

    While I think she is technically incorrect, my understanding also is that the Marines fundraise for their ball…I am 100% sure she was being snarky and not disrespectful to the corps. More of a fraternity poke, than disrespect. No different then all the Go Army, Beat Navy vice versa that goes on during sports season. I am pretty sure this is an Internet communication fail. We have all been there, no inflection, no body language so we are all in on what was clearly a poorly executed attempt at humor, but hey…it’s the Internet, who doesn’t screw it up now and again.

  • Kristen

    Dear Amy,

    Get your facts straight! The USMC birthday ball is funded through the hard work of the Marines themselves. We have car washes, bake sales, and the like to help reduce costs, but our tickets are paid out of our personal pay checks. We take pride in celebrating the men and women of our military who are “first to fight.” Let’s not play the “who’s better” game during a time in our country and international community where we need to stand as a whole military community. I will be sure to toast to you at this year’s birthday ball. You may be “cool” but we keep it classy and toast all the branches.

    Proud Marine Wife

    • Amy_Bushatz

      While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with interservice rivalry (and if there is, the service football teams are going to be pretty bummed), the Marine Corps birthday ball is not entirely paid with raised money, as per this guidance:

  • EHF

    Hey USMC spouse here! Don’t worry I saw some humor in this. Interservice rivalry = sibling rivalry. We DO compare the services, they aren’t the same!!! Every service has their benefits and their drawbacks.

    Yeah, I’m honored every time I get to attend the USMC birthday ball! I’m moved by the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps video and proud to watch our Marines carry out their tradition.

    Yeah, it’s cool too that the army is saving some money.

  • Dear Amy,
    I would like to provide you the following facts regarding the Navy-Marine Corps Ball. The Navy-Marine Corps Ball Committee is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization established nearly 100 years ago to raise funds for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Every year, Navy and Marine Spouses spend hundreds of volunteer hours planning a ball to celebrate the support of its contributors and to raise funds for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Proceeds from the ticket and table sales underwrite the cost of the ball and 100% of all corporate and individual donations go directly to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. The Ball raises money so we can help Sailors, Marines and their families with financial assistance for emergency aid, education, Combat Casualty Assistance Visiting Nurses and other vital assistance. By no means are we silly— we’re serious about taking care of our own.
    Suzanne Dana
    2013 Navy-Marine Corps Ball Committee

    • Beverly james

      Awesome response,Suzanne! Amazing how FACTS tend to win the argument. As far as I am concerned, the description COOL should be left for middle schoolers, certainly not our nations line of defense.

      • Amy_Bushatz

        But, again, meant as a joke the way all rivalries are, description “cool” was chosen on purpose.

    • Amy_Bushatz

      Suzanne — thanks for taking the time to read and to respond! I know volunteers spend hundreds of hours, just like volunteers spend lots of hours on the Army ball (though for far from as good a cause). I only brought up the Navy-Marine Corps Ball because the aritlce I referenced did.

  • Anne Scalise
  • Kla

    I thought this was hilarious! If we cant find a few laughs in this messy military life we are part of, what do we have left?

    Keep em coming!

  • mel

    I asked my husband about the appropriated funds and he said that no one really knows how to access those funds and so those funds aren’t used. He has planned 7 Marine Corps Balls so I trust his statements on how those balls were funded, which were through fundraising, donations, and ticket prices.

  • D.R. Cullen

    Even if the government or should I say tax payer dollars were used to fund the entire Marine Corps Ball, it is money well spent. I introduce you to the word “MORALE”. If you have nothing positive to say, say nothing at all. While sitting in front of your computer, read your words one last time and look at the reflection on the screen. Now ask yourself, “is that who I really am?”

    • BestGuest

      I don’t think my tax dollars should be spent on morale activities. Thier pay and benefits are enough…