Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Brandon Drey.
U.S. Marine Corps Major Gen. Chris A. McPhillips announced Tuesday that the 248th Marine Corps Ball has been canceled by the U.S. Central Command, citing "unforeseen operational commitments."
McPhillips announced the update to the annual event, scheduled on November 16 in Tampa, Florida, for former and retired maritime land forces to get dressed to the nines and celebrate the tradition and legacy of the Marine Corps.
"Due to unforeseen operational commitments and the nature of our current mission, it is with great regret that we must cancel this year's event,"
McPhillips wrote in a letter.
The Central Command's decision to cancel the celebration resulted from the Marine Corps' "primary responsibility"
to guarantee the defense and security of the United States, McPhillips said.
"It is this commitment to duty that has necessitated the cancellation of what would undoubtedly have been an exceptional evening of camaraderie and tradition,"
he said, expressing gratitude for the "immense effort"
to those who spent the time and energy to plan the event.
"Please know that this decision was not made lightly, and the chief consideration was the need to uphold the highest standards of readiness and the completion of our operational responsibilities,"
The announcement comes amid rising tensions in the Middle East after Hamas terrorists launched a brutal war against Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people, including at least 29 U.S. citizens.
Department of Defense authorities also reported at least 27 attacks against U.S. forces have occurred in the Middle East since October 17.
U.S. officials have since deployed or are deploying approximately 900 troops to the region.
Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said on Tuesday that 300 U.S. troops would deploy to the CENTCOM area of operations to "provide capabilities in explosive ordnance disposal, communications, and other support functions for forces already in the region."
"These forces will not go to Israel,"
Ryder said. "They are intended to support regional deterrence efforts and further bolster U.S. force protection capabilities."
A spokesperson with the Marine Corps Central Command told The Daily Wire in an email that the decision to cancel the annual Birthday Ball stemmed from the "dynamic and uncertain security environment"
in the Command Team's area of responsibility, which covers 21 nations in the Middle East, Central, and South Asia, and the strategic waterways that surround them.
"Because of the uncertain situation, the MARCENT (Marine Corps service component for U.S. 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,"
the spokesperson said. "MARCENT will perform a modified celebration of the Marine Corps' birthday that honors the history and traditions of the service."
The announcement marks the third time the Marine Corps birthday celebrations have been canceled since 2020.
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger canceled the event in October 2021 for the second consecutive year in Washington, D.C., citing an "abundance of caution due to the COVID-19 pandemic,"
according to the Marine Times.