Tun Tavern II- FBI visits Marine Barracks

14 Nov 2003 | Sgt. Stephen L. Traynham

For more than 228 years, Marines have taken time to pause and reflect upon the heralded history of the Corps during birthday celebrations worldwide.  Marines past and present take time to remember those who have gone before them recalling to mind acts of courage and kindness from the few and the proud. 

It is said "once a Marine always a Marine," and those words are true for the FBI agents taking part in the Tun Tavern II event here. The agents, all former Marines gathered at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., to celebrate the Corps' 228th Birthday.  Among those in attendance were active agents, retired agents and even a few who were still in training.

Tun Tavern II took place inside the John Philip Sousa Band Hall, with a brief intermission on the parade deck for the Drum & Bugle Corps to serenade those in attendance.  The Birthday Message and cake- cutting portion preceded with, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps General William "Spyder" Nyland who presented the cake to the oldest and youngest Marine. The oldest Marine present was Jim Smith, born December 6, 1920, and the youngest was Lance Corporal Timothy Healy Jr. born April 5, 1982.

The mingling of FBI Marines and Barracks Marines has been taking place for more than two decades.  This celebration marks the 21st year the FBI has visited the Barracks to hold their Marine Corps Birthday celebration. In 1982, Special Agent John P. Wallace decided he wanted to do something for the agents who were former Marines to celebrate the birth of the Corps.  Wallace retired from the FBI after 25 years of service, but not before serving four and a half years as a Marine air traffic control officer.

"We had noticed that we had a lot of Marines in the shop and decided we would have a party to celebrate the birthday," said Wallace. "I thought that since we were in D.C., we would try to have it at the Marine Barracks-The Oldest Post in the Corps."

Wallace spoke with the security officer at the Barracks, who made arrangements with the commanding officer of the Barracks for the FBI agents to use Center House for their event.  Throughout the years, the number of guests increased to the point that Center House could no longer harbor the affair.

"The name Tun Tavern II is what we came up with after the first birthday celebration we had at the Barracks," said Wallace.

The tradition continues.  From the original Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, to Tun Tavern II here at the Barracks, Marines from all generations have a place to celebrate the birthday of the United States Marine Corps.