The United States Navy and the Marine Corps were founded on 13 October 1775, and 10 November 1775, respectively. Tradition holds that both services have a formal ball, where everyone gathers in their finest dress uniform for an enjoyable evening with their dates. The Fall Birthday Ball is held each year in November to commemorate the founding of the services. All three schools in the Piedmont Consortium - Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University - come together to celebrate their naval heritage and commitment to the naval services. The Navy and Marine Corps Birthday Ball is both a military and social gathering. Senior officers are invited from the area to join in the festivities. New acquaintances and friendships are made as well as enjoying the company of old friends. The Midshipmen participate in this type of event to learn social and military etiquette which is expected of all officers.
Midshipmen are encouraged to have a wonderful time while still maintaining professionalism, integrity and dignity. The Fall Ball begins with an invocation and the presentation of the colors. The 1/C - the seniors who are participating in their final Fall Ball with the Battalion - then process in order into the ballroom with their name, major, and service selection announced. A formal dinner is served and then a cake ceremony is held with the most senior and most junior members of the Consortium helping to cut the cake. A guest speaker, usually a Marine Corps General or Navy Admiral makes a speech about the state of the world, the state of the Navy, and how Naval ROTC is involved with both of these. After that, dancing begins and Midshipmen have the opportunity to showcase their talents on the dance floor. Fall ball is a highly enjoyable time for the entire Battalion.