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Friday, 25 March 2016


The United States Marine Corps was founded as the Continental Marines by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress on November 10, 1775 during the American Revolutionary War.

The Continental Congress' resolution stated that "two Battalions of Marines be raised" for service as landing forces for the recently formed Continental Navy. The resolution was drafted by future U.S. president John Adams.

Serving on land and at sea the original U.S. Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations during the Revolutionary War.

The first Marine landing on a hostile shore was Nassau in the Bahamas under Capt. Samuel Nicholas on March 3-4, 1776. Nicholas, the first commissioned officer in the Continental Marines is celebrated as the first Marine commandant.

Nassau Raid, March 1776 Oil painting on canvas by V. Zveg, 1973

The marines came ashore seizing Fort Montagu at the eastern end of the Nassau harbor on March 3, but did not advance to the town where the gunpowder was stored. The following day the Continental Marines advanced and took control of the poorly defended town.

The first US Marines wore high leather collars to protect their necks from sabres, hence the name "leathernecks."

After American independence was achieved the Continental Navy was demobilized and its Marines disbanded in 1783.

In 1798 the U.S. Marine Corps was formally re-established by a congressional act that also created the U.S. Marine Band.

In the next decade increasing conflict at sea with France led Congress to formally establish U.S. Navy in May 1798 and two months later John Adams signed the bill establishing the U.S. Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the jurisdiction of the Department of Navy.

When the British burned the White House in 1812, they did not burn the Marine Barracks or the Commandant's House out of respect for the honorable conduct of the Marines at the Battle of Bladensburg.

The Marines fought against the Barbary pirates of North Africa during the first years of the 19th century. Since then, Marines have participated in all the wars of the United States and in most cases were the first soldiers to fight. In all, Marines have executed more than 300 landings on foreign shores.

More Marines died at World War I’s Battle of Belleau Wood than in their entire history up to that point.

During World War I, the US Secretary of the Navy decided to allow women to join the Marine Corps Reserve so that they could take over clerical duties being performed at the time by battle-ready Marines who were needed overseas.

Opha Mae Johnson, who was 18 at the time, was the first woman to enlist on August 13, 1918. Johnson's first duties were as a clerk at Marine Corps headquarters, managing the records of other female reservists who joined after she did.

This is a photo of Opha MKae Johnson shortly after enlisting.

Bea Arthur (Dorothy from The Golden Girls) was a truck-driving Marine in World War II, before finding fame as an actress and singer.

James Anderson, Jr. posthumously received on August 21, 1967 the first Medal of Honor to be awarded to an African American U.S. Marine. Anderson covered a grenade with his body to save his colleagues when mortally wounded while serving in Vietnam on February 28, 1967.

James Anderson Jr. (January 22, 1947 – February 28, 1967) 

Actor/comedian Drew Carey enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1980 and served for six years.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia was opened and dedicated by U.S. President George W. Bush on November 10, 2006.

Today, there are more than 200,000 active-duty and reserve Marines, divided into three divisions stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Camp Pendleton, California; and Okinawa, Japan.

Each division has one or more expeditionary units, ready to launch major operations anywhere in the world on two weeks' notice. Marines' expeditionary units are self-sufficient, with their own tanks, artillery, and air forces.

The motto of the service is Semper Fidelis, meaning "Always Faithful" in Latin.


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