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Portal:United States Marine Corps


The United States Marine Corps Portal

Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing force projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States. In the civilian leadership structure of the United States military, the Marine Corps is a component of the United States Department of the Navy, often working closely with U.S. naval forces for training, transportation, and logistic purposes; however, in the military leadership structure the Marine Corps is a separate branch.

Captain Samuel Nicholas formed two battalions of Continental Marines on 10 November 1775 in Philadelphia as naval infantry. Since then, the mission of the Marine Corps has evolved with changing military doctrine and American foreign policy. The Marine Corps has served in every American armed conflict and attained prominence in the 20th century when its theories and practices of amphibious warfare proved prescient and ultimately formed the cornerstone of the Pacific campaign of World War II. By the mid-20th century, the Marine Corps had become the dominant theorist and practitioner of amphibious warfare. Its ability to rapidly respond on short notice to expeditionary crises gives it a strong role in the implementation and execution of American foreign policy.

The United States Marine Corps includes approximately 182,000 active duty Marines (as of 2016) and 38,500 reserve Marines. It is the smallest of the United States' armed forces in the Department of Defense (the United States Coast Guard is smaller, about one-fifth the size of the Marine Corps, but is normally under the Department of Homeland Security). The Marine Corps is nonetheless larger than the armed forces of many significant military powers; for example, it is larger than the active duty Israel Defense Forces, or the entire British Army.

This month in USMC history

Did you know...?

  • ... MajGen William H. Rupertus, author of the Rifleman's Creed, was rejected from the predecessor of U.S. Coast Guard because he failed his physical exam?
  • ... before "Semper Fidelis" became the Marine Corps official motto in 1883, there were three unofficial mottos: "By Sea and by Land," "Fortitudine," and "To the shores of Tripoli."
  • ... Marines in uniform are not authorized to put their hands in their pockets.
  • ... the rank of Marine “Gunner” is the only Marine Corps rank that requires different insignia on the left and right uniform collars
  • ... even though the Corps is an amphibious force, swim qualification is one of the few annual qualifications that doesn’t count toward a Marine’s promotion to the next rank.
  • ... that the U.S. Marine Corps was formed before the U.S. declared its independence from Great Britain. On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress approved the establishment of two battalions of Marines to fight for independence.


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Selected biography

Vincent R Capodanno.jpg

Lieutenant Vincent Robert Capodanno was a Roman Catholic priest and chaplain in the United States Navy Reserve awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War. Assigned to 3rd Battalion 5th Marines, he was present at the fighting of Operation Swift on 4 September, 1967, and upon hearing that a platoon was in danger of being overrun by the enemy, he left the Company M command post. Finding wounded and dying Marines, he gave Last Rites and medical aid, despite heavy fire and his own wounds. After part of his hand was severed, he refused aid and continued to provide aid and encouragement until killed by a burst of machine gun fire. USS Capodanno (FF-1093), named for him, was the first American naval ship to receive a blessing from Pope John Paul II. Numerous other honors and memorials are named for him, such as Father Capodanno Boulevard. In 2002, Capodanno's Canonization was begun, bestowing him the title Servant of God.

Selected quote

“No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”
-- General James Mattis

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