The United States Marine Corps Portal
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
- On 1 July 1920, Major General John A. Lejeune became the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps.
- On 4 July 1801, President Thomas Jefferson reviewed the Marines, led by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, LtCol William W. Burrows and the Marine Band, on the White House grounds. The smartly uniformed Marines performed drills and fired various salutes in observance of the new nation's 25th anniversary.
- On 6 July 1990, one of the oldest and most versatile attack aircraft in Marine Corps history, the A-4 Skyhawk, retired from the Corps' active aviation structure after over 30 years of service. The last two Skyhawks from MAG-32 flew their final flight from Cherry Point to NAS Patuxent River on this date.
- On 11 July 1798, President John Adams re-established the Marine Corps after the Continental Marines were disbanded in 1783.
- On 26 July 1947, the National Security Act of 1947 became effective, reaffirming the status of the Marine Corps as a separate military service within the Department of the Navy. The Act provided for Fleet Marine Forces, and confirmed the Corps' mission of seizing and defending advanced bases, as well as land operation incident to naval campaigns.
- On 28 July 1918, Brigadier General John A. Lejeune became the first Marine officer to hold an Army divisional command, when he assumed command of the 2d Division, U.S. Army in France during World War I.
See USMC History Division
Did you know...?
- ... Marine is an old term. As far back as 500 BC, the Greeks carried Marines on triremes; they were used as boarding parties to capture or destroy enemy vessels.
- ... on June 6, 1918 at the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I, more Marines were killed in action on that single day (31 officers and 1,056 Marines) than the combined total of the entire history of Marine Corps.
- ... During World War I, the Marine Corps grew to 75,000, more than seven times it's pre-war size.
- ... Phil and Don Everly of the music duet The Everly Brothers both served in the Marines.
- ... Sergeant Faustin E. Wirkus was crowned king of La Gonâve, an Island in Haiti, in 1926 and ruled until his detachment returned home in 1929. As king, Faustin made many reforms on the island and his rule was noted as a "peaceful and flourishing time."
- ... the term "Leatherneck" for a Marine came from 1798, when the Marine Corps began issuing "one stock of black leather and clasp" to Marines. The band of leather was used to protect the neck when fighting with swords.
- ... Archibald Henderson, the Grand Old Man of the Marine Corps, established the idea of the Marines as “ready to fight”, however, in his time, fighting units were formed by gathering up Marines from Navy ships and shore stations.
- ... Until 1900, the size of the Corps had never exceeded 3,000 Marines and had been armed almost entirely with rifles.
- ... 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."
- ... Marine Corps pilots are now flying more flight hours per pilot than the U.S. Air Force Pilots. See Marine Corps Times Feb 15, 2018
- ... Overcoming nerve damage to his hand from the Battle of Iwo Jima, in 1992, Colonel Charles Waterhouse became the only Marine to receive the title "USMC Artist-in-Residence".
"Great powers don't get angry, great powers don't make decisions hastily in a crisis."
- — General John R. Allen, March 2012, Interview on ABC News
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