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 15 February 1898, 28 Marines and 246 sailors were killed when the USS Maine exploded and sunk in Havana, precipitating the Spanish–American War.
- On 16 February 1953, Captain Ted Williams crash-landed his F9F Panther after a bombing raid on North Korea.
- On 17 February 17 1988, LtCol William R. Higgins was kidnapped, tortured, and killed by Hezbollah while serving on a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.
- On 20 February 1962, LtCol John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission.
- On 23 February 1945, Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, Michael Strank, Rene Gagnon, Harold Schultz, and Harlon Block were photographed raising a flag over Iwo Jima.
- On 24 February 1991, the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions, and the 1st Light Armored Infantry Battalion cross into Kuwait and head toward Kuwait City, initiating the ground assault in the final chapter of Gulf War.
Did you know...?
Hershel "Woody" Williams, the only living Marine Corps World War II Medal of Honor recipient, was honored at Super Bowl LII — making the official coin toss. Williams was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Williams joined the USMC in 1943 at age 19. He served on active duty during World War II and then in the Reserves. He retired from the Marine Corps Reserves in 1969 at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4. He continued his public service after World War II, working for 33 years as a Veterans Affairs counselor. In 2010, the not-for-profit Hershel Woody Williams Congressional Medal of Honor Education Foundation, Inc. was established "to honor Gold Star Families, relatives, and Gold Star Children who have sacrificed a loved one in the service of their country." Williams currently services on the Foundation's Founders Advisory Board.
On Readiness: "Marines have a unique perspective on readiness. The Congressional intent for Marines to serve as the “Nation’s Force-in-Readiness” guides who we are and what we do – being ready is central to our identity. As a force, we must remain ready to fight and win across the range of military operations within all warfighting domains."
— 2018 USMC Posture Statement 
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