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Emblem of the United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting amphibious operations with the United States Navy. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the four armed service branches in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.
The Marine Corps has been a component of the U.S. Department of the Navy since 30 June 1834, working closely with naval forces. The USMC operates installations on land and aboard sea-going amphibious warfare ships around the world. Additionally, several of the Marines' tactical aviation squadrons, primarily Marine Fighter Attack squadrons, are also embedded in Navy carrier air wings and operate from the aircraft carriers.
The history of the Marine Corps began when two battalions of Continental Marines were formed on 10 November 1775 in Philadelphia as a service branch of infantry troops capable of fighting both at sea and on shore. In the Pacific theater of World War II the Corps took the lead in a massive campaign of amphibious warfare, advancing from island to island. As of 2017, the USMC has around 186,000 active duty members and some 38,500 reserve Marines. It is the smallest U.S. military service within the DoD.
This month in USMC history
- On August 17, 1942, the 2d Marine Raider Battalion, under LtCol Evans F. Carlson, landed on Makin Island from the submarines Nautilus and Argonaut. Over the following 24 hours, they killed about 100 Japanese soldiers and destroyed a seaplane base, two radio stations and a supply warehouse.
- On August 21, 1968, PFC James Anderson, Jr., was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by Secretary of the Navy, Paul R. Ignatius, for heroism in Vietnam while serving as a rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 3d Marines in February 1967. PFC Anderson was the first African-American Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
- On August 23, 1984, the last Marine unit to serve peace-keeping duty in Lebanon arrived home when, after leaving Beirut on July 31st, the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit arrived in Camp Lejeune.
- On August 24, 1814, the British spared the Marine Barracks during the Burning of Washington as a gesture of their respect for the brave conduct of the Marines at the Battle of Bladensburg.
See This Month in Marine Corps History, U.S. Marine Corps History Division.
Did you know...?
- ... 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".
- ... Sergeant Reckless, a war horse for 5th Marines made 51 trips to haul ammo for the recoilless rifle section during Battle for Outpost Vegas of the Korean War and was wounded twice in battle.
- ... 5th Marines is the only Marine regiment to fight in every major war since World War I and is the most highly decorated regiment in the Marine Corps.
General Thomas Holcomb, born 139 years ago in August 1879, served with distinction in the Marine Corps for almost 44 years, from 1900 to 1944.
- He was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star with three Oak Leaf Clusters for his meritorious service during World War I.
- He is renown for his role in developing rifle shooting in the Marine Corps. He was a member of the Marine Corps Rifle Teams in 1901, 1902, 1903, 1907, 1908, and 1911.
- He served as the 17th Commandant of the Marine Corps from 1936 to 1944.
After retiring from the Marine Corps, General Holcomb served as United States Minister to the Union of South Africa from 1944 to 1948.
"Earning the title Marine is not the end of the journey, it’s just the beginning. If we strive to live up to all it means to be a Marine, that journey is a challenging one – but one worth the effort. Each of us raised our right hand, swore an oath, made a commitment, and embarked on a life of service. That oath has no caveats or an expiration date."
- — “Live the Title You’ve Earned Everyday”, Message to the Force 2018, CMC Gen Robert B Neller
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