My experience is that there is no such thing as “A Marine”. Oh, there are individual Marines, but not singular Marines. There is one Marine, there is Marine by himself, but no such thing as “a Marine”. The very word is plural in its spirit. Every Marine who ever earned the title United States Marine is permanently connected to every other Marine that ever wore the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. From the first recruit, to the last we are bound together by the Corps’ Values: honor, courage, commitment. By our shared history. We are connected by blood. They are the bedrock of the character of Marines. Like links in a chain stretching from first to last, always faithful to each other, to our mission, to our country.
On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress commissioned Samuel Nicholas to raise 2 Battalions of Marines. That day, Nicholas set up shop in Tun Tavern (Philadelphia), and appointed the proprietor, Robert Mullan, the job of chief Marine Recruiter . Prospective recruits flocked to the tavern, lured by cold beer and the opportunity to serve in the new Corps of Marines.
On March 20, 1779, Capt. William Jones, USMC, advertised for "a few good men" to enlist in the Corps. The term seemed ideally suited for Marines, fueled by the implication that "a few" of the right men, “good men”, would be enough. The term has become synonymous with U.S. Marines.
Semper Fidelis, the official motto, was adopted in 1883. From the Latin, Semper Fidelis means "Always Faithful." Other terms like First to Fight, Once a Marine, Always a Marine, Gung-Ho, and OOH-RA have united marines over our 230 year history.
The heroes of the Corps, Smedley Butler, Dan Daly, Presley O'Bannon, Archibald Henderson, "Chesty" Puller, and John Archer Lejeune, are linked with names like:
Charles Colson, John Glenn, Charles Swindoll, F. Lee Bailey, James Baker, John Basilone, Robert Bork, Art Buchwald, Steve McQueen, Oliver North, Ken Norton, Lee Trevino, Montel Williams, Bea Arthur, Philip Caputo, Drew Carey, Rod Carew, James Carville, Eddie Collins, Don Adams, Mike Anderson, Paul Arizin, Monte Barrett, Hank Bauer, Hugh Brannum, Roberto Clemente, David Dinkins, Art Donovan, Terry Downes, Buster Drayton, Nick Barone, R. Lee Ermey, Don & Phil Everly, Bill Fitch, Glenn Ford, Christopher George, Gene Hackman, Sterling Hayden, Ira Hayes, Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch, Gil Hodges, "Don" Imus, George Jones, Bob Keeshan, Raymond W. Kelly, Jim Lehrer, Jim Mora, Zell Miller, Ray Mercer, Steve McQueen, Ed McMahon, Lee Marvin, Robert A. Lutz, Pete Wilson, Chuck Wepner, Mike Weave,r John Warner, Robert Wagner, Bill Veeck, Gene Tunney, Lee Trevino, Leon Spinks, Frederick W. Smith, George Schultz, George C. Scott, Buddy Rich, Burt Reynolds, Tyrone Power, Bum Phillips, George Peppard, Sam Peckinpah, Ted Williams, Nicks, and thousands more…
From General John A. Lejeune's Birthday Message for 1921-
On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date, many thousand men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them, it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the Birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.
The record of our Corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence, the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war and in the long era of tranquility at home. Generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas [so] that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.
In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.
This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the Corps. With it we also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish, Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.
Happy Birthday Marines, Semper Fi
Good night, Chesty, wherever you are
AND MORE: Daisy Cutter's post will move ya.
ANOTHER: Matt at BlackFive adds to Nick's Tun Tavern reference.