The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea,using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States.
The United States Marine Corps can trace its heritage the British Royal Marines. Although the current ranks of the Royal Marines number quite small compared to today's US Marines (7,000 vs. 175,000), both Corps of Marines have stood side by side in conflicts around the globe and maintain their close ties. Both Corps of Marines frequently have liaison officers on exchange with each other. The USMC emblem was loosely modeled from the Royal Marines. Neither Corps' emblems incorporates a shield signifying defense, since Marines prefer to be on the offensive and attack the enemy.
The 1980s brought an increasing number of terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies around the world. Marine Security Guards, under the direction of the State Department, continued to conduct themselves with distinction in the face of this challenge. In August 1982, Marines landed in Beirut, Lebanon, as part of a multi-national peace-keeping force. For the next 19 months they faced the hazards of their mission with courage and professionalism. In October 1983 they took part in the highly successful, short-notice, intervention in Grenada. As the decade of the 1980s came to a close, Marines were called to respond to instability in Central America. In December 1989, at the head of the spear of Operation Just Cause in Panama Marines protected America interests and restored Panama's democratic process.
Four years later scarlet and gold were officially designated as the colors of the U.S. Marine Corps. A flag incorporating the new colors was not adopted until 1939. This flag, which is essentially the same design as our current U.S. Marine flag, includes a scarlet field and gold fringe. The Marine Corps emblem is in the center of the flag with a small banner held in the eagle’s beak that says "Semper Fidelis." A larger banner below the emblem says "United States Marine Corps."
“By Sea and by Land,” was obviously a translation of the Royal Marine’s “Per Mare, Per Terram.” Until 1848, the third motto was “To the Shores of Tripoli,” in commemoration of O’Bannon’s capture of Derna in 1805. In 1848, after the return to Washington of the Marine battalion that took part in the capture of Mexico City, this motto was revised to: “From the Halls of the Montezumas to the Shores of Tripoli" – a line now familiar to all Americans. This revision of the Corps motto in Mexico has encouraged speculation that the first stanza of “The Marines’ Hymn” was composed by members of the Marine battalion who stormed Chapultepec Castle.
Following the Revolutionary War and the formal re-establishment of the Marine Corps in July 1798, Marines saw action in the quasi-war with France, landed in Santo Domingo and took part in many operations against the Barbary pirates along the "Shores of Tripoli." Marines participated in numerous naval operations during the War of 1812, as well as participating in the Defense of Washington at Bladensburg, Maryland. On another front, Marines fought along side Andrew Jackson during the defeat of the British at New Orleans. The decades following the War of 1812 saw the Marines protecting American interests around the word, in the Caribbean, at the Falkland Islands, Sumatra and off the coast of West Africa, and also close to home in the operations against the Seminole Indians in Florida.
In 1798, the United States Marine Corps was established and placed under the control of the Secretary of the Navy. Marines have participated in every major war, especially the Mexican War; World War I; World War II; the Korean War; and the Vietnam War. They have developed expertise in counterinsurgency and guerrilla warfare, as well as in commando operations and amphibious warfare. Marine units are self-sufficient, with their own tanks and other armor, artillery, and air forces.
The United States Marine Corps War Memorial stands as a symbol of this grateful nation's esteem for the honored dead of the U.S. Marine Corps. While the statue depicts one of the most famous incidents of World War II, the memorial is dedicated to all Marines who have given their lives in the defense of the United States since 1775.
Continental Congress passed a resolution on Nov. 10, 1775, calling for “two battalions of Marines”. Early Marines served on land and sea, fighting at home and abroad. They raided the Bahamas in 1776, under the command of Capt. Samuel Nicholas. When the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, all the Navy ships were sold, and the Continental Marines and Navy separated.
The legacy of the United States Marine Corps was born on November 10, 1775, when Congress commissioned Robert Mullan, the proprietor of Tun Tavern, located on Philadelphia's historic waterfront to raise the first two battalions of Marines, under the leadership of Samuel Nicholas, the first appointed Commandant of the Continental Marines. The U.S. Marines have been the first branch of the armed forces to serve in every war since that day, and have mounted over 300 assaults on foreign shores, from the arctic to the tropics.
Famous for its esprit de corps, the Corps emphasizes physical fitness and intensive training. In 1775, the Continental Congress created two federal battalions of marines to serve as naval infantry.
“Semper Fidelis” (“Always Faithful”) is the motto of the Corps. That Marines have lived up to this motto is proved by the fact that there has never been a mutiny, or even the thought of one, among U.S. Marines.
Semper Fidelis was adopted about 1883 as the motto of the Corps.