Across the country, Americans will join the Marine Corps in a salute to the Corps on its birthday! There will be speeches, cakes, tears of grief and of joy and an embrace of the traditions and heritage of the Marine Corps.
Two-hundred and forty-three years ago, on Nov. 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia passed a resolution stating that "two Battalions of Marines be raised" for service as landing forces with the Continental Navy fleet. This resolution established the Continental Marines and marked the birthdate of the United States Marine Corps. Serving on land and at sea, these first Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations, including their first amphibious raid into the Bahamas in March 1776, under the command of Captain Samuel Nicholas (later Major).
The first commissioned officer in the Continental Marines, Nicholas remained the senior Marine officer throughout the American Revolution and is considered to be the first Marine Commandant.
When the Treaty of Paris brought an end to the Revolutionary War in April 1783, and as the last of the Navy's ships were sold, the Continental Navy and Marines were disbanded.
Following the Revolutionary War and the formal re-establishment of the Marine Corps on July 11, 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 took part in numerous naval operations during the War of 1812, as well as participating in the defense of Washington at Bladensburg, Maryland, and fought alongside Andrew Jackson in the defeat of the British at New Orleans.
On Nov. 1, 1921, John A. Lejeune, 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, directed that a reminder of the honorable service of the Corps be published by every command, to all Marines throughout the globe, on the birthday of the Corps. Since that day, the men and women of the Corps have continued to distinguish themselves on many battlefields and foreign shores, in war and peace, according to the Marine Corps birthday message.
The concluding paragraph of which to be read at celebrations follows: "The timeless message of our 13th Commandant has left its mark in the hearts and minds of all Marines, past and present. By deed and act from Belleau Wood to the Argonne, from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima, from Inchon to the Korean Armistice, from the hard fights in Vietnam to Desert Shield/Desert Storm to this century's longest wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in hundreds of other places where Marines have distinguished themselves, Marines have continued to epitomize those qualities which are their legacy. The success which the men and women who have earned the title Marine have achieved in combat and the faith they have borne in peace will endure forever..."
This year marks the centennial of women serving in the United States Marine Corps. Throughout Corps history, women have served with courage and distinction in defense of our nation's freedom. The Marine Corps has been celebrating the many ways that women's history has become woven into the fabric of our nation's story throughout this year.
According to Marine Corps lore, the first woman to wear the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor in service to her country was Lucy Brewer. Disguised as a man, she allegedly served in the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Constitution during the War of 1812.
One-hundred years later in August 1918, the Secretary of the Navy granted authority to enroll women for clerical duty in the Marine Corps Reserve. On Aug. 13, 1918, Opha May Johnson enlisted and became the “first official Woman Marine.” During the remainder of World War I, 305 women were encouraged to enlist to "free a man to fight."
Each day Marines embody the devotion to mission, esprit de corps, and blood, sweat and tears that echo 243 years of an honorable tradition.
Today, the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps amphibious team represents the most powerful amphibious force of all time, with the world’s most lethal ships, aircraft, vehicles, weapons, and warfighters ready in time of peace and war.
More ways to celebrate:
-- Read the Marine Corps Birthday Message from the Secretary of the Navy
-- General Robert B. Neller is the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps. View the Commandant’s Birthday Message.
-- For more information about U.S. Marine Corps history, go to the Marine Corps History Division website: http://grc-usmcu.libguides.com/history-division