Portal:United States Marine Corps

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The United States Marine Corps Portal

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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

Did you know...?

  • ... Marine is an old term; as far back as 500 BC, the Greeks carried Marines on triremes; they were used as boarding parties to capture or destroy enemy vessels.
  • ... on June 6, 1918 at the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I, more Marines were killed in action on that single day (31 officers and 1,056 Marines) than the combined total of the entire history of Marine Corps.
  • ... During World War I, the Marine Corps grew to 75,000, more than seven times it's pre-war size.
  • ... Phil and Don Everly of the music duet The Everly Brothers both served in the Marines.
  • ... Sergeant Faustin E. Wirkus was crowned king of La Gonâve, an Island in Haiti, in 1926 and ruled until his detachment returned home in 1929. As king, Faustin made many reforms on the island and his rule was noted as a "peaceful and flourishing time."
  • ... 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".


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General Dunford, CJCS

"I am absolutely confident in our joint force today, in our ability to deal with today’s challenges, but I’m also mindful that you actually get no credit tomorrow for what you did yesterday. And so what today is all about is making sure that we continue on the path of joint capability development; we continue to adapt the force to meet today’s challenges; some of the challenges we have today are not challenges we have foreseen and so we need to adapt, but also we need to be focused on how we innovate, to make sure that tomorrow’s force, perhaps doing things in a fundamentally different way, is prepared for the challenges of 2020 and beyond. And that’s actually our focus."

— General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, March 29, 2016

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