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The Army offers a $50,000 college scholarship. The Navy offers you a chance to see the World. The Air Force will train you in a high-tech, high-paying job. The Marine Corps gives you something that no amount of money could ever buy -- an unshakable tradition; an unbreakable value system; an incomparable life.

No other serviceperson "lives" their service like a Marine. A Marine is a Marine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, rain, shine, leave, weekends, and holidays. Even a Marine's civilian clothing wear is restricted, on or off duty, on or off base, on or off leave. As the regulation says, "Marines may well be associated and identified with the Marine Corps even when not wearing a uniform. Therefore when civilian clothing is worn, Marines will ensure that their dress and personal appearance are conservative and commensurate with the high standards traditionally associated with the Marine Corps. No eccentricities of dress will be permitted."

Defense Department Photo
On 3 March 1776 in the British West Indies, Col Dickenson oil painted the Continental Marines storming Fort Montagu, New Providence Island, under the command of Capt Samuel Nicholas, senior Marine officer of the American Revolution.

Loyalty to the Corps and honor are the watchwords of a Marine. The first definition of honor in my dictionary is "high public esteem, fame, glory." The 2nd definition is "honesty or integrity in one's beliefs and actions." Try asking come college teenager to define "honor." Chances are they'll know about fame and glory; the school "honor roll" and so on.

Will they be able to articulate the second definition? Will they say they have personal honor?

Now, ask a Marine 18 year old the same question. He will tell you exactly what honor means, without hesitation, and -- his definition will have nothing to do with glory. To a Marine, honor is loyalty and dedication to God, Country, Corps, Family, and Self.

When asked what he/she does for a living, a sailor would likely respond, "I'm in the Navy." An airman would likely respond, "I'm in the Air Force." A soldier would probably reply, "I'm in the Army." When asked the same question, a Marine will answer, "I AM a Marine."

Marines have been in the forefront of every American war since the founding of the Corps. They entered the Revolution in 1775, even before the Declaration of Independence was signed. On November 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, adopted a secret resolution that formally established a military organization whose fame and tradition was destined to achieve prominence in the annals of American warfare. The resolution reads:

"Resolved--That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one colonel, two lieutenant colonels, two majors and officers as usual in other regiments; That they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to office or inlisted into said battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with Maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea, when required. That they be inlisted and commissioned for and during the present war between Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress: That they be distinguished by the names of the 1st and 2d Battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number, which the continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of."

Fun Facts

The term, "Leatherneck" derives from the late 1700's when Marines wore a leather strap around their necks for protection.
In combat Marines NEVER leave wounded comrades behind.
Marine sergeants and Corporals are the only NCOs in the U.S. Armed Forces to have the privilege of carrying swords on ceremonial occasions.
The Marine Corps March, "Semper Fidelis" by J.P. Sousa, is the only military march authorized by Congress.
The Marine Hymn is the oldest official anthem of any U.S. military service.
In the US Navy, when "Abandon Ship" is ordered, the last person to leave the vessel before the captain is his Marine orderly.

Drafted by John Adams and sponsored by the Nova Scotia Committee, the resolution created the Continental Marines and is now observed as the birth date of the United States Marine Corps.

Since then the United States Marine Corps has been involved in every American War. The have carried out more than 300 landings on foreign shores.

Perhaps nothing can define the Marine Corps more than the famous quotes of Marines, themselves:


"The Continental ship Providence, now lying at Boston, is bound on a short cruise, immediately; a few good men are wanted to make up her complement." (Marine Captain William Jones, Providence Gazette, 20 March 1779.)

"The Marines have landed and have the situation well in hand." (Attributed to many sources and popularized by the correspondent Richard Harding Davis during the late nineteenth-century.)

"To our Marines fell the most difficult and dangerous portion of the defense by reason of our proximity to the great city wall and the main city gate. . .The Marines acquitted themselves nobly." (Mr. Edwin N. Conger, U.S. Minister, in commending the Marines for the defense of the legations at Peking, China, in 1900.)

"Retreat Hell! We've just got here!" (Attributed to several World War I Marine Corps officers, Belleau Wood, June 1918.)

"Come on, you sons of bitches-do you want to live forever?" (Attributed to Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Daly, USMC, Belleau Wood, June 1918.)

"I have only two out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (First Lieutenant Clifton B. Cates, USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918.)

"They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines." (Lieutenant General Thomas Holcomb, USMC 1943.)

"Goddam it, you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!" (Captain Henry P. "Jim" Crowe, USMC, Guadalcanal, 13 January 1943.)

"Casualties many; Percentage of dead not known; Combat efficiency; we are winning." (Colonel David M. Shoup, USMC, Tarawa, 21 November 1943.)

"Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue." (Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, 16 March 1945.)

"The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps." (General Alexander A. Vandergrift, USMC, to the Senate Naval Affairs Committee, 5 May 1946.)

Other military services offer a career. The Marine Corps offers a new life. It's not an easy life. It's definitely not a life for everyone. But, that's okay. The Marines don't want everyone. They also don't want just anyone. They want just a few...a few of the proud. Even their Recruiting Web Site requires a degree of discipline and commitment. Give it a try.

 

 

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