marinesinsignia.gif (9350 bytes)

marineflag.jpg (10909 bytes)

flagbar.gif (1593 bytes)

On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia passed a resolution stating that "two Battalions of Marines be raised" for service as landing forces with the fleet. This resolution, established the Continental Marines and marked the birth date of the United States Marine Corps.

One of the most famous Marine customs is the observance of the Marine Corps Birthday. Since 1921 the birthday of the Marine Corps has been officially celebrated each year on 10 November, since it was on this date in 1775 that Continental Congress resolved, "That two Battalions of Marines be raised...." Over the years the Marine Corps Birthday has been celebrated in a wide variety of ways, depending on the location and circumstances of the Marine units. The celebration involves the reading of an excerpt from the Marine Corps Manual and a birthday message from the Commandant; the cutting of a birthday cake by the commanding officer; and the presentation of the first and second pieces of cake to the oldest and youngest Marines present. Recently, the ceremony for the observance of the Marine Corps Birthday by large posts and stations has been incorporated into written directives.

flagbar.gif (1593 bytes)


The role of the United States Marines has changed immeasurably since it began.  Never before have Marines faced challenges like today.     The scope, frequency and speed today's missions must be executed are unlike anything that has been done in the past.

Four separate Marine Expeditionary Units (Special Operations Capable) deploy for six months, each having an average strength of 2,200 Marines and Sailors.  Consisting of three to five amphibious assault ships, they move freely across the high seas without clearances or other diplomatic restraints.  They represent the United States most flexible means of exerting force abroad.
For a quarter of a century, Marines have maintained their own aviation equipment. 
Marines do not have the luxury of choosing where to fight.  From tropical jungles, blistering deserts or arctic cold, the Marine Corps trains to fight in all climates.   
Marine Expeditionary Units are completely self sufficient. 
As more and more fighting and unrest in cities and built-up areas arise, Marines must have the option to use deadly and non-lethal weapons. 
With the end of the Cold War, many smaller nations and entities (terrorist organizations) have been released from their political and military restraints.  Marines are responsible for providing the security of U.S. diplomats and other overseas installations.

flagbar.gif (1593 bytes)

Looking Out for Your Men

One feature which has made the Marine Corps such a respected organization is the custom of Marine leaders looking out for their men. A Marine leader makes sure his men are comfortably clothed, housed, and justly treated. For example, in the field a Marine officer takes position in the mess line after all the enlisted men in order to insure all men get their food. A Marine leader never leaves a wounded or dead Marine on the battlefield to fall into the hands of the enemy.

Being a Marine

But the most outstanding custom in the Marine Corps is simply "being a Marine" and all that it implies. Call it morale, call it esprit de corps, call it what you will--it is that pride which sets a United States Marine apart from the men of other armed services. It is not taught in manuals, yet it is the most impressive lesson a recruit learns in boot camp. It is not tangible, yet it has won fights against material odds.