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The following article was originally published in the 1997 Almanac edition of Marines Magazine (Feb 1997). It was compiled by Sgt Kurt M. Sutton and all dates and events were current as of February 1997.

A Look At The Marine Corps' Past

Since the Marine Corps' birth in 1775, Marines have gone from ships' guards to America's "911 Force." Its history is one of valor and sacrifice.
Whether shooting the enemy from ship masts in the War of the Revolution, fighting adversaries in Florida swamps in the 1800s, advancing through a wall of deadly machine gun fire in the "Great War," holding the enemy at bay while cutting off supply lines at Khe Sahn, Vietnam, or rousting the Iraqis from Kuwait, U.S. Marines have established a legacy of honor, courage and commitment.
That cornerstone, set firmly in place 221 years ago, continues to support a rock-solid military organization dedicate to worldwide service. Although it covers many actions and Marine heroes, this historical timeline is in no way exhaustive. It is intended to give you a glimpse of the Corps' origin, accomplishment and significant dates.

November 10, 1775: Continental Congress establishes Marine Corps. Some historians claim members of congress mulled over the idea of a Continental Navy, including Marines, at Tun Tavern, PA.
November 28, 1775: Continental Congress President John Hancock authorizes captain's commission for Samuel Nichols, recognized as the first Commandant of the Marine Corps.
March 3, 1776: First amphibious raid: New Providence, Bahamas.
April, 1783: Treaty of Paris; Marine Corps disbanded shortly after.
July 11, 1798: Marine Corps reestablished.
April 25-27, 1805: Capture of Derne, Tripoli fortress, Lt Presley O'Bannon presented Mameluke sword for Derne actions.
1812: War of 1912. Corps' strength reads 10 officers, 483 enlisted.
1820: Archibald Henderson becomes Commandant of the Marine Corps; "Grand Old Man" Henderson held billet for 39 years.
September 13, 1847: Battle of Chapultepec, Mexico.
1861 - 1865: Civil War; nearly half of all officers resign to join the New Confederate States Marine Corps. Confederate Marines' roster reads 539.
November 19, 1868: Marine Corps emblem adopted, usually credited to Commandant of the Marine Corps Brigadier General Jacob Zeilin. Marines Hymn begins to be heard; no author credited.
1883: Marine Corps motto "Semper Fidelis" adopted, replacing "Fortitudine" (early 1800s) and "By Sea and By Land" (1876).
1888: John Phillip Sousa's "Semper Fidelis" composed.
1898: War with Spain: June 14: Sgt John H. Quick at Cuzco Well, Cuba signals USS Dolphin to direct ships' fire; awarded Medal of Honor.
1900: China Relief Expedition (Boxer Rebellion). Pvt Dan Daly awarded his first Medal of Honor (1901) for Battle of Peking actions.
1907: Horse Marines: China Marines guarding Legation Quarter organize small detachment, riding Mongolian ponies, for ceremonies and crowd control.
1912: Nicaraguan campaign. Birth of USMC aviation; Lt A.A. Cunningham first Marine aviator.
1914: Major Smedley D. Butler awarded his first Medal of Honor for actions at Vera Cruz, Mexico.
1915 - 1924: Haiti occupation. Major Smedley D. Butler and Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly awarded their second Medals of Honor for actions while in Haiti.
World War I
June 6-7, 1918: Battle of Bouresches.
June 6-26, 1918: Battle of Belleau Wood. Legend says Germans refer to Marines as "Teufelhunden" (Devildog); rated as "storm troops". Belleau Wood renamed "Bois de la Brigade de Marine" (Wood of the Marine Brigade).
July 18-20, 1918: Battle of the Aisne-Marne (Soissons).
July 28, 1918: General John A. Lejeune assumes command of the U.S. Army's 2nd Division; the first time a Marine officer led an Army division.
August 13, 1918: Opha Mae Johnson is first female enlisted Marine. Women Marines referred to as "Skirt Marines" or "Marinettes."
September 12 - 16, 1918: Battle of St. Mihiel.
October 2 - 9, 1918: Battle of Blanc Mont. 5th and 6th Marine Regiments awarded French Fourragere; regiments still authorized to wear award.
November 1 - 11, 1918: Battle of Meuese-Argonne. 305 "Reservist (female)" entered the Corps as clerks to "Free a Marine to Fight."
1919: All women ordered out of the Reserve Corps.
1923: Lieutenant Colonel Earl H. "Pete" Ellis dies mysteriously in Palau Islands. His research and prescient thinking on war in the Pacific ("Marine Corps Operations Plan 71, Advanced Base Operations in Micronesia" of 1921) forecasts requirements for war in the Pacific, including force size and the future of amphibious warfare.
1927 - 1933: Nicaragua occupation: Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller a.k.a. "Tiger of the Mountains" awarded Navy Cross. He was awarded five Navy Crosses before retiring in 1955 as a Lieutenant General.
World War II
December 8 - 23, 1941: Wake Island battle.
December 8, 1941 - May 6, 1942: Bataan and Corregidor battles.
August 7, 1941 - February 8, 1942: Guadalcanal capture and defense.
August 17 - 18, 1942: Makin Island raid.
June 20 - August 31, 1943: New Georgia occupation.
November 20 - 23, 1943: Tarawa operation.
December 26, 1943 - March 1, 1944: Cape Gloucester operation.
January 31 - February 1944: Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls occupation.
February 17 - March 2, 1944: Eniwetok atoll occupation.
June 15 - August 10, 1944: Saipan capture and occupation.
July 21 - August 15, 1944: Guam capture and occupation.
July 24 - August 10, 1944: Tinian capture and occupation.
September 15 - October 14, 1944: Peleliu capture and occupation.
October 20, 1944: Leyte landing (Philippines).
February 19 - March 16, 1945: Iwo Jima operation.
April 1 - June 21, 1945: Okinawa capture and occupation. From 1941-1945 nearly 20,000 Marines killed in action or died of wounds; 67,000 wounded in action. 81 WWII Marines warded Medals of Honor.
June 18, 1945: General Roy S. Geiger becomes Commanding General, 10th Army, on Okinawa; first time a Marine commands a field army.
Korean War
June 25, 1950: North Korean forces invade South Korea; America sends troops.
September 15, 1950: Inchon landing.
November 27 - December 4, 1950: Chosin Reservoir campaign. First time helicopters used in combat.
July 15 - September 30, 1958: Lebanon landing.
October 24 - December 31, 1962: Cuban missile crisis.
Vietnam War
March 15, 1962 - March 7, 1965: Advisory campaign. 12,893 Marines killed in action between 1961 - 1975; 88,591 wounded.
March 8, 1965: 9th MEB lands on beaches at Da Nang.
August 15, 1965: Operation Starlight. First ground offensive of Vietnam war for Marines begins.
January 21 - March 30, 1968: Siege of Khe Sanh. Longest and most notable enemy siege of the entire war.
January 29, 1968: Tet Offensive begins. Battle for Hue City; 30 days of house-to-house combat.
April 12, 1975: Operation Eagle Pull. Evacuation of American Embassy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
April 29 - 30, 1975: Operation Frequent Wind. Evacuation of American Embassy, Saigon, South Vietnam.
May 15 - 21, 1975: USS Mayaguez rescue operation, Koh Tang, Cambodia.
November 4, 1979: Iranian hostage crisis. 13 Marines taken hostage.
April 24, 1980: Iranian hostage rescue attempt. 3 Marines killed when helicopter collides with KC-130 during refueling.
August 25, 1982 - February 26, 1984: Lebanon deployment.
October 23, 1983: Bombing of 24th MAU HQ, Beirut National Airport; 224 Marines, 18 Sailors and 3 Soldiers dead.
October 25 - November 2, 1983: Grenada. Joint U.S. operation to restore order and evacuate U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.
December 20, 1989 - January 31, 1990: Panama. Joint U.S. operation to restore order and democracy.
August 5, 1990 - January 9, 1991: Operation Sharp Edge. Evacuation of Monrovia, Liberia, and protection of U.S. embassy, Monrovia.
August 7, 1990: Operation Desert Shield. Marines deploy August 2 to Saudi Arabia after Iraqi forces invade Kuwait.
January 2, 1991: Operation Eastern Exit. Evacuation of U.S. embassy, Mogadishu, Somalia.
January 17, 1991: Operation Desert Storm. Air war begins. Ground war begins February 24th; hostilities end February 28th. 24 Marines dead, 88 wounded in action.
April 9 - July 19, 1991: Operation Provide Comfort. Humanitarian assistance for Northern Iraqi and Turkey refugees.
November 1991 - May 1993: Operation GITMO. Humanitarian assistance for haitian refugees fleeing to Cuba; security.
July 1992 - March 1996: Operation Provide Promise. Search and rescue operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
August 1992 - Present: Distant Runner. Security for evacuation of U.S. citizens from Rwanda.
December 1992 - Present: Operation Sharp Guard/Decisive Enhancement/Decisive Endeavor. SUpport of U.N. in Adriatic Sea.
December 1992 - May 1993: Operation Restore Hope. Marines land December 9th in Somalia to provide humanitarian assistance, continuing through March 1994.
January 1993 - October 1994: Operation Able Manner/Able Vigil. Support interdiction of Haitian and Cuban migrants, Cuba and straits of Florida.
April 1993 - Present: Operation Deny Flight/Decisive Edge/Deliberate Guard. Enforcement of Bosnia-herzegovina no-fly zone.
October 1993 - October 1994: Operation Support Democracy. Enforcement of U.N. sanctions in Haiti.
April 1994: Distant Runner. Security for evacuation of U.S. citizens from Rwanda.
May 1994 - February 1996: Operation Sea Signal. Process Cuban and Haitian migrants in Guantanamo Bay and provide security in support of JTF-160.
August - September 1994: Operation Support Hope. Relief operations in Mombasa, Kenya and Burundi.
September 1994: Operation Uphold Democracy. Secured Cape Haitian while U.S. forces restoring democracy in Haiti.
October 1994: Operation Vigilant Warrior. Rapid deployment to counter Iraqi military at 32nd parallel.
January - February 1995: Operation Safe Passage. Security support for transfer of Cuban migrants.
March - April 1995; Oct 1995 - present: Operation Full Accounting. Support efforts to account for Vietnam POWs/MIAs.
June 8, 1995: TRAP Mission. Marines recover downed Air Force pilot Captain Scott O'Grady in Bosnia.
August - September 1995: Operation Deliberate Force. Air strikes on Bosnia in support of U.N. resolutions.
August 1995 - present: Operation Vigilant Sentinel, Deployment to Persian Gulf; CENTCOM deterrence of Iraqi aggression.
November 1995 - May 1996: Operation Fairwinds. Security for Navy and Air Force engineers in Haiti.
December 1995 - present: Operation Joint Endeavor/Joint Guard. Theater reserve for implementation of Dayton Peace Accord in Bosnia.
April - August 1996: Operation Assured Response. Security/evacuation of U.S. Embassy, Monrovia, Liberia.
April 1996: Chemical/biological incident response force established; deployed to 1996 Olympic games July 14-Aug 6.
May - August 1996: Operation Quick Response. Security/evacuation of U.S. embassy, Bangui, Central African Republic.
July 1996 - present: Operation Desert Focus. Counter-Intelligence operations as part of JTF-SWA.
29 September - 20 November 1996: Operation Marathon. Security assistance to Coast Guard for Chinese migrant operations.
September 1996 - present: Operation Pacific Haven. Screen and process Kurdish refugees in Guam.
30 November 1996: Alvin Rivera retires from active duty in the United States Marine Corps. OH-RAH!!!! (My Add-On).

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