November 10 marks the birthday of the US Marine CorpsAs a Marine, I am required to be aware of such dates. :-D
I have also never been relieved of my oath to "... support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic." And neither have my fellow Marines. It is an oath I take very seriously and is one of the reasons I write this blog.
The graphic above is slightly out of date, although the sentiment is spot-on. Today begins the 240th year for the Corps. It was founded in Tun's Tavern in Philadelphia in 1775. Captain Samuel Nicholas, acting on the orders of the Second Continental Congress began recruiting for Marines to serve in the Continental Navy.
For those who don't understand the difference between Marines and Soldiers (Army), here is a little primer. Marines serve to provide a force in readiness aboard naval vessels. They have always been the shock troops that naval commanders put ashore, to lead the way in projecting force from the sea. Often their mission (then and now) was to secure a port where the Army can be landed in force. Now, that mission is expanded to include both airfields and ports.
On board ship, the Marines served to both defend the ship and lead boarding parties in combat. And, unlike the sailors, Marines were typically armed. So, they were one of the defenses captains had against mutineers.
No slight intended here to sailors. In those distant days many sailors were forcibly enlisted into the service and were treated only slightly better than a press gang. Conditions and treatment accorded the common sailor were not likely to produce warriors or even loyal seamen.
The US Marines have a long and storied history in the story of our nation. One of the truly unique aspects of the Marines is that they are designed to be able to operate independent of supply lines for extended periods of time.
A Marine Division, about 50,000 warriors, can typically operate and move without resupply for up to 30 days. In case you aren't clear on that point, take my word for it, keeping that many warriors fighting with no "rear area" for a month without resupply is a pretty extraordinary achievement.
Not everyone can be a Marine.
During the Vietnam era, the Marines did not want to accept draftees. Their ranks were already filled with volunteers. And prior to accepting draftees, the Marines did not suffer the widespread discipline problems that typified the US Army during that same era.
Of the approximately 100 young men who comprised my platoon at the start of training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, only about 50 actually graduated from Boot Camp.
In contrast with the millions that serve in the US Army today, there are only three active divisions of Marines and one reserve division.
And, unlike the US Army, the Marines have their own aviators who are trained to provide close air support of their fellow Marines on the ground. In addition, they train and work closely with US Navy aviators so that when it all hits the fan, the Navy and Marines can bring it on in any corner of the world, and they can do it in short order and with a fighting elan that puts the rest of the world's military to shame.
Happy Birthday Marines, and Semper Fidelis from one Marine to all.
Top Amazon USMC-related search results:
- Greatest U.S. Marine Corps Stories Ever Told: Unforgettable Stories Of Courage, Honor, And Sacrifice
- TO ERR IS HUMAN, TO FORGIVE DIVINE - However Neither is Marine Corps Policy
- The Marines I actually own this one. It is a pretty good overview and has some great illustrations and paintings.
- Welcome to Hell: Three and a Half Months of Marine Corps Boot Camp
- Marine Corps Boot Camp Survival Guide: Everything You Need To Know To Prepare For (And Live Through) Marine Corps Boot Camp
- Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) with extra illustrations
- The Marine Corps: Three Centuries of Glory
And, if you want the low down on combat in the Corps, these two are among the best I have ever read:
Lastly, here is a great show by the US Marine Corps Silent Drill Team
Tom Sheppard served in the USMC on active duty from 1983 to 1987. He attained the rank of Sergeant. Now, he is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM).
The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein.
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