Portal:United States Marine Corps

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The United States Marine Corps Portal

Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg

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

  • On August 1, 1944, after nine days of fighting in a battle termed "the perfect amphibious operation of World War II," MajGen Harry Schmidt, commander of V Amphibious Corps, declared the island of Tinian secured. The combination of surprise, heavy pre-assault bombardment, and effective logistical support was responsible for Tinian's recapture with a much lower casualty rate (344 killed and 1550 wounded) than had been experienced in previous landings.
  • On August 3, 1950, eight Corsairs of VMF-214, the famed "Black Sheep" squadron of World War II, launched from the USS Sicily and executed the first Marine aviation mission in the Korean War in a raid against enemy installations near Inchon. After the F4Us delivered their incendiary bombs and rockets on their targets, the Marines concluded their greeting to the Communist troops with a series of strafing runs
  • On August 9, 1942, with the Guadalcanal airstrip secure after heavy fighting with the Japanese, the 1st Engineer Battalion commenced work on the runway using captured equipment. Three days later, on 12 August, the first plane landed on Henderson Field, a Navy PBY which evacuated two wounded Marines. Nearly 3,000 wounded Marines would be evacuated from Henderson Field during the battle.

See This Month in Marine Corps History, U.S. Marine Corps History Division.

Did you know...?

  • ... MajGen William H. Rupertus, author of the Rifleman's Creed, was rejected from the predecessor of U.S. Coast Guard because he failed his physical exam?
  • ... 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."
  • ... Marines in uniform are not authorized to put their hands in their pockets.
  • ... the rank of Marine “Gunner” is the only Marine Corps rank that requires different insignia on the left and right uniform collars
  • ... even though the Corps is an amphibious force, swim qualification is one of the few annual qualifications that doesn’t count toward a Marine’s promotion to the next rank.


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Selected biography

James Roosevelt.jpg

Brigadier General James Roosevelt (December 23, 1907 – August 13, 1991) was a Marine Raider, Congressman, and official secretary and advisor to his father, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Born in New York City, he graduated from Harvard University in 1930 and briefly attended Boston University School of Law before starting an insurance agency. After making a sum of money, he left Roosevelt & Sargent in 1938. Having worked for his father's campaign in the 1924 Democratic National Convention and 1932 and 1936 presidential elections, he was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps to serve as his father's aide-de-camp and secretary. In late 1938, he spent a year in the film industry in Hollywood. After the eruption of World War II, he transferred to the Marine reserves as a captain and returned to active duty in 1940 to serve as a military attaché and observer with British forces in the Middle East, and later as a staff officer for William Joseph Donovan. Serving as Evans Carlson's executive officer in the 2nd Raider Battalion, he drew presidential support to the Raider concept earned the Navy Cross in the Makin Island raid. After commanding the new 4th Raider Battalion, he returned for the Battle of Makin and earned a Silver Star, ultimately returning to the reserves in October 1945 with the rank of colonel and retiring as a brigadier in 1959.

Rejoining Roosevelt & Sargent in 1946, he became politically active, losing the 1950 Democratic California governor primary, elected to California's 26th congressional district from 1954 to 1965, losing the 1965 Democratic primary for mayor of Los Angeles, and appointed to the United Nations Economic and Social Council until 1966. He died in Newport Beach due to a stroke and Parkinson's disease.

Selected quote

"The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth.”
-- Thomas Ricks

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