Portal:United States Marine Corps

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The United States Marine Corps Portal

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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 just over 203,000 active duty Marines (as of October 2009) and just under 40,000 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

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 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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JasonDunham.jpg

Corporal Jason Dunham was a squad leader for 3rd Battalion 7th Marines in Karābilah when he dove atop a Mills bomb-type hand grenade on April 14, 2004. Despite also using his helmet, he suffered shrapnel wounds and died at Bethesda Naval Hospital eight days later. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President George W. Bush on January 11, 2007, the first Marine to be so awarded since the Vietnam War. Among other honors, an Arleigh Burke class destroyer was christened by his mother Deb as USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) on August 1, 2009.

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Charles C. Krulak.jpg

"Sound morals and ethical behavior cannot be established of created in a day, a semester … or a year. They must be institutionalized our character over time. They must become a way of life. They go beyond our individual services and beyond our ranks or positions. They cut to the heart and soul of who we are and what we are and what we must be: men and women of character.

They arm us for the challenges to come and impart to us a sense of wholeness. They unite us in the calling we now know as the profession of arms. Of all the moral and ethical guideposts that we have been brought up to recognize, the one that, for me, stands above the rest. The one that I have kept in the forefront of my mind . . . is integrity."

— General Charles C. Krulak, USMC (Retired), January 27, 2000

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