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 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

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.
  • ... that the U.S. Marine Corps was formed before the U.S. declared its independence from Great Britain. On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress approved the establishment of two battalions of Marines to fight for independence.

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John Philip Sousa was a member of the United States Marine Band as an apprentice at age 13 for 7 years, and would return in 1880 as the band's leader and conductor for 12 years. Also a popular composer, he wrote recognizable marches such as "Stars and Stripes Forever", "Semper Fidelis", "The Washington Post", and "U.S. Field Artillery".

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"The center of gravity of the Marine Corps is its people, and the American people trust us with this precious resource – their sons and daughters. Our core values of honor, courage, and commitment are engrained in our culture. Marine leaders have a moral obligation to ensure the health and welfare of the Nation’s Marines from the day they commit to serve. We take this responsibility seriously and strive to maintain the trust and confidence of Congress and the American people. Taking care of Marines and their families is a key element of overall readiness, combat effectiveness, and warfighting."
— 2018 USMC Posture Statement [1]

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