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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Sid mcmath.jpg

Sidney Sanders McMath (1912-2003) was a United States Marine Corps Major General who served as the 34th governor of the state of Arkansas. McMath participated in ROTC at the University of Arkansas. He graduated in 1936 with a Bachelor's degree in Law and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps upon graduation. In 1937, he left active duty and entered the Marine Corps Reserve to begin practicing law. He was called to active duty in 1940. He served in the Pacific during World War II — earning the Silver Star Medal for his valor during the Bougainville campaign and the Legion of Merit for meritorious service in the Empress Augusta Bay landing and subsequent fighting. McMath left active duty in 1945 at the rank of lieutenant colonel. He served as Governor of Arkansas from 1949 to 1952, returning to the Marine Corps Reserve after his tenure as governor. During the Vietnam War, he served in the 3d Marine Amphibious Force. He achieved the rank of major general in 1966.

Selected quote

"It's OK to have fun in the Marine Corps. I like to say we are an imperfect people working in an institution that tries to be perfect. That is a noble thing, but you have to realize there is no perfect. We're human."
-- General James L. Jones, CMC

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