November 10th: 240 Years Later

I am most honored and happy to be able to publish yet another day of remembrance for my beloved Marine Corps, on its 240th birthday.

The almost three years I spent as a Marine Corps wife hold many happy memories. I salute those long-ago young men of Cherry Point, their enthusiasm and patriotism and courage. But most especially their wonderful jarhead sense of humor.

The history of the leathernecks parallels our country’s larger military history. Cultural battles and dissension may continue to erode our heritage, but the Marine Corps remains a bedrock for many Americans.

Semper Fi, y’all

The Commandant’s Message, 2015:

And from the Constitution Center website, a short history:

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It was on this day in 1775 that the Continental Congress officially created the Marines to lead the fight “on land and at sea” for independence from the British.

And 240 years later, the U.S. Marines are still going strong, staying true and leading by example on and off the battlefield.

It was John Adams who introduced a resolution to create two battalions of Marines, with the initial purpose of disrupting British naval activity in Nova Scotia. George Washington didn’t support an attack on Nova Scotia and directed that the new Marine recruits come from Philadelphia and New York.

Captain Samuel Nicholas raised the first Continental Marine recruits in the Philadelphia area. Of the 41 men, 40 were from Philadelphia and none had experience as sailors, and they saw action the following year in the Bahamas.

The Marines went on hiatus, as did much of the U.S. military, after the Revolutionary War, only to return in 1798 as a possible conflict with France was on the horizon.

Marines were also involved at the “shores of Tripoli” in 1805 near modern-day Libya. A coordinated land-sea attack led by the U.S. Navy and Marines on the city of Derna forced Tripoli to sign a peace treaty with the United States.

The Marines also fought bravely during the War of 1812, including at the Battle of New Orleans under Andrew Jackson. During the Mexican-American War, Marines were involved in fighting in 1847 that led to the U.S. capture of the National Palace and the Halls of Montezuma in Mexico City.

And in 1859, Marines led by Army Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee captured abolitionist John Brown at Harper’s Ferry. Marines fought during the Civil War — on both sides of the conflict.

After the war, the Marines’ Hymn came into use, which music inspired by a French opera, and in 1883 the Marines’ motto became Semper Fidelis — Always Faithful.

Since then Marines have served in every major military conflict, and at locations including Siberia, China, Haiti, Iceland, the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Liberia, Somalia, and Rwanda.

Today, the Marines are at a projected current strength of 184,000 active personnel, with about 39,000 reservists.

According to the Marine Corps’ History Division, more than 41,000 Marines have died in service since the Revolutionary War, with 205,000 wounded in action. The most Marine fatalities were during World War II and the Vietnam War.

18 thoughts on “November 10th: 240 Years Later

  1. Most of the first Marines recruited were according to the records, were to be able bodied seamen. One was named Orange Negro, a former seaman on a war ship(where??) . Cannon crew preferred.

    At the Battle of Princeton in January ,1777 they took positions as part of the canon crews with Hamilton’s artillery ( info from the History of Hamilton’s artillery) as the regular Army cannon crews had gone home due their enlistments running out. Gen. Washington had had some Marines take their place as he knew they were experienced with cannons on board ships. The Americans won the Battle!

    Marines were also with Washington at the Battle of Trenton in Dec. 1776 .

    One of my sons was a re-enactor with a REV WAR Continental Marine unit years ago and I made the uniforms…. all hand sewn.

    • Lucky you, to have and to utilize your skill in such a wonderful undertaking. Given the names of those ‘immortal’ first Marines (though I didn’t know about Orange Negro!) they obviously showed up at that tavern from among the Irish and Scots Irish that continue to make up so many of our rank-and-file military. It really does run in families.

    • The second black Continental Marine, Isaac Walker, was enlisted on 27 August, 1776 in Captain Robert Mullan’s Philadelphia company of Continental Marines, followed on 1 October by a recruit listed simply as “Orange…Negro”. Both were still on the company rolls as of 1 April 1777 and it is quite possible that they served with Mullan’s Company at the second battle of Trenton on 2 January 1777 and in the Battle of Princeton the next day.
      In December 1776, the Marines were tasked to join Washington’s army at Trenton to slow the progress of British troops southward through New Jersey. Unsure what to do with the Marines, Washington added the Marines to a brigade of Philadelphia militia, also dressed in green. Captain Mullan’s roster lists two black men, Issac and Orange, the first recorded black Marines. Though they were unable to arrive in time to affect the battle of Trenton, they assisted in the decisive American victory at Princeton.[link]
      These few black Marines were pioneers, who were not followed by others until 1942.
      FWIW: uniform & equipment

      Happy Birthday USMC!

      • Been along time and I forgot a lot. But re-enactors go to so much research and have to document everything.

        Today at the Veteran’s parade there were no REV WAR re-enactors, just Civil war and they looked nice and authentic… Sons of Confederate Vets and they carried ONLY a state flag for our state. No Battle flag.

        Sons of the American Revolution looked all “costumey” as usual.
        Daughters of the American Revolution… OH GAD ZOOKS … bad outfits. But at least they were there.

  2. I would also like to pay tribute to the fallen Aussies who fought in both World Wars with honor to save people a long way from Australia, although in the Second World War of course, Australia was under threat from Japan. Men like my father and his brother fought Rommel in the desert, paying the ultimate price. I’d also like to point out that Australia entered the war right from the beginning in 1939, not waiting for an event like Pearl Harbor, three years later, to aid the European allies. May they rest in peace and may the democracy they gave their lives for is not destroyed by their former enemies.

    • Oh, right. You’re ahead of us…not yet 10:30 p.m. on Nov 10 here. The remembrance of 11/11 is muted in the US. The military and those of us who are fellow-travelers will remember, but I don’t think even the local vets’ groups have poppies anymore – those fellows have died out and even those who recall when registering for the draft was a rite of passage are fewer each year. Yes, they still register but it’s not of moment because no one expects the draft to return in their lifetime.

      Our current military is being dismantled and morale is poor under a Commander-in-Chief who said “corpse” when he saw the word “corps” on his teleprompter. I always thought that so-called “slip” by a supposedly educated person was merely a signal to his supporters that he was so ignorant of military affairs he didn’t possess even the vocabulary. [Tell me another one].

      We’ve also not been militarily invaded…civilizational jihad is a different kind of attack. So we have no institutional memory as, say, Britain would have.

      Our son earned his Eagle Scout badge by writing an oral history of the WWII military still extant (and still compos mentis) in our small county. What a cross-section that was! Both Europe and the Pacific, including a nurse who served in New Guinea under deplorable conditions. There was a black enlisted man – a kind of Seabee, I think – who remembered his experience of second class status in military life. It kept him from making a career there…the military’s loss and our county’s gain. He even interviewed a fellow who’d retired as a general. Their stories ran the gamut from D-Day to the torture of those Pacific islands…yet they all felt, particularly those in the European theatre, that they were fighting against the inhumanity of Nazism, including its attempt to annihilate the Jews. It was so across-the-board that the sentiment didn’t appear to be post-war editorializing. What most affected our son was how close in age they’d been to his own age during his interviews of them; it was a humbling experience. What we learned from a woman whose pilot-father never returned from the Pacific was how poor the food and materiel supply system was on those islands. She thought her father died (his plane disappeared on a morning mission) because he was disoriented due to hunger. He’d lost a great deal of weight due to the lack of rations; there wasn’t enough catchably close sea or land life to serve as substitutes for so many young men.

      Remembrance Day is fading…

      • Our main day of remembrance is ANZAC day, 25th of April, that is where Australia and New Zealand linked up for the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign in Turkey 1915.

        The poppies are sold prior to Anzac day for a donation here and the proceeds go to the RSA Returned Servicemen Association, for any extra needs “Vets” may need in any disability and old age.
        Korean War, Malaysian Insurgency, Vietnam War, and Peace-making/keeping missions in many parts of the world, though for us in a way the RSA clubs are fading too.
        It is all easing back now as many of the small associations have disbanded and any halls have been turned over to such like “senior citizen clubs”.

        When I was young the boy scouts and cubs, with brownies and girl-guides. used to join the march down the main street, behind the veterans and others of significance with the skirl of a pipe band. That all naturally died back, to just an outside service with reveille and last post with the flag raised and lowered to half mast. Names read, wreaths laid.
        The past decade it is noticeable that there is a quiet increase of attendance, and in many places it is known as the Dawn Parade. Yes that time of morning as every gather in the dark.

        With the centenary of WW1 being celebrated, more media articles, films, documentaries and etc. certainly rose to fever pitch this past year. Almost excessively so, and I feel that it is so personalized with a “never again, at all costs” approach, as schools took it on with many class projects.
        It is good to gain wisdom from past events, but difficult to avoid a smugness of “learning”, where perhaps a “There go I, but for the grace of God” that can temper the wisdom in thinking and reasoning that we need for today.

        Though I do find it great that the young ones do interview the old vets, as no educational editorializing can dull what those vets say to that young generation, as they can give a full context and sharply point out the politics of that time, as I know from my own family history.

        A real privilege that Young Baron had in sharing those experiences formed around the world. For me I found as I got older, those shared memories speak more loudly with more understanding, and with google can often pick up now certain points, and bring even more relevance of that history.

        I have traveled through northern parts of New Guinea and the outer most islands. The war detritus there is surprising and amazing. From tanks, air craft engines, grounded ships, submarines, etc.
        Just to get around in that heat is diabolical, and to work and fight would have been draining.
        What surprised me was at that time that the young children recognized Americans, Australians and New Zealanders as coming many years ago to rescue their people.

        We are in an upward cycle of attendance, and I will not be surprised if there will be an upward cycle for your Remembrance Day in due time, when a time of deeper understanding and giving respect; is desired by the young ones.

    • Lucky you – that’s a couple of years beyond the minimum for full retirement, isn’t it? A great life if you survive. I always figured the “family” part of that esprit de corps arose from the fact that the Corps is relatively small. At least it was for the air wing. People would turn up again in a next post. Boy, you were sure in some rough times in that period.

      • Meh, it was a piece of cake; 15 of it was in the reserves. Like many, 9-11 ripped me from my warm civilian womb until retirement time. The USMC is still an outstanding national asset.

  3. Tomorrow , our church will have all our active duty( well, those in town) and veterans in the Veteran’s Day parade.

    We family members will stand and watch or walk in the parade with their Vet or service member.

    We have open cars for the older Vets for the parade, flags and a sign denoting our Church. We have a veteran and active duty club meeting with a dinner ( free) every month.

    It is a good group of folks and have great speakers each month. We somebody from each service including some Merchant Marine, retired gentlemen. We also have several women vets AND active duty members in our group.
    Proud to help out each month !!

  4. I saw the video.. At the end of the oath of induction the recruits had to say “so help me God” (2:09).

    Now most atheists would say it anyway or just mumble under their breath so help me God. But other atheists could not in good conscience take such an oath. As such a ‘secred’ thing would-de facto- meaningless to them.

    Is there an other form of induction oath that an atheist could take honesty. I see that this is done en mass with no time for individuals to object. An oath is a serious thing, though!

    Thanks to all who served.

  5. Well, this Brit is happy to salute the part played by the USMC in the liberation of the US (and its subsequent gallantry). Of course, if Americans should have second thoughts about parting from the Mother Country, I daresay we could negotiate terms for your (extremely belated) surrender…

  6. I would also like to honour the US part in two World Wars, the Korean War and in the long sacrifice since then.

    I would not be surprised if the USA grew tired at the ingratitude of many of us Europeans to the aid of whom you came.

    But if the American People became no longer willing to expend their treasure and the blood of their finest young men and women in our defence, then it would be those same dismal poltroons among us who would be the first to whine about what they themselves had caused.

    On a happier note, I showed this thread to an old friend who is a former Royal Marine, and who spent some time on the Chilean/Argentine border in ’82.

    He said I should mention 41 Commando Royal Marines, who fought alongside 1st US Marine Div at the Chosin Reservoir.

    Shoulder to Shoulder, as Tony Blair said after 9/11.

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