November 10, 1775 .. Birth of the U.S. Marine Corps
During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress passes a resolution
stating that "two Battalions of Marines be raised" for service as landing
forces for the recently formed Continental Navy. The resolution, drafted by
future U.S. President John Adams and adopted in Philadelphia, created the
Continental Marines and is now observed as the birth date of the United
States Marine Corps.
Serving on land and at sea, the original U.S. Marines distinguished
themselves in a number of important operations during the Revolutionary War.
The first Marine landing on a hostile shore occurred when a force of Marines
under Captain Samuel Nicholas captured New Province Island in the Bahamas
from the British in March 1776. Nicholas was the first commissioned officer
in the Continental Marines and is celebrated as the first Marine commandant.
After American independence was achieved in 1783, the Continental Navy was
demobilized and its Marines disbanded.
In the next decade, however, increasing conflict at sea with Revolutionary
France led the U.S. Congress to establish formally the U.S. Navy in May 1798
Two months later, on July 11, President John Adams signed the bill
establishing the U.S. Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the
jurisdiction of the Department of Navy. U.S. Marines saw action in the
so-called Quasi-War with France and then fought against the Barbary pirates
of North Africa during the first years of the 19th century. Since then,
Marines have participated in all the wars of the United States and in most
cases were the first soldiers to fight. In all, Marines have executed more
than 300 landings on foreign shores.
Today, there are more than 200,000 active-duty and reserve Marines, divided
into three divisions stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Camp
Pendleton, California; and Okinawa, Japan. Each division has one or more
expeditionary units, ready to launch major operations anywhere in the world
on two weeks' notice. Marines expeditionary units are self-sufficient, with
their own tanks, artillery, and air forces. The motto of the service is
Semper Fidelis, meaning "Always Faithful" in Latin.
Sally Rolls Pavia