Happy 238th Birthday to the Corps!

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You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced, to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth – and the amusing thing about it is that they are…You should see the group about me as I write- dirty, bearded, their clothing food-spattered and filthy- they look like the castoffs of creation. Yet they have a sense of loyalty, generosity, even piety greater than any men I have ever known. These rugged men have the simple piety of children. You can’t help loving them, in spite of their language and their loose sense of private property. Don’t ever feel sorry for a priest in the Marines. The last eight weeks have been the happiest and most contented in my life.

 Father Kevin Keaney, 1st MarDiv Chaplain, Korean War

On November 10, 1775 the Continental Congress passed this resolution authored by John Adams:

“Resolved, That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors, and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said battalions but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve with advantage by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present War with Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress; that they be distinguished by names of First and Second Battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the Continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.”

The Continental Marines were just over three months old when they staged the first of the amphibious operations that have ever been the hallmark of the Marine Corps.  As depicted in the video clip from the movie John Paul Jones (1959).  Under the command of Captain Esek Hopkins, a tiny American fleet seized  Nassau in the Bahamas  on March 3, 1776, 210 Marines leading the way.  Desperately needed artillery, gunpowder and military supplies were seized.  The Marines had won the first of their many, many victories for the United States.

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  1. At Arlington National, they were placing small flags with the Marine Corps emblem in the ground in front of certain grave stones. Didn’t know why at the time, but I should have guessed. This is good that we celebrate their accomplishments, but also remember the dead.

  2. I had never seen that DI video clip. Very fun. Too bad the DI is obsessed with small-minded rules like clean rifles. Driving away all those recruits. :\

  3. Happy birthday indeed.
    Have very fond memories of the marines I met in Wellington in 1971 – those who were attached to the US Embassy in Wellington. Most of them had recently served in Vietnam. I got to know them through a close friend with whom I was staying while I worked on a contract in Wellington for 5 months. Graeme was a mechanic, and got to know the marines because he serviced their cars – some pretty exotic machinery in those days.
    Was honoured to be invited to the Birthday party at the embassy – wow!! what a night ! Everything was free. Canadian Club Whisky was the “IN” drink in those days – plus. of course, the obligatory beer – both beverages being consumed in large quantities
    And yes, I do remember the whole night, though I must confess the hours from 2 am. till about 4.30 am. are a bit fuzzy – then as well as now. 🙂

  4. Just watched the clip on the “dirty rifle”.
    Now I know it was just a movie, and i know that it was probably in WW2 or thereabouts – different times-

    But I wouldn’t fancy that Sar’major’s chances, if he tried to handle the Kiwi S.A.S like
    that. 😉

  5. My Dear Tamsin,
    I know your comment, “Too bad the DI is obsessed with small-minded rules like clean rifles. Driving away all those recruits”, is with tongue in cheek. Prior to 1956, most G.I. ammunition had corrosive primers. A rifle “as filthy as a dirt road” will fail when you need it most. We can say that about many other small minded rules. Thank you Don, for a reprise of good old Jack Webb of Dragnet fame and fond memory. R.I.P.

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