Happy 248th Birthday, Marines! Semper Fidelis!
There are few dates that are as significant to an individual as their own birthday or the birthday of a loved one. But ask any United States Marine the significance of 10 November and you’ll likely get something like “Yut!”, “Tun Tavern!” (the birthplace of the Marine Corps), “Oorah!” or “Semper Fi!” (latin for “always faithful”) as a response. Marines are incredibly proud of their history and truly know how to celebrate the 10 November 1775 birth of one of the “most elite fighting forces in the world!” I know my time serving as an infantryman with 1st Battalion 8th Marines in Camp Lejeune, NC and in Afghanistan will forever be looked back on as some of the most developmental and impactful years of my life.
Unfortunately, in 2021, the Marine Corps’ 246th Commandant Birthday celebration was cancelled due to COVID. And this year, with the Commandant hospitalized due to reportedly suffering a “cardiac arrest”, the CENTCOM (Middle-East theatre) Marine Corps celebration has been cancelled due to “unforeseen operational commitments”. There will still be (and have been) celebrations taking place across the country as crowds of Marines, their families, and their beloved Navy Corpsmen gather in their own communities to celebrate.
A brief history on the founding of the Marine Corps from History.com:
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 Providence 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 four divisions stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Camp Pendleton, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Okinawa, Japan. Each division has one or more expeditionary units, ready to launch major operations anywhere in the world on two weeks’ notice. The motto of the service is Semper Fidelis, meaning “Always Faithful” in Latin.
As is tradition in the Marine Corps, the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps address Marines, past and present, followed by the traditional cake-cutting, where the oldest Marine cuts the first piece and hands it to the youngest Marine as a symbol that “every Marine is equal.”
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