Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy 236th Birthday, Marine Corps!

On 10 November 1775, before the United States was yet a country, the Continental Congress created what became the United States Marine Corps, the resolution of that date providing for the raising of two battalions of Marines. Legend has it that the first Marine recruiting post was in a bar (most say Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, although the precise identity of the hostelry is in dispute).

Recruiting had produced five weak companies 300 strong by December 1775, and in March of 1776 the Marines found themselves on ships headed for the Caribbean for the first of their many amphibious expeditions (raiding the Bahamas). The Corps has been carrying our flags around the globe ever since, participating with distinction in every American war (even in the Civil War, on both sides -- there was once a Confederate States Marine Corps). US Marines chased pirates and fought Seminoles in Florida, took a tour of Mexico (the Halls of Montezuma in the song), and once even patrolled rivers in China.

It is altogether typical that on their Corps’ 236th birthday, America’s Marines are carrying the fight to the enemy in Afghanistan, just as their fathers, cousins and brothers did before them in Iraq, Kuwait, Grenada, at Hue City, the Chosun Reservoir, Iwo Jima, Peleliu, Tarawa, Guadalcanal, Corregidor, Wake Island, Belleau Wood, the Argonne, Peking, Nicaragua, Mexico City, Tripoli and a million other places. Happy Birthday Marines! Thanks to all of you for your service, and may God be with you and your families, today and every day.

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