10 November 2006

Happy Birthday US Marines!

Happy 231'st Birthday to the world's finest fighting force, the US Marine Corps!

Even an old Navy guy like me recognizes the Marines as the best warrior force on the planet, not counting the special forces like Army Rangers or Navy SEALs. The Marines training is up to par with most foreign army's special forces (in WW1 the German High Command rated them as storm troopers), and it's no accident that the world's best snipers have been Marines. In fact the Marines didn't even have special forces until just this year when the MARSOC was formed, and that was done only because the Marines were being left out of the fight in Afghanistan. And as everybody knows, the Marines don't like to be left out of the fight.

Formed on November 10th 1775 in Tun Tavern as the Continental Marines during the Revolutionary War, they like the Navy were all but disbanded following the war. However, they are an essential part of seaborne forces and were resurrected by the same Naval Armament Act that re-formed the Navy. First employed as shipboard snipers, their job was to shoot enemy gun crews to prevent accurate naval gunnery and enemy marines that were trying to do the same to our own gunners. They cut their amphibious teeth on the rocks of Tripoli during the war with the Barbary Pirates and earned the sobriquet "Teufel Hunden" (Devil Dogs) from the Germans at Belleau Wood in WW1. They were the last to fall at Bladensburg during the War of 1812, making the British pay in blood for every inch gained, and they held the middle with Andrew Jackson in New Orleans at the close of the same war.

Their heroes have names like Chesty Puller and Pappy Boyington. Every Marine is a rifleman, and every Marine is trained in martial arts. The word Marine is always capitalized when referring to a member of the USMC, and retired Marines are Marines still. There is no such thing as an ex-Marine, once a Marine always a Marine (although there may be now some exceptions, such as the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania who's name I refuse to mention while discussing honorable men and women). Of the 3461 Congressional Medals of Honor that have been awarded, Marines have earned 296.

They are nominally a part of the Navy (the Commandant of the Marine Corps reports directly to the Secretary of the Navy), but they are proudly independent. Although much of their capability duplicates that of the Army, their unique amphibian abilities define them and have earned them statutory protection from being absorbed by the Army (although it has been tried several times).

Happy 231'st Devil Dogs. OORAH and Semper Fi! I can't think of a better present than this:

Update 11/11/06, Team Marine has raised over $14,000 on their birthday thanks to the generous donations of the blogosphere and those who read us. Thank you so very much for your generosity.

Update 11/12/06 - Replace paragraph 4 sentence 5 of the above post with the following: "Of the 3462 Congressional Medals of Honor that have been awarded, Marines have earned 297."

No comments: