Marine Corps birthday celebrates 235 years of valor on Nov. 10

marine corps birthday is Nov. 10

The Marine Corps birthday Nov. 10 celebrates 235 years of bravery and sacrifice in America's defense. Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Marine Corps birthday, or anniversary of its founding, is celebrated by the U.S. Marines on Nov. 10. The Marine Corps was founded on Nov. 10, 1775 in Philadelphia by the Continental Congress. Over the past 235 years, the Marine Corps has evolved from two battalions with muskets and bayonets into one of the most powerful implements of U.S. foreign policy.

“Semper Fidelis” since 1775

The Marine Corps celebrates its “birthday” on Nov. 10, because on that date in 1775 during the American Revolution, a committee met at a tavern in Philadelphia to plan the formation of the Continental Marines, a fighting force that could battle the British either on land or at sea. After winning independence, the U.S. disbanded the Continental Marines in 1783. In 1798, to get ready for a confrontation with France, Congress passed a resolution creating the United States Marine Corps. In 1883, the Marines adopted the motto “Semper Fidelis,” which is Latin for “always faithful.” The Marine Corps motto is known by most people as the shortened “Semper Fi.”

The “Devil Dogs”

The Marine Corps was instrumental in the U.S. victory in the War of 1812. Marines played a minor role in the Civil War because its ranks were split between north and south. The famous Marine Corps phrase “from the halls of Montezuma” refers to a legendary 1848 Marine Corps assault on Mexico City during the Mexican-American War. The Marines acquired their fearsome modern reputation during the battle of Belleau Wood in France during World War I. At Belleau Wood, the Marines’ bravery and ferocity allegedly inspired their German adversaries to nickname them “Teufel Hunden,” or “Devil Dogs.”

Taking on the dirty jobs

The Marines emerged victorious from the fiercest fighting in World War II against the Japanese in the Pacific. Since then, U.S. Presidents have relied on the Marine Corps to undertake the most difficult assignments in conflicts ranging from the Korean war to Vietnam, two Iraq wars and Afghanistan today. The official observation of the Marine Corps birthday began in 1921 by the order of legendary Marine Corps commandant Gen. John A. Lejeune.



USMC Press

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