Marine Corps Knowledge

May 23rd, 2004  
C/2nd Lt Robot

Topic: Marine Corps Knowledge

What is a Marine?

Author Unknown

The USMC is over 224 years of romping, stomping, hell, death and destruction. The finest fighting machine the world has ever seen. We were born in a bomb crater, our mother was an M-16 and our father was the devil. Each moment that I live is an additional threat upon your life.

I am a rough looking, roving soldier of the sea. I am cocky, self-centered, overbearing, and I do not know the meaning of fear, for I am fear itself. I am a green, amphibious monster made of blood and guts who arose from the sea, festering on anti-Americans throughout the globe. Whenever it may arise, and when my time comes, I will die a glorious death on the battle field, giving my life to mom, the Corps, and the American flag.

We stole the eagle from the Air Force, the anchor from the Navy, and the rope from the Army. On the 7th day, while God rested, we over-ran his perimeter and stole the globe, and we've been running the show ever since.

We live like soldiers and talk like sailors and slap the hell out of both of them. Soldier by day, lover by night, drunkard by choice,


From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli,
We fight our country's battles in the air, on land and sea.
First to fight for right and freedom, and to keep our honor clean,
We are proud to claim the title, of
United States Marines.

Our flag's unfurled to every breeze from dawn to setting sun.
We have fought in every clime and place, where we could take our gun.
In the snow of far off northern lands and in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job,
United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps, which we are proud to serve.
In many a strife we've fought for life and never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy ever look on heaven's scenes,
they will find the streets are guarded, by
United States Marines.

History of the Hymn

Following the war with the Barbary Pirates in 1805, when Lieutenant P.N. O'Bannon and his small force of Marines participated in the capture of Derne and hoisted the American flag for the first time over a fortress of the Old World, the Colors of the Corps was inscribed with the words: "To the Shores of Tripoli." After the Marines had participated in the capture and occupation of Mexico City and the Castle of Chapultepec, otherwise known as the "Halls of Montezuma," the words on the Colors were changed to read: "From the Shores of Tripoli to the Halls of Montezuma."

Following the close of the Mexican War came the first verse of the Marines' Hymn, written, according to tradition, by a Marine on duty in Mexico. For the sake of euphony, the unknown author transposed the phrases in the motto on the Colors so that the first two lines of the Hymn would read: "From the Halls of Montezuma, To the Shores of Tripoli."

A serious attempt to trace the tune of the Marines' Hymn to its source is revealed in correspondence between Colonel A.S. McLemore, USMC, and Walter F. Smith, second leader of the Marine Band. Colonel McLemore wrote: "Major Richard Wallach, USMC, says that in 1878, when he was in Paris, France, the aria to which the Marines' Hymn is now sung was a very popular one." The name of the opera and a part of the chorus was secured from Major Wallach and forwarded to Mr. Smith, who replied: "Major Wallach is to be congratulated upon a wonderfully accurate musical memory, for the aria of the Marine Hymn is certainly to be found in the opera, 'Genevieve de Brabant'...The melody is not in the exact form of the Marine Hymn, but is undoubtedly the aria from which it was taken. I am informed, however, by one of the members of the band, who has a Spanish wife, that the aria was one familiar to her childhood and it may, therefore, be a Spanish folk song."

In a letter to Major Harold F. Wingman, USMC, dated 18 July [1919], John Philip Sousa wrote: "The melody of the 'Halls of Montezuma' is taken from Offenbach's comic opera, 'Genevieve de Brabant' and is sung by two gendarmes." Most people believe that the aria of the Marines' Hymn was, in fact, taken from "Genevieve de Brabant," an opera-bouffe (a farcical form of opera, generally termed musical comedy) composed by Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880), and presented at the Theatre de Bouffes Parisiens, Paris, on November 19, 1859.

Offenbach was born in Cologne, Germany, June 20, 1819 and died October 5, 1880. He studied music from an early age and in 1838 entered the Paris Conservatoire as a student. In 1834 he was admitted as a violoncellist to the Opera Comique and soon attained much popularity with Parisien audiences. He became conductor of the Theatre Francais in 1847 and subsequently leased the Theatre Comte, which he reopened as the Bouffes-Parisiens. Most of his operas are classed as comic (light and fanciful) and include numerous popular productions, many of which still hold a high place in European and American countries.

Genevieve de Brabant was the wife of Count Siegfried of Brabant. Brabant, a district in the central lowlands of Holland and Belgium, formerly constituted an independent duchy. The southern portions were inhabited by Walloons, a class of people now occupying the southeastern part of Belgium, especially the provinces of Liege, Arlon and Namur.

Every campaign the Marines have taken part in gives birth to an unofficial verse. For example, the following from Iceland:

"Again in nineteen forty-one
We sailed a north'ard course
And found beneath the midnight sun,
The Viking and the Norse.
The Iceland girls were slim and fair,
And fair the Iceland scenes,
And the Army found in landing there,
The United States Marines."

Copyright ownership of the Marines' Hymn was vested in the United States Marine Corps per certificate of registration dated August 19, 1991 but is now in the public domain. In 1929, the Commandant of the Marine Corps authorized the following verses of the Marines' Hymn as the official version.

On November 21, 1942, the Commandant of the Marine Corps approved a change in the words of the fourth line, first verse, to read, "In air, on land, and sea."

Former-Gunnery Sergeant H.L. Tallman, veteran observer in Marine Corps Aviation who participated in many combat missions with Marine Corps Aviation over the Western Front in World War I, first proposed the change at a meeting of the First Marine Aviation Force Veterans Association in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Many interesting stories have been associated with the Marines' Hymn. One of the best was published in the Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the AEF, under date of August 16, 1918.

"A wounded officer from among the gallant French lancers had just been carried into a Yankee field hospital to have his dressing changed. He was full of compliments and curiosity about the dashing contingent that fought at his regiment's left.

"'A lot of them are mounted troops by this time,' he explained, 'for when our men would be shot from their horses, these youngsters would give one running jump and gallop ahead as cavalry. I believe they are soldiers from Montezuma. At least, when they advanced this morning, they were all singing "From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli".'"

The Marines' Hymn has been sung and played in all of the four corners of the earth and today is recognized as one of the foremost service songs.

The history of the Marine Corps emblem is a story related to the history of the Corps itself. The emblem of today traces its roots to the designs and ornaments of early Continental Marines as well as British Royal Marines. The emblem took its present form in 1868. Before that time many devices, ornaments, and distinguishing marks followed one another as official marks of the Corps.

In 1776, the device consisted of a "foul anchor" of silver or pewter. The foul anchor still forms a part of the emblem today. (A foul anchor is an anchor which has one or more turns of the chain around it). Changes were made in 1798, 1821, and 1824. In 1834 it was prescribed that a brass eagle be worn on the hat, the eagle to measure 3 1/2 inches from wingtip to wingtip.

During the early years numerous distinguishing marks were prescribed, including "black cockades, "scarlet plumes," and "yellow bands and tassels." In 1859 the origin of the present color scheme for the officer's dress uniform ornaments appeared on an elaborate device of solid white metal and yellow metal. The design included a United States shield, half wreath, a bugle, and the letter "M."

In 1868, Brigadier General Commandant Jacob Zeilin appointed a board "to decide and report upon the various devices of cap ornaments for the Marine Corps." On 13 November 1868, the board turned in its report. It was approved by the Commandant four days later, and on 19 November 1868 was signed by the Secretary of the Navy.

The emblem recommended by this board has survived with minor changes to this day. It consists of a globe (showing the Western Hemisphere) intersected by a foul anchor, and surmounted by a spread eagle. On the emblem itself, the device is topped by a ribbon inscribed with the Latin motto "Semper Fidelis" (Always Faithful). The uniform ornaments omit the motto ribbon.

The general design of the emblem was probably derived from the British Royal Marines' "Globe and Laurel." The globe on the U.S. Marine emblem signifies service in any part of the world. The eagle also indirectly signifies service worldwide, although this may not have been the intention of the designers in 1868. The eagle they selected for the Marine emblem is a crested eagle, a type found all over the world. On the other hand, the eagle pictured on the great seal and the currency of the United States is the bald eagle, strictly an American variety. The anchor, whose origin dates back to the founding of the Marine Corps in 1775, indicates the amphibious nature of Marines' duties.

Reference Section
History and Museums Division
March 1998

The Marine Corps Seal, designed by the Marine Corps Uniform Board in accordance with instructions of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, then General Lemuel G. Shepherd, Jr., was adopted by Presidential Executive Order 10538 of 22 June 1954.

The traditional Marine Corps emblem - eagle, globe and foul anchor - forms the basic device of the Seal. Of these three, the eagle and the foul anchor are the most venerable, dating from 1800 when they first appeared on the Marine uniform button - a button which has remained to this day virtually unchanged from its original form. Influenced strongly by the design of the emblem of the British Royal Marines depicting as their domain the Eastern hemisphere, the U.S. Marines adopted in 1868 as their emblem a globe showing the Western hemisphere. To this was added the spread eagle and foul anchor from the button. Twelve years later the motto, "Semper Fidelis," completed the design.

The scarlet and gold surrounding the emblem are the official Marine Corps colors. These in turn are enclosed by Navy blue and gold signifying the Marine Corps as an integral part of the naval team.

Reference Section
History and Museums Division
March 1998

No one knows with absolute certainty who designed the first stars and stripes or who made it. Congressman Francis Hopkinson seems most likely to have designed it, and few historians believe that Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress, made the first one.

Until the Executive Order of June 24, 1912, neither the order of the stars nor the proportions of the flag was prescribed. Consequently, flags dating before this period sometimes show unusual arrangements of the stars and odd proportions, these features being left to the discretion of the flag maker. In general, however, straight rows of stars and proportions similar to those later adopted officially were used. The principal acts affecting the flag of the United States are the following:

On June 14, 1777, in order to establish an official flag for the new nation, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act: "Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."

Act of January 13, 1794 - provided for 15 stripes and 15 stars after May 1795.

Act of April 4, 1818 - provided for 13 stripes and one star for each state, to be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the admission of each new state, signed by President Monroe.

Executive Order of President Taft dated June 24, 1912 - established proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward.

Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated January 3, 1959 - provided for the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically.

Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated August 21, 1959 - provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizon tally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.

"First to Fight"
Marines have been in the forefront of every American war since the founding of the Corps. They have carried out over 300 landings on foreign shores. They have served everywhere, from the poles to the tropics. Their record of readiness reflects pride, responsibility and challenge.

"Semper Fi"
That Marines have lived up to their motto, "Semper Fidelis" (latin for Always Faithful), is proven by the fact that there has never been a mutiny among U.S. Marines. This motto was adopted about 1883. Before that, there had been three mottoes, all traditional rather than official. The first, "Fortitudine" (With Fortitude), appeared about 1812. The second, "By Sea and by Land," was obviously a translation of the Royal Marines' "Per Mare, Per Terram." Until 1848, the third motto was "To the Shores of Tripoli," in commemoration of O'Bannon's capture of Derne in 1805. In 1848, after the return to Washington of the Marine battalion which took part in the capture of Mexico City, this motto was revised to "From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli." The current Marine Corps motto is shared with England's Devonshire Regiment.

The Marines' long-standing nickname goes back to the leather stock or neckpiece, which was part of the Marine uniform from 1775 to 1875. The leather bands around their throats were intended to ensure that Marines kept their heads erect.

"Devil Dogs"
In the Belleau Wood fighting in 1918, the Germans received a thorough indoctrination in the fighting ability of the Marines. Fighting through supposedly impenetrable woods and capturing supposedly untakeable terrain, the persistent attacks, delivered with unbelievable courage soon had the Germans calling Marines "Teufelhunde," referring to the fierce fighting dogs of legendary origin. Ooohhh Raaah!

"Esprit de Corps"
The "spirit" of a unit. This spirit is commonly reflected by all members. It implies devotion and loyalty to the Marine Corps, with deep regard for history, traditions and honor.

"Uncommon Valor"
Refers to the victories in World War II, especially at Iwo Jima, the largest all-Marine battle in history. Admiral Nimitz's ringing epitome of Marine fighting on Iwo Jima was applied to the entire Marine Corps in World War II: "Uncommon valor was a common virtue."

The term "gyrene" is a jocular reference to Marines which was first used in England as early as 1894. It was used in the United States around the time of World War I. Its exact origin is unknown, but it did appear to have a derogatory meaning in its early usage. It has been suggested that the term may embody a reference to pollywog, a naval slang term for a person who has not yet "crossed" (the equator), hence, a landlubber.

A slang term used by sailors as early as World War II to refer to members of the Marine Corps, drawing the term from the resemblance of the Marine dress blues uniform, with its high collar, to a Mason jar.

General Order 1
To take charge of this post and all government property in view.

General Order 2

To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.

General Order 3

To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.

General Order 4

To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse than my own.

General Order 5

To quit my post only when properly relieved.

General Order 6

To receive, obey and pass on to the sentry who relieves me all orders from the commanding officer, officer of the day, and officers and noncommissioned officers of the guard only.

General Order 7

To talk to no one except in the line of duty.

General Order 8

To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.

General Order 9

To call the corporal of the guard in any case not covered by instructions.

General Order 10

To salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased.

General Order 11

To be especially watchful at night, and during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.


I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.


I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.


If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and to aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.


If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information nor take part in any action which might be harmfull to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them in every way.


When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my coutry or its allies or harmful to their cause.


I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

Creed of the USMC

THIS IS MY RIFLE. There are many like it but this one is mine.
My rifle is my best friend.
It is my life.
I must master it as I master my life.

My rifle, without me is useless.
Without my rifle, I am useless.
I must fire my rifle true.
I must shoot straighter than any enemy who is trying to kill me.
I must shoot him before he shoots me.
I will….

My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of or burst, nor the smoke we make.
We know that it is the hits that count.
We will hit….

My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life.
Thus, I will learn it as a brother.
I will learn its weakness, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel.
I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready.
We will become part of each other.

We will…

Before God I swear this creed.
My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country.
We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.

So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy, but Peace.

One of the main aspects of military courtesy is the salute. It is a gesture of respect and a sign of comradeship among service personnel.

Accordingly, it is a uniform gesture; meaning that the highest man in rank in the Marine Corps returns the salute in the same form in which it is rendered to him.

By saluting first, no officer or man implies that he is in any sense inferior of the senior whom he salutes.

The words of General John J. Pershing, commanding general of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I indicates the importance of saluting in the minds of fighting men. "Send me who can shoot and salute," he demanded.

The salute probably originated in the days of chivalry when knights in mail raised their visors to friends for the purpose of identification. Because of strict adherence to rank, the junior was required to make the first gesture.

Still, another probability as to the originating of a salute comes from the time when assassinations by dagger were not uncommon. It became the custom to approach each other with raised hand, palm to the front, showing that there was no concealed weapon.

It seems reasonable to assume that the hand salute as now rendered stems to some degrees, from the British Navy. There is general agreement that the hand salute is actually the first part of uncovering. That was the start, uncovering in front of a senior.

Gradually, that was changed into merely touching the cap, and now the present salute.

There are many types of salutes; the hand salute; the rifle salute at order arms; the rifle salute at right shoulder; the rifle salute at present arms. Another type of salute in eyes right, given by men in ranks when passing in review.

The noisiest salute rendered is a gun salute which has quite a history. Actually, perhaps in a sadistical sense, there is also a bit of humor attached to the gun salutes as rendered years ago by not so accurate gunners.

During the days of Columbus, after firing a salute, it would take as much as a half an hour to reload the guns. Therefore, the first ship firing the salute showed that he came in peace, and after firing the gun, was helpless.

It is said that firing blanks is the safest way of firing a gun salute; at least safest for the individual being honored. History records that at least one man so being honored was killed by unskilled gunners who blasted him with a cannon ball!

The origin of a 21-gun salute, an international salute, took years to come into being. Originally warships fired salutes of seven guns, probably because the number had some mystical or symbolical significance stemming from the Bible.

Although regulations stated that the salute at sea was seven guns, shore batteries were authorized to fire three guns to the ship's one, the difference being due to the storage of powder. Lack of facilities for maintaining low and even temperatures aboard ship was a serious problem for powder spoiled easily.

In shore batteries, the powder was easily stored near the guns.

With the powder as we now know it, (one that preserves at sea longer) the number of guns for the naval international salute was raised to 21.

Another type of salute is rendered over a grave. Originally three volleys were fired into the air, to "scare away evil spirits escaping from the dead." It was thought that their hearts were ajar at such time, allowing the devil to enter.

Today, the gun salutes, as rifle salutes and hand salutes, are all administered by the individual, the group or the ship as a sign of respect.

Dating from the time of Columbus and Roman emperors, the salute has become an important part of a proud tradition. The salute means something...something important. Learn how to use it, and use it well.

Reference Section
History and Museums Division
February 1996
May 23rd, 2004  
Thank for the info. Most of it I knew, but as allways I did learn some new stuff from your post.

Thanks again.

BTW: Have you been here yet?
December 23rd, 2009  
The Continental Army was organized in June of 1775, approximately 5 months prior to the Continental Marine Corps. Prior to the organization of the Continental Marine Corps, Army troops had fought the Battles of Lexington and Concord, established the Siege of Boston, fought the Battle of Bunker Hill and captured Ticonderoga with its store of artillery. The US Army was the first Armed Force to fight in defense of this nation.

The Continental Navy and Marine Corps were disbanded in 1783. The US Marine Corps was not organized until 1798. In the 230+ years of history since the organization of the Continental Marine Corps, there was a 15 year period in which no Marine Corps existed. The Continental Army was never completely disbanded. The only US Armed Force which can legitimately claim 230+ years of unbroken service to the nation is the US Army.
December 24th, 2009  
So kick the story. Some Jarhead steal your hot sauce, woobie, girl friend what?
December 25th, 2009  
Here's a link you might want to add. It's the Marine Corps Legacy Museum, located here in Harrison, Arkansas, about 20 miles south of the Missouri state line.
January 13th, 2011  
hey, that was some very good info. but i already knew it all... i'm 15, and i cant wait to join the Marine Corps when I turn 17... i'm already very fit, and i study martial arts, and parkour, but i was wondering if anyone had any tips for would really help me out, thanks
July 18th, 2012  

According to the Marine Corps publication, Marines in the Mexican War(downloadable as a pdf file), Soldiers, not Marines were the troops who assaulted and captured Chapultepec.

The ground campaign to capture Derne on the Shores of Tripoli was the brain child of former Army officer, Colonel William Eaton who planned, organized and led the expedition, which was carried out by 500 mercenaries and 8 Marines. If not for this former Army officer, the Marines would have had no shores of Tripoli to sing about.

The claim of First to Fight is a claim to have been the first Armed Force to fight in defense of the United States. That is not true.

It is not the only spurious claim made on behalf of the Marine Corps.

Marines claim that a company of Marines held off the British Army at Bladensburg. The Marines were attached to a force of about 500 sailors led by Commodore Joshua Barney. When Admiral George Cockburn said, They have given us the only fighting we have had today, he was referring to Commodore Barney's sailors, not the Marines. Google the term "Commodore Barney at the Bladensburg races.


"The BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS: In January of 1815, Marines under the command of General Andrew Jackson soundly defeated British Forces that were attacking the city of New Orleans. The British lost approximately 2,000 men while American losses were less than 100."


Out of 8400 men on the American side, 58 were US Marines.
July 18th, 2012  
What's your freakin point? Okay I'm sorry a Marine stole your girlfriend it happens, girls tend to be more attracted to manly men and not metro's, life is hard, it's harder when you highlight your hair and wear mascara.

So place your feet shoulder width apart and jump up and down until the sand falls out.
July 23rd, 2012  
Originally Posted by axxe
hey, that was some very good info. but i already knew it all... i'm 15, and i cant wait to join the Marine Corps when I turn 17... i'm already very fit, and i study martial arts, and parkour, but i was wondering if anyone had any tips for would really help me out, thanks

Future hard charger:

I was a Drill Instructor in 1982 and again in 1986. Your martial arts skills should strengthen your Cardio for the Camp Pendleton Mountains. Especially a real sweet one named "Mount Mom__Fkr".

Mental discipline. Put a back pack on your back with approximately 50 pounds of weight and walk ten miles on a flat surface. When you can do that under 4 hours, find some Mountains.

Now that your getting through some basics, start waking up at 5:00 am and going to bed by 10:00.

Your Local Marine Recruiter will have more Up To Date information and booklets, but Mental Discipline is just as important if not more than Physical Discipline.

The Internet is so powerful these days.

You can research Marine Bootcamp Daily 7's, 12's and whatever they're doing now! ha.


Parkour is ***** GREAT ***** I'm 52 and started it two years ago. No broken bones yet, but DAMMMMMMM it's rougher now than when I was 22 and 26. L.O.L.

B. Nelms
1stSgt, Retired