Happy Birthday

to all of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children! (aka the US Marine Corps)

Founded on this day in 1775 by an act of Congress, the Continental (now United States) Marines began recruiting in likely spots around the capital, then Philadelphia. Tun’s Tavern served as the first recruiting office, appropriate for Naval infantry, and thus the legend began.

Marines, originally marksmen and infantry assigned to ships to serve as boarding parties, security, and to enforce discipline, date back to ancient Rome, although not as dedicated ship-based troopers. Roman “marines” were soldiers on ships, not specially trained and assigned ship-based infantry.

In 1664 the Royal Marines, direct inspiration for the Continental Marines, came into being a part of the Royal Navy. The two groups have had a (mostly) friendly rivalry since 1800 or so.  The original US Marines were tasked solely with guarding US Navy ships during the (then) ongoing war. To no current reader’s surprise, mission creep crept in and Marines began taking on more and more roles. Today, the USMC is the largest marine branch in the world (the Russians might argue, or they might not. Ditto the PLA in China), with a variety of specialties and tasks.

Dad Red served as a medical officer assigned to the USMC, which is what happens when you sign up for the Navy on the grounds that 1) there’s no marching and 2) the food goes with you. (Your humble author has been known to make similar assumptions, with similarly exciting outcomes).

Happy Birthday, USMC, “from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.”


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