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Significant Events in Marine Corps History

"All in the Day's Work" Enlist in the United States Marine Corps for Interesting Duty - Land, Sea, or Sky.

"All in the Day's Work" Enlist in the United States Marine Corps for Interesting Duty - Land, Sea, or Sky. World War 1 U.S. Marines Recruitment Poster Showing Recruits Engaged in Various Activities at a Marine Corps Training Camp. Library of Congress # 00651862. GGA Image ID # 19a39a0b14

Significant Events in Marine Corps History from 1775 when the Marine Corps was created, through Operation Desert Storm launched against the Iraqi government in 1991.

1775 - The Marine Corps was created on 10 November 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Tun Tavern by a resolution of the Continental Congress, which "raised two battalions of Marines". Captain Samuel Nicholas became the commander of the two battalions and is traditional considered the first commandant of the Marine Corps.

1776 - The first Marine landing took place during the Revolutionary War. Marine invaded New Providence Island in the Bahamas and seized guns and supplies. The uniform of the day had a stiff leather stock that was worn around the neck, thus the nickname "Leatherneck".

1798 - Congress recreated the Marine Corps as a separate military service.

1805 - Marines stormed the Barbary pirates' stronghold at Derna on the "Shores of Tripoli." Marines raised the "Stars and Stripes" for the first time in the Eastern Hemisphere.

1834 - The Marines came under the department of the Navy.

1847 - During the Mexican War, Marines occupied the "Halls of Montezuma" during the Battle of Chapultepec in the Mexico City. The royal palace fell to invading Marines, who were among the first United States troops to enter the capital. Marines also helped take California.

1859 - Under the command of Colonel Robert E. Lee, U. S. Army, Marines stormed the United States arsenal at Harper's Ferry to put down an attempted slave revolt lead by abolitionist John Brown.

1861 - Marines saw limited action during the Civil War. Due to resignations, an aging officer corps, and inadequate personnel, effectiveness was hindered. Marines served primarily with Naval detachments at sea manning ships gun, rarely conducting operations.

1868 - The Marine Corps adopted an emblem that consisted of an eagle, a globe, and an anchor. Brigadier General Jacob Zelin, 7th Commandant, Modified the British (Royal) Marine emblem to depict the Marines as both American and Maritime. The globe and anchor signify worldwide service and sea traditions. The spread eagle is a symbol of the Nation itself.

1883 - The official motto of the Marine Corps, "Semper Fidelis,"(Latin for "Always Faithful") was adopted. The phrase is more commonly heard as its abbreviation, "Semper Fi".

Landing Marines and burning fishing village at Guantanamo, June 10, 1898.

Landing Marines and burning fishing village at Guantanamo, June 10, 1898. Detroit Publishing Co. no. 021491. Library of Congress # 2016804832. GGA Image ID # 19a357b418

1898 - In response to a declaration of war against Spain, Marines conducted offensive operation in the Pacific and Cuba. Marine actions led to the establishment of several naval installations overseas.

China - Peking. American Legation/ Photograph shows U.S. Marines in formation on the grounds of the U.S. Legation, Beijing, China.

China - Peking. American Legation/ Photograph shows U.S. Marines in formation on the grounds of the U.S. Legation, Beijing, China. Library of Congress # 2006691451. GGA Image ID # 19a351dee6

1900 - In support of foreign policy, Marines from ships on the Asiatic station defended the American Legation in Peking, China during the Boxer Rebellion. The Marines were part of a multinational defense force that protected the Legation Quarter against attack. This small defense force held out against the Boxers until a relief force was able to reach Peking and end the rebellion.

1901- During the years 1901-1934, the Marine Corps was increasingly used to quell disturbances throughout the world. From the Far East to the Caribbean, Marines landed and put down insurrections, guarded and protected American lives and property, and restored order. Due to extensive use of Marines in various countries and locations in the Caribbean, these actions come to be known as the "Banana Wars".

Officers of the Marines Being Awarded the Navy Cross or the Navy Distinguised Service Medal 11 November 1920.

Officers of the Marines Being Awarded the Navy Cross or the Navy Distinguised Service Medal 11 November 1920. Photographs show (l to r) Charles L. McCawley, Logan Feland, Robert Henry Dunlap, Julius S. Terrill, Harry R. Lay (receiving medal), Frederick A. Barker, John A. Lejeune (giving medal), Bennet Puryear Jr., William F. Bevan, Littleton W.T. Waller Jr., Alfred A. Cunningham, unknown. Photograph by Harris & Ewing, Inc. Library of Congress # 2016885425. GGA Image ID # 19a31af705

1913 - The Marine Corps established its aviation unit. Marine Major Alfred A. Cunningham was the first pilot.

U.S. Marines - First to Fight in France for Freedom Enlist with the "Soldiers of the Sea".

U.S. Marines - First to Fight in France for Freedom Enlist with the "Soldiers of the Sea". World War 1 U.S. Marines Recruitment Poster Showing a Group of Marines Rushing into Battle Carrying the American Flag and the Flag of the Marine Corps. Reproduction of painting by F.C. Yohn. Library of Congress # 00652145. GGA Image ID # 19a300424b

1917 - Marines landed as part of the American force in France. Marines, participating in eight distinct operations, distinguished themselves and were awarded a number of decorations, among them the French Fourragere still worn by members of the 5th and 6th Marines.

1933- The Marine Corps was reorganized into the Fleet Marine Force, formally establishing the "command and administrative relations" between the Fleet and the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps Equipment Board was established at Quantico, Virginia, and Marines began to devote long hours to testing and developing materials for landing operations and expeditionary service.

Waiting to Enlist at Recruiting Headquarters, San Francisco, California, circa December 1941.

Waiting to Enlist at Recruiting Headquarters, San Francisco, California, circa December 1941. Photograph by John Collier, Jr. United States Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. Washington Division. Library of Congress # 2017821708. GGA Image ID # 19a2f83714

1941 - The United States was thrust into war following the devastating surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces. Marines defended against this attack and similar attacks throughout the Pacific during the opening states of the war. The Marine Corps was the principal force utilized by the allies in execution of a strategy of "island hopping" campaigns. The earlier development of amphibious doctrine proved to be invaluable in carrying out this strategy. The strength of the Marine Corps reached nearly 500,000 during World War II.

Korean Conflict. Men of the 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division, covering up behind rocks to shield themselves from exploding mortar shells, near the Hantan River in central Korea, 11 April 1951.

Korean Conflict. Men of the 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division, covering up behind rocks to shield themselves from exploding mortar shells, near the Hantan River in central Korea, 11 April 1951. Photo by the Signal Corps, U.S. Army. Library of Congress # 2003665461. GGA Image ID # 19a2f784e4

1950 - Conflict in Korea tested the Marine Corps combat readiness. The Marines responded to the attack by North Korean forces by quickly assembling the First Marine Provisional Brigade from the under strength 1 Marine Division. These Marines shipped out and were later used to rescue the crumbling Pusan Perimeter. Marine forces further displayed the combat readiness and versatility by making an amphibious landing over the seawalls at Inchon. Marine aviators flew helicopters for the first time in battle.

 

1958 - The Marine Corps completed reorganizing combat structure of its Fleet Marine Force. The Marines created units equipped to conduct landing operations in either atomic or non-atomic warfare. The Marine Corps had the ability for the Fleet to go where it was needed, to stay there, and to readily project it power as the cutting edge of sea power. This concept was put into use when Marines landed in Beirut, Lebanon at the request of the Lebanese government to support its army against internal strife. The Marines helped stabilize the situation and were withdrawn in a few months.

1965 - Marines landed in South Vietnam, which committed the Marine Corps to the longest war in history. Marines conducted numerous large-scale offensive operations throughout the course of the war, as well as participating in the pacification program designed to win the support of the local populace. Also, in response to an attempted coup of the local government, Marines landed in the Dominican Republic to evacuate and protect U. S. citizens. The Marines formed the core of a multinational force that quickly restored the peace.

1982 - Marines deployed to Lebanon as part of a multinational peacekeeping force in an effort to restore peace and order to this wartorn country. This action further displayed the Marine concept of a "Force in Readiness". On 23 Oct 1983, a suicide truck bomb attack on the headquarters building killed 241 Americans, 220 Marines, and wounded 70 others. The last Marine withdrew in July on 1984.

1983 - Following assassination of the Prime Minister and violent overthrow of the government of Grenada, Marines participated in Urgent Fury, a joint military operation in response to a request for intervention from neighboring Caribbean nations. The Marines' rapid response led to securing of the island and the safeguarding of hundreds of American citizens living there.

1989 -In response to the increasing unrest in Panama, the President of the United States ordered a joint military operation, Just Cause, to overthrow the military government of Panama headed by General Manuel Noriega. United States forces, including Marines, accomplished this mission and installed a civilian government. This same government had been denied office after free elections were illegally declared invalid by Noriega's government. General Noriega, under indictment in the United States for drug trafficking and racketeering, was arrested and sent to the United States for trial.

1990 - Following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi forces, Operation Desert Shield was launched. This joint military operation was designed to halt the advance of Iraqi forces and to position multinational forces assembled for possible offensive operations to expel the invading force. This operation validated the Marine Corps Maritime Prepositioning force (MPF) concept and enacted the plan of tailoring units to accomplish a mission as part of a Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF).

1991 - Operation Desert Storm was launched after the Iraqi government refused to comply with United Nations resolutions. Marine aviation was heavily used when the air phase commenced in January of 1991. When massive bombing failed to dislodge Iraqi forces, Marine ground forces swept into Kuwait and liberated the country, causing server damage to the Iraqi military capability. Operation Desert Storm was the first ground engagement with Iraqi force in the Persian Gulf.

"Signficant Events in Marine Corps History," in RP 0105 - USMC History and Traditions, pp. 1-5

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