This week I decided to go with an entry with a little more historical significance. I’m sure that some of you are thinking after reading that first line, are thinking it is going to be about Veteran’s Day. That is a good thought, However it is not about the historical event. While we are on the topic Happy Veteran’s Day to all that have served our fine country, your sacrifices will never be forgotten. For further on this topic check out my blog entry Thank A Veteran
Today’s post is going to be about an important date that occurred on the 10th of November in the year 1775. For those that don’t know that is the date the United States Marine Corps. was born. To this day it is celebrated on this date worldwide, with festivities, the Marine Corps. Ball, and of course a cake cutting ceremony. It is true that these events vary from base to base and location to location. Even in times of conflict the forward deployed Marines take time to remember their birthday. Let’s take a look back at where this elite group of fighting men hale from.
It all started with the Second Continental Congress on the 9th of November when they approached the Naval Committee sending an amphibious expedition to Nova Scotia. With this the Naval Committee was directed to raise two battalions of Marines at a continental expense. Borrowing practices from the British Royal Navy printed outlines instructions were written called “Rules for the Regulations of the Navy of the United Colonies.” In this the marines were going to take on the same responsibilities as British Marines.
The first officer to be commissioned was Captain Samuel Nicholas on the 28th of November. His commission was based on his leadership of two local fox hunting and fishing clubs, as well as his family’s successful running of the tavern Conestoga Waggon. There was rumor that he was using this tavern to unofficially recruit future Marines. Though the official first recruitment station and often considered the birth place of the Marines was the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia.
Robert Mullen who was later commissioned as a Captain was the son of the proprietor of the Tun tavern. Captain Mullen and fellow officers would make their way around the country side recruiting from local and other hot spots for working class men. With his duties for recruitment Captain Mullen’s became known as the first Marine Recruiter.
Prior to September of 1776 Marines did not officially have a uniform. It was at this point regulations outlines that Marines would wear a short green with white trim facings and had a high leather collar to protect from slashes from a cutlass; this is where they got the nickname Leather Necks. This uniform helped to separate and easily identify them as compared to the Blue the Army and Navy wore.
As with the Navy the Marines were disbanded after the revolution in 1783. It wasn’t until 1798 where the Marine Corps. was reestablished. This was done due to the harassment from the French Navy on U.S. Shipping. This was made possible by President John Adams and the signing of “Act for Establishing and Organizing a Marine Corps.” William Ward Burrows was appointed a Major, with him he brought from his inheritance of a stock of blue uniforms with red trim, this became the basis for the modern Blue Dress Uniforms.
Early on in their existence the Marines proved them self’s. During the First Barbary war the Marines had one of their first famous actions when they attempted to capture Tripoli and free the crew of the USS Philadelphia. In the War 1812 Marines got a reputation of marksmen especially during ship to ship action, the British so respected them that when they burnt Washington they saved the barracks from destruction. Then during the Mexican-American War the Marines stormed and captured the Chapultepec Castle also known as the Halls of Montezuma.
Several of these events have been immortalized in Marine Corps. tradition. For instance the attempt at Tripoli and the battle for the Halls of Montezuma, are both forever imbedded in the Marine Hymn. Also in remembrance of the Halls of Montezuma there is a blood stripe on the outside trouser leg. This is to symbolize all the Marines killed in this battle.
To this day the Marines remain an excellent military machine. There operations have changed slightly since there inception with a core mission of land and see defense with a focus on amphibious operations. As a division of the Navy the Marines are actually the smallest uniformed branch of the U.S. military. Which makes there slogan fit all that much better “The Few the Proud”.
So today if you see or know a Marine wish them a Happy Birthday. To all my Marine friends out there Happy Birthday and as always Semper Fidelis.