Saturday, November 10, 2007

1,2,3,4 Happy Birthday Marine Corps

"November 10th, 1775; By act of this second continental congress assembled... ...let it be directed that two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one Colonel, two Lieutenant-Colonels, two Majors, and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of Privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to offices, or enlisted into said battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present war with Great Britain and the Colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress; that they be distinguished by the names of the First and Second Battalion of Marines."

With that act, the second continental congress appointed Captain Samuel Nicholas the first Captain of Continental Marines; founding what would become the United States Marine Corps. In fact, Capt. Nicholas was the first officially comissioned officer of the nascent nation (prior serving officers held their original commissions, and were not re-comissioned into service of the continental congress until after September of 1776).

Nearly 30 years later, on April 27th, 1805 (my birthday in fact), the legend of the Marine Corps was cemented, when Lieutenant Presley T. O'Bannon recieved the Mameluke sword of Hamet Karmanli, the Bey of Tripoli, after a successful storming action at the battle of Derna; the first land battle for U.S. forces on foreign soil (an ultimately unsuccessful action to restore the Turkish Bey to the throne he had been deposed from).

To this day, all Marine officers carry the Mameluke sword; and to this day the United States Marine Corps are chartered to be the first boots on the ground, in harms way, from the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli.

For all I make fun of them (and god knows I do), and for all their ooh-rah sometimes irritates me, I love Marines. D'you know why? Because they well and truly believe in five words:

Semper Fidelis


Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

Let me tell you something; with the belief in those five words, a motivated individual can do anything humanly possible, and some things that just shouldn't be; and a motivated team can do even more than that.

The Marine Corps Hymn

From the Halls of Montezuma
to the Shores of Tripoli,
We fight our country's battles
On the land as on the sea.
First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean,
We are proud to claim the title
of United States Marine.

Our flag's unfurl'd to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun.
In the snow of far-off northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job
The 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.