Esprit de Corps
"That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one colonel, two lieutenant colonels, two majors and 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 person be appointed to office or enlisted into said battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea."
(Resolution of the Continental Congress, 10 November 1775.)
November 10 marks the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. On this day in 1775, the Continental Congress passed a resolution calling for the creation of two battalions of Marines to serve the new nation.
Each year in Marine posts throughout the world, traditions such as the birthday ball and the cutting of birthday cake continue, bonding generations of warriors together as they celebrate their shared brotherhood.
These fighting men and women are an elite group, and well they know it! Throughout their history they have been given the specialized and often dirty jobs deemed necessary to win wars. From clashes with Barbary Pirates to the special ops of today, they have gloried in their victories and stuck out the rough times in between. When times of war are upon us, the Marines can be counted on to play key roles in the fighting.
Learn more about the fascinating history of the Marine Corps in the library and on the Internet.
In the Library
Alexander, Joseph H. A Fellowship of Valor: The Battle History of the United States Marines.
"U. S. Marines have appropriated the term esprit de corps as their own--their esprit, their Corps. The personal ties between a Marine and his Corps are strong. Marines believe in their Corps. They also believe that they are the best. They insist that the "M" in "Marine" be capitalized. The highest accolade they can bestow on a member of another service is 'He would make a good Marine.'" (book excerpt)
Clancy, Tom. Marine: A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Read about the Marines' fighting spirit and weaponry. Clancy goes inside a seaborne emergency response team used in both peace-keeping and warfare.
Clark, George B. Devil Dogs: Fighting Marines of World War I.
The Germans called the Marines teufelhunden or devil dogs for their invincible spirit in France. At Belleau Wood, Soissons and Mont Blanc, they fought alongside the regular army, ultimately uprooting their enemies from trenches, tunnels and caves.
Gamble, Bruce. The Black Sheep: The Definitive Account of Marine Fighting Squadron 214 in World War II.
Before they were the Black Sheep Squadron, the 214 was a group of recruits known as the Swashbucklers. Gamble, a retired naval officer, gives the complete history of the unit in World War II including the Pappy Boyington years that inspired the hit television series Baa Baa Black Sheep.
Hammel, Eric M. Chosin: A Heroic Ordeal of the Korean War.
During the freezing winter of 1950-51, the Chinese surreptitiously brought an entire field army down the mountainous center of Korea and assembled in the rear of the American forces on Korea's east coast, cutting off their supplies and line of retreat while other Chinese formations attacked them from the front. The Marines were forced to retreat down the Korean coast through the Chinese blocking units. In fact, it was not a retreat at all, but an attack toward the rear, trying to bash through the Chinese and get clear.
Mackin, Elton E. Suddenly We Didn't Want to Die: Memoirs of a World War I Marine.
"Slim" Mackin joined his unit as a raw recruit at Belleau Wood in 1918 and stayed on until the end of the war. He volunteered for the hazardous duty of being a runner, carrying messages and directing new troops to the front lines. He tells his story as an ordinary rifleman in an extraordinary situation.
Ricks, Thomas E. Making the Corps.
What does it take to be a marine? Ricks follows a platoon of recruits through eleven weeks of boot camp at Parris Island and examines what goes into the creation of a military elite.
Sledge, E. B. With the Old Breed, at Peleliu and Okinawa.
From the barren coral rock of Peleliu to the muck and mud of Okinawa, Sledge was there, at the carnage and its aftermath.
On the Web
First Offensive: The Marine Campaign for Guadalcanal
"In the early summer of 1942, intelligence reports of the construction of a Japanese airfield near Lunga Point on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands triggered a demand for offensive action in the South Pacific." Maps, photographs and text accompany this 50th Anniversary USMC commemorative site.
Marine Corps Lore
Why are the Marines called Leathernecks? What about the buried treasure forgotten since 1814 near the Washington, D.C. barracks? And who was the legendary first woman Marine who fought disguised as a man in the War of 1812? Learn the answers to these questions and more on the lore and traditions of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The National Museum of the Marine Corps
"The National Museum of the Marine Corps is a lasting tribute to U.S. Marines — past, present, and future. Situated on a 135-acre site adjacent to the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, the Museum’s soaring design evokes the image of the flag-raisers of Iwo Jima and beckons visitors to its 118,000-square-foot structure. World-class interactive exhibits using the most innovative technology will surround visitors with irreplaceable artifacts and immerse them in the sights and sounds of Marines in action."
The Navajo Code Talkers
In World War II, the Marine Corps recruited Navajos to their ranks to act as code talkers, enabling the United States to quickly and accurately relay messages that were indiscernable to enemy spies. This is part of their story.
Small Unit Action in Vietnam, Summer 1966
Originally printed in 1967, this official publication is a very readable and yet historically accurate war story which teaches lessons in sound military tactics.
United States Marine Corps History and Museums Division
A site that features a do-it-yourself oral history primer, a who's who of the Marine Corps and much more historical information.