One of the most established and respected groups in the history of the U.S. military, the Marine Corps has prided itself on its dedication to the nation and protecting its freedoms in every major US conflict.
Since their inception nearly 250 years ago, the Marines have been a crucial influence in turning the tides of war and helping create the face of the military today.
Creation and Early History
Officially created on November 10, 1775, the first two Marine Corps groups were formed by the Continental Congress for the purpose of fighting the British on both land and sea.
The current Marine Corps uniform still takes from the early uniform in 1798 when they switched from a green jacket to the dark blue. It wasn’t until 1841 that the infamous navy blue jacket and light blue pants would be created, gaining the nickname “Leatherneck” today from the original green jackets debuted in 1776.
The Marine Corps has a long history of a sea-based foundation; one of the reasons they changed their jackets to blue in 1798.
In 1776, this group saw that first sea battle on Fort Nassau in the Bahamas as 234 Marines under the leadership of Captain Samuel Nicholas attacked the British base and led to a quick and easy surrender from the redcoats.
Conquests in the 1800s
The smallest group of the military in the 1800s, the Marine Corps had a huge influence during this century and established one of their most famous symbols: the Mameluke Sword.
Presented to Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon in 1805 by the ruler of Tripoli following help from the Marine Corps troops, the sword now serves as the oldest ceremonial piece in the history of the United States military.
The decade of the Civil War in the 1860s would see the Marines hit their peak of enlistment at the time with over 2384 total Marines by the end of the decade.
The Civil War saw the first Medal of Honor awarded to a Marine as Corporal John F. Mackie received the prestigious award for his bravery during the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff in 1862.
Growth in the World Wars
The 20th century brought the most growth to this prestigious group as the time during the first World War saw an additional 35000 Marines join the corps.
With the creation of Marine Corps aviation, this group would help the progress of aeronautical battle as well as preparing machines for the ground.
Numerous brave men surfaced during this war including Sergeant Major Don Daly who received two Medals of Honor during his brave service in 1900 and 1915.
WWII saw great achievements for the corps in diversity, communications, and machinery.
With the first African-American recruits being sworn in, secret communications being made successful, and the first water/land vehicle being created, this was an incredibly important time for the Marines.
Vietnam to Now
From combining forces in Vietnam, to leading the very first attacks on Afghanistan soil following the attacks on September 11, 2001, the Marines have had some of the most important influences on the world today.
With such a strong group as a part of the military, we can all feel safe about our freedoms. Support the Marine you love by flying the U.S. Marine Corps flag.
We completed the series. So you can enjoy all parts of our Military Branch History Series.
Military Branch History Series
Military Branch History Part 1: The Army
Military Branch History Part 2: The Navy
Military Branch History Part 3: Air Force
Military Branch History Part 4: Marine Corps
Military Branch History Part 5: Coast Guard