November 10, 2003

PROUD FEW (via ef brown):

Marine Corps Celebrates 228th Anniversary (Marine Corps News, November 4, 2003)

November 10, 1775: a date all U.S. Marines are familiar with. This year marks the Corps' 228th anniversary, and whether they're manning far-flung posts or accomplishing stateside duties, all Marines will find ways to celebrate. [...]

Formal commemoration of the birthday of the Marine Corps began Nov. 10, 1921. That particular date was chosen because on that day the Second Continental Congress resolved in 1775 to raise two battalions of Continental Marines.

Until 1921, the birthday of the Corps had been celebrated on another date. An unidentified newspaper clipping from 1918 refers to the celebration of the 120th birthday of the Marine Corps on July 11 "as usual with no fuss." It is doubtful that there was any real celebration at all. Further inspection of documents and publications prior to 1921 shows no evidence of ceremonies, pageants, or parties. The July date was commemorated between 1798 and 1921 as the birthday of the Corps. During the Revolution, Marines had fought on land and sea, but at the close of that conflict, the Corps and the Navy were all but disbanded. On July 11, 1798, President John Adams approved a bill that recreated the Corps, thereby providing the rationale for this day being commemorated as the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.

On Oct. 21, 1921, Maj. Edwin McClellan of the Corps' historical branch, sent a memorandum to then Commandant Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune, suggesting that the original birthday on November 10, 1775 be declared a Marine Corps holiday to be celebrated throughout the Corps. McClellan further suggested that a dinner be held in Washington to commemorate the event. Guests would include prominent men from the Marine Corps, Army, and Navy, and descendants of the Revolution.

Accordingly, on Nov. 1, 1921, Lejeune issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921. The order summarized the history, mission, and tradition of the Corps, and directed that it be read to every command on Nov. 10 each subsequent year in honor of the birthday of the Marine Corps. This order has been duly carried out.

The uniqueness of the Marine spirit was never more apparent than in the recent Stars & Stripes survey of troop morale in Iraq:
The morale results diverged markedly between different types of troops. Nearly 50 percent of part-time reservists and National Guard ranked their morale as "low" or "very low," compared with one third of regular Army troops, 14 percent of Marines, and just 6 percent of the few Air Force personnel who were surveyed.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 10, 2003 2:54 PM

I was greatly amused by a line from the report of a BBC reporter just prior to the invasion of Iraq:

"The Marines' enthusiasm was remarkable, even for Americans."

Posted by: Mike Earl at November 10, 2003 3:40 PM

The Marines aren't deployed in the Sunni triangle, which must be part of the reason why their morale is comparatively high.

Posted by: Peter Caress at November 10, 2003 4:20 PM

Geez, Peter, you're sounding French these days.

Posted by: oj at November 10, 2003 4:34 PM

Yours is a fair observation. Perhaps they should have been but it apparently wasn't seen as their mission. They essentially were withdrawn to be available for any surprises worldwide, as I see it, but they'll be returning. They are our mobile, vertically integrated, seaborne armed force. The Army is more capable for inland occupational duties.

Well beyond their logistic capability in Bagdhad, 300 miles from the sea, their amphib. tracks were worn out from that long trip in the sand.

Posted by: Genecis at November 11, 2003 12:48 PM

Happy birthday Marines!! Ooooh-raaahh!!!

I was an active duty Marine for 3 1/2 years, and I can tell you that if it were up to them, they would be in the triangle right now.

Lt Gen Conway, the commander of the 1st MEF in Iraq, was my Company Commander at the Basic School (he was a Captain then). I would follow that man anywhere!

Semper Fi!

Posted by: Robert D at November 11, 2003 1:25 PM


On the contrary; this is exactly the sort of work that the Marines spent the first half of the twentieth century doing (eg, the Phillipines), though I don't know that they have the manpower to handle Iraq.

Posted by: Mike Earl at November 12, 2003 10:38 AM

The disparity in morale numbers is no surprise: Of course reservists, wrenched from civilian life, will be more unhappy; Of course the Air Force, with their cushy billets, will be happier than the grunts.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at November 13, 2003 9:27 AM