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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Marine Corps Birthday, November 10, 1775

Today is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. This elite group is the smallest branch of the U.S. military; this is by design. The size of the Corps makes it an incredibly fast-reacting and flexible fighting force. Historically, the Marines handled missions such as seaborne invasions. Now, they are trained to operate in any environment regardless of location.

The Marine Corps was born during the first year of the American Revolution when the Continental Congress passed a resolution ordering two battalions of Marines to be created for use as landing forces. They were called the Continental Marines.

The first Marine amphibious landing took place in the Bahamas in March, 1776. Led by Captain Samuel Nicholas, the first commissioned officer in the Marines, a force of leathernecks captured New Province Island from the British. Nicholas is considered the first commandant of the Marine Corps.

At the end of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Navy, and thus the Continental Marines, were demobilized. But as is so often the case, peace did not last. On July 11, 1798, President John Adams signed a bill creating the Marine Corps as a permanent force under the command of the Department of the Navy. Since then, the Marines have fought against the Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean, Mexicans in their capital city, their own countrymen during the Civil War, the Germans during World War One, the Japanese during World War Two, North Koreans, North Vietnamese and Iraqis, just to name a few.

Today, the Marine Corps consists of over 200,000 active duty and reserve personnel. They have their own infantry, air force, artillery and tanks. A Marine Corps Expeditionary Unit is a completely self-contained force and can be anywhere in the world in two weeks.

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