The official birthday of the United States Marine Corps is on 10 November 1775. That was the day when the Second Continental Congress established the Continental Marines with the following decree: “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 as 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 for and during the present war with Great Britain and the Colonies; unless dismissed by Congress; that they be distinguished by the names of the First and Second Battalions of Marines.”
Each year on or around 10 November, Marines gather in groups large and small to celebrate our history, honor the memory of those who have gone before us, and rekindle the bond that unites all generations of Marines. This year, we mark the 241st anniversary of our Corps—241 years of uncommon valor, innovation, and combat excellence.
Marines, we are part of something bigger than any of us could imagine. Whether you fought in the battles of World War I, in the Pacific during World War II, in Korea or Vietnam, in Desert Shield or Desert Storm, or in the streets of Iraq and Afghanistan—or you are just starting out on your Marine Corps journey—we are all part of an elite family of warriors. For the rest of your life, the first term people use to describe you will be “Marine.”
When the Continental Congress stood up two battalions of Marines in 1775, a culture of discipline, vigilance, professionalism, and military excellence was born that has characterized our Corps for nearly two and a half centuries. As Marines, we have a profound respect for our traditions and heritage, and for taking care of each other. We know we’re strongest when we’re together as a team. Wherever you are celebrating our Corps’ birthday this year, look around at the Marines beside you and remember the bonds forged in training, in garrison, and in combat. Take this time to reconnect.
We are Marines for life. It’s our responsibility, our duty, to maintain and build upon the legacy of those who have gone before us. What we do today, guided by what we’ve learned from past generations, will determine the future of our Corps. So as we celebrate this 241st anniversary of our Corps, we also look ahead and prepare for our next success. Take pride in carrying our legacy forward.
Happy Birthday, Marines!
Robert B. Neller General, U.S. Marine Corps Commandant of the Marine Corps
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