Some people work an entire lifetime and wonder if they ever made a difference to the world. But the Marines don’t have that problem.
President Ronald Reagan, letter to Lance Corporal Joe Hickey, September 23, 1983
On November 10, 1775 the Continental Congress passed this resolution authored by John Adams:
“Resolved, 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 with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no persons 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 with advantage by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present War with Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress; that they be distinguished by names of First and Second Battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the Continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.”
The Marines wasted no time in demonstrating that their specialty would be amphibious assault. Under Captain Samuel Nicholas, 210 Marines seized the port of Nassau in the West Indies on March 3-4, 1776, capturing badly needed supplies. Nicholas would command the Marines throughout the Revolutionary War and is regarded as the first Commandant of the Marine Corps. Under Nicholas, ironically a Quaker, the Marines established the traditions of valor, resourcefulness and daring that have ever been the hallmark of the United States Marine Corps.
You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced, to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth – and the amusing thing about it is that they are…You should see the group about me as I write- dirty, bearded, their clothing food-spattered and filthy- they look like the castoffs of creation. Yet they have a sense of loyalty, generosity, even piety greater than any men I have ever known. These rugged men have the simple piety of children. You can’t help loving them, in spite of their language and their loose sense of private property. Don’t ever feel sorry for a priest in the Marines. The last eight weeks have been the happiest and most contented in my life.
Father Kevin Keaney, 1st MarDiv Chaplain, Korean War