United States Marine Corps

United States Marine Corps

Overview
The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States Armed Forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 responsible for providing power projection
Power projection
Power projection is a term used in military and political science to refer to the capacity of a state to conduct expeditionary warfare, i.e. to intimidate other nations and implement policy by means of force, or the threat thereof, in an area distant from its own territory.This ability is a...

 from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 to deliver combined-arms task forces
Marine Air-Ground Task Force
The Marine Air-Ground Task Force is a term used by the United States Marine Corps to describe the principal organization for all missions across the range of military operations. MAGTFs are a balanced air-ground, combined arms task organization of Marine Corps forces under a single commander that...

 rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States
Uniformed services of the United States
The United States has seven federal uniformed services that commission officers as defined by Title 10, and subsequently structured and organized by Title 10, Title 14, Title 33 and Title 42 of the United States Code.-Uniformed services:...

. In the civilian leadership structure of the United States military, the Marine Corps is a component of the United States Department of the Navy
United States Department of the Navy
The Department of the Navy of the United States of America was established by an Act of Congress on 30 April 1798, to provide a government organizational structure to the United States Navy and, from 1834 onwards, for the United States Marine Corps, and when directed by the President, of the...

, often working closely with U.S. naval forces
United States Navy operating forces organization
The structure of the United States Navy consists of four main bodies: the Office of the Secretary of the Navy, the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, the operating forces , and the Shore Establishment....

 for training, transportation, and logistic purposes; however, in the military leadership structure the Marine Corps is a separate branch.

Captain Samuel Nicholas
Samuel Nicholas
Samuel Nicholas was the first officer commissioned in the United States Continental Marines and by tradition is considered to be the first Commandant of the Marine Corps.-Early life:...

 formed two battalions of Continental Marines
Continental Marines
The Continental Marines were the Marine force of the American Colonies during the American Revolutionary War. The corps was formed by the Continental Congress on November 10, 1775 and was disbanded in 1783. Their mission was multi-purpose, but their most important duty was to serve as on-board...

 on 10 November 1775 in Philadelphia as naval infantry.
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Encyclopedia
The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States Armed Forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 responsible for providing power projection
Power projection
Power projection is a term used in military and political science to refer to the capacity of a state to conduct expeditionary warfare, i.e. to intimidate other nations and implement policy by means of force, or the threat thereof, in an area distant from its own territory.This ability is a...

 from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 to deliver combined-arms task forces
Marine Air-Ground Task Force
The Marine Air-Ground Task Force is a term used by the United States Marine Corps to describe the principal organization for all missions across the range of military operations. MAGTFs are a balanced air-ground, combined arms task organization of Marine Corps forces under a single commander that...

 rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States
Uniformed services of the United States
The United States has seven federal uniformed services that commission officers as defined by Title 10, and subsequently structured and organized by Title 10, Title 14, Title 33 and Title 42 of the United States Code.-Uniformed services:...

. In the civilian leadership structure of the United States military, the Marine Corps is a component of the United States Department of the Navy
United States Department of the Navy
The Department of the Navy of the United States of America was established by an Act of Congress on 30 April 1798, to provide a government organizational structure to the United States Navy and, from 1834 onwards, for the United States Marine Corps, and when directed by the President, of the...

, often working closely with U.S. naval forces
United States Navy operating forces organization
The structure of the United States Navy consists of four main bodies: the Office of the Secretary of the Navy, the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, the operating forces , and the Shore Establishment....

 for training, transportation, and logistic purposes; however, in the military leadership structure the Marine Corps is a separate branch.

Captain Samuel Nicholas
Samuel Nicholas
Samuel Nicholas was the first officer commissioned in the United States Continental Marines and by tradition is considered to be the first Commandant of the Marine Corps.-Early life:...

 formed two battalions of Continental Marines
Continental Marines
The Continental Marines were the Marine force of the American Colonies during the American Revolutionary War. The corps was formed by the Continental Congress on November 10, 1775 and was disbanded in 1783. Their mission was multi-purpose, but their most important duty was to serve as on-board...

 on 10 November 1775 in Philadelphia as naval infantry. Since then, the mission of the Marine Corps has evolved with changing military doctrine
Military doctrine
Military doctrine is the concise expression of how military forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements.It is a guide to action, not hard and fast rules. Doctrine provides a common frame of reference across the military...

 and American foreign policy. The Marine Corps has served in every American armed conflict
Military history of the United States
The military history of the United States spans a period of over two centuries. During the course of those years, the United States evolved from a new nation fighting the British Empire for independence without a professional military , through a monumental American Civil War to the world's sole...

 and attained prominence in the 20th century when its theories and practices of amphibious warfare proved prescient and ultimately formed the cornerstone of the Pacific campaign
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. By the mid-20th century, the Marine Corps had become the dominant theorist and practitioner of amphibious warfare. Its ability to rapidly respond
Rapid Deployment Force
A rapid deployment force is a military formation capable of quick deployment of its forces. Such forces typically consist of elite military units and may receive priority in equipment and training to prepare them for their mission....

 on short notice to expeditionary crises
Expeditionary warfare
Expeditionary warfare is used to describe the organization of a state's military to fight abroad, especially when deployed to fight away from its established bases at home or abroad. Expeditionary forces were in part the antecedent of the modern concept of Rapid Deployment Forces...

 gives it a strong role in the implementation and execution of American foreign policy.

The United States Marine Corps includes just under 203,000 active duty Marines and just under 40,000 reserve Marines
United States Marine Corps Reserve
The Marine Forces Reserve is the reserve force of the United States Marine Corps. It is the largest command in the U.S...

 . It is the smallest of the United States' armed forces in the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 (the United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

 is smaller, about one-fifth the size of the Marine Corps, but is normally under the Department of Homeland Security
United States Department of Homeland Security
The United States Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet department of the United States federal government, created in response to the September 11 attacks, and with the primary responsibilities of protecting the territory of the United States and protectorates from and responding to...

). The Marine Corps is nonetheless larger than the armed forces of many significant military powers; for example, it is larger than the active duty Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 and the active duty British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

.

The Marine Corps accounts for around six percent of the military budget of the United States
Military budget of the United States
The military budget is that portion of the United States discretionary federal budget that is allocated to the Department of Defense, or more broadly, the portion of the budget that goes to any defense-related expenditures...

. The cost per Marine is $20,000 less than the cost of a serviceman from the other services, and the entire force can be used for both hybrid
Hybrid Warfare
Hybrid warfare is a military strategy that blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare. In addition, hybrid warfare is used to describe attacks by nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, improvised explosive devices and information warfare. This approach to conflicts, is a...

 and major combat operations; that is, the Marines cover the entire Three Block War
Three Block War
The Three Block War is a concept described by U.S. Marine General Charles Krulak in the late 1990s to illustrate the complex spectrum of challenges likely to be faced by soldiers on the modern battlefield. In Krulak's example, soldiers may be required to conduct full scale military action,...

. However, these per capita
Per capita
Per capita is a Latin prepositional phrase: per and capita . The phrase thus means "by heads" or "for each head", i.e. per individual or per person...

 costs do not account for support provided by other branches, such as the Navy's amphibious warfare ships and the long range air transport of the USAF. However given expected defense budget cuts, the Marines may be the service best positioned for "fielding cheap options for an uncertain world." The Marine Corps budget is comparably well handled with a tiny fraction of the Anti-Deficiency Act
Anti-Deficiency Act
The Anti-Deficiency Act , , is legislation enacted by the United States Congress to prevent the incurring of obligations or the making of expenditures in excess of amounts available in appropriations or funds. It is now codified at...

 violations of any of the other three major branches.

Mission


The United States Marine Corps is a form of valor like no other. You are born a human, your never born a Marine. This is a title that is earned, never given. The USMC serves as an expeditionary force-in-readiness. As outlined in and as originally introduced under the National Security Act of 1947
National Security Act of 1947
The National Security Act of 1947 was signed by United States President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1947, and realigned and reorganized the U.S. Armed Forces, foreign policy, and Intelligence Community apparatus in the aftermath of World War II...

, it has three primary areas of responsibility:
  • The seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and other land operations to support naval campaigns
    Naval warfare
    Naval warfare is combat in and on seas, oceans, or any other major bodies of water such as large lakes and wide rivers.-History:Mankind has fought battles on the sea for more than 3,000 years. Land warfare would seem, initially, to be irrelevant and entirely removed from warfare on the open ocean,...

    ;
  • The development of tactics, technique, and equipment used by amphibious landing
    Amphibious warfare
    Amphibious warfare is the use of naval firepower, logistics and strategy to project military power ashore. In previous eras it stood as the primary method of delivering troops to non-contiguous enemy-held terrain...

     forces in coordination with the Army and Air Force; and
  • Such other duties as the President
    President of the United States
    The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

     may direct.


This last clause, while seemingly redundant given the President's position as Commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

, is a codification of the expeditionary
Expeditionary warfare
Expeditionary warfare is used to describe the organization of a state's military to fight abroad, especially when deployed to fight away from its established bases at home or abroad. Expeditionary forces were in part the antecedent of the modern concept of Rapid Deployment Forces...

 duties of the Marine Corps. It derives from similar language in the Congressional
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 acts "For the Better Organization of the Marine Corps" of 1834, and "Establishing and Organizing a Marine Corps" of 1798. In 1951, the House of Representatives'
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 Armed Services Committee
United States House Committee on Armed Services
thumb|United States House Committee on Armed Services emblemThe U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, commonly known as the House Armed Services Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives...

 called the clause "one of the most important statutory — and traditional — functions of the Marine Corps." It noted that the corps has more often than not performed actions of a non-naval nature, including its famous actions in Tripoli
First Barbary War
The First Barbary War , also known as the Barbary Coast War or the Tripolitan War, was the first of two wars fought between the United States and the North African Berber Muslim states known collectively as the Barbary States...

, the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

, Chapultepec
Battle of Chapultepec
The Battle of Chapultepec, in September 1847, was a United States victory over Mexican forces holding Chapultepec Castle west of Mexico City during the Mexican-American War.-Background:On September 13, 1847, in the costly Battle of Molino del Rey, U.S...

, and numerous counter-insurgency
Counter-insurgency
A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency taken up against it...

 and occupational duties (such as those in Central America), World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, and the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. While these actions are not accurately described as support of naval campaigns nor as amphibious warfare, their common thread is that they are of an expeditionary nature, using the mobility of the Navy to provide timely intervention in foreign affairs on behalf of American interests.

In addition to its primary duties, the Marine Corps has missions in direct support of the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 and the State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

. The Marine Band
United States Marine Band
The United States Marine Band is the premier band of the United States Marine Corps. Established by act of Congress on July 11, 1798, it is the oldest of the United States military bands and the oldest professional musical organization in the United States...

, dubbed the "President's Own" by Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, provides music for state functions at the White House. Marines guard presidential retreats, including Camp David
Camp David
Camp David is the country retreat of the President of the United States and his guests. It is located in low wooded hills about 60 mi north-northwest of Washington, D.C., on the property of Catoctin Mountain Park in unincorporated Frederick County, Maryland, near Thurmont, at an elevation of...

, and the Marines of the Executive Flight Detachment of HMX-1
HMX-1
Marine Helicopter Squadron One , is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron responsible for the transportation of the President of the United States, Vice President, Cabinet members and other VIPs...

 provide helicopter transport to the President and Vice President
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

, using the call signs "Marine One
Marine One
Marine One is the call sign of any United States Marine Corps aircraft carrying the President of the United States. It usually denotes a helicopter operated by the HMX-1 "Nighthawks" squadron, either the large VH-3D Sea King or the newer, smaller VH-60N "WhiteHawk", both due to be replaced by the...

" and "Marine Two" respectively. By authority of the 1946 Foreign Service Act, the Marine Security Guards of the Marine Embassy Security Command provide security for American embassies
Diplomatic mission
A diplomatic mission is a group of people from one state or an international inter-governmental organisation present in another state to represent the sending state/organisation in the receiving state...

, legation
Legation
A legation was the term used in diplomacy to denote a diplomatic representative office lower than an embassy. Where an embassy was headed by an Ambassador, a legation was headed by a Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary....

s, and consulates
Consul (representative)
The political title Consul is used for the official representatives of the government of one state in the territory of another, normally acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, and to facilitate trade and friendship between the peoples of the two countries...

 at more than 140 posts worldwide.

Historical mission


The Marine Corps was founded to serve as an infantry unit aboard naval vessels and was responsible for the security of the ship and its crew by conducting offensive and defensive combat during boarding actions
Boarding (attack)
Boarding, in its simplest sense, refers to the insertion on to a ship's deck of individuals. However, when it is classified as an attack, in most contexts, it refers to the forcible insertion of personnel that are not members of the crew by another party without the consent of the captain or crew...

 and defending the ship's officers from mutiny
Mutiny
Mutiny is a conspiracy among members of a group of similarly situated individuals to openly oppose, change or overthrow an authority to which they are subject...

; to the latter end, their quarters on ship were often strategically positioned between the officers' quarters and the rest of the vessel. Continental Marines manned raiding parties, both at sea and ashore. America's first amphibious assault landing occurred early in the Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 on 3 March 1776 as the Marines gained control of Fort Montague and Fort Nassau, a British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 ammunition depot and naval port in New Providence
New Providence
New Providence is the most populous island in the Bahamas, containing more than 70% of the total population. It also houses the national capital city, Nassau.The island was originally under Spanish control following Christopher Columbus' discovery of the New World, but the Spanish government showed...

, the Bahamas
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

. The role of the Marine Corps has expanded significantly since then; as the importance of its original naval mission declined with changing naval warfare doctrine and the professionalization of the naval service, the corps adapted by focusing on what was former secondary missions ashore. The Advanced Base Doctrine of the early 20th century codified their combat duties ashore, outlining the use of Marines in the seizure of bases and other duties on land to support naval campaigns.

Throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries, Marine detachments served aboard Navy cruisers, battleships and carriers. Marine detachments (generally one platoon per cruiser, a company for battleships or carriers) served their traditional duties as ship's landing force, manning the ship's weapons and providing shipboard security. Marine detachments were augmented by members of the ship's company for landing parties, especially in the Caribbean and Mexican campaigns of the early 20th centuries. Marines would develop tactics and techniques of amphibious assault on defended coastlines in time for use in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. During World War II, Marines continued to serve on capital ships. They often were assigned to man anti-aircraft batteries. When gun cruisers were retired by the 1960s, the remaining Marine detachments were only seen on battleships and carriers. Its original mission of providing shipboard security finally ended in the 1990s when nuclear weapons were withdrawn from active deployment and the battleships were retired.

Capabilities


The Marine Corps fulfills a vital role in national security as an amphibious
Amphibious warfare
Amphibious warfare is the use of naval firepower, logistics and strategy to project military power ashore. In previous eras it stood as the primary method of delivering troops to non-contiguous enemy-held terrain...

, expeditionary
Expeditionary warfare
Expeditionary warfare is used to describe the organization of a state's military to fight abroad, especially when deployed to fight away from its established bases at home or abroad. Expeditionary forces were in part the antecedent of the modern concept of Rapid Deployment Forces...

, air-ground combined arms
Combined arms
Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different branches of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects...

 task force, capable of forcible entry
Forcible entry
Forcible entry is defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law as the unlawful taking of possession of real property by force or threats of force or unlawful entry into or onto another's property, especially when accompanied by force....

 from the air, land, and sea. It is capable of asymmetric warfare
Asymmetric warfare
Asymmetric warfare is war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differ significantly....

 with conventional
Conventional warfare
Conventional warfare is a form of warfare conducted byusing conventional military weapons and battlefield tactics between two or more states in open confrontation. The forces on each side are well-defined, and fight using weapons that primarily target the opposing army...

, irregular
Irregular warfare
Irregular warfare is warfare in which one or more combatants are irregular military rather than regular forces. Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare, and so is asymmetric warfare....

, and hybrid forces
Hybrid Warfare
Hybrid warfare is a military strategy that blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare. In addition, hybrid warfare is used to describe attacks by nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, improvised explosive devices and information warfare. This approach to conflicts, is a...

.

While the Marine Corps does not employ any unique combat arms, as a force it has the unique ability to rapidly deploy a combined-arms task force to almost anywhere in the world within days. The basic structure for all deployed units is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force
Marine Air-Ground Task Force
The Marine Air-Ground Task Force is a term used by the United States Marine Corps to describe the principal organization for all missions across the range of military operations. MAGTFs are a balanced air-ground, combined arms task organization of Marine Corps forces under a single commander that...

 (MAGTF) that integrates a ground combat element
Ground combat element
In the United States Marine Corps, the Ground combat element is the land force of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force . It provides power projection and force for the MAGTF.-Role within the MAGTF:...

, an aviation combat element
Aviation combat element
In the United States Marine Corps, the aviation combat element or air combat element is the air arm of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force . It provides rotary-wing, tiltrotor, and fixed-wing aircraft, support equipment, pilots, maintenance personnel, as well as command and control assets to the...

 and a logistics combat element
Logistics Combat Element
In the United States Marine Corps, the Logistics Combat Element , formerly combat service support element, is the portion of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force responsible with providing logistical support...

 under a common command element
Command element (United States Marine Corps)
In the United States Marine Corps, the command element or CE is the command and control force of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force . It provides C3I for the MAGTF.-Role within the MAGTF:...

. While the creation of joint commands under the Goldwater–Nichols Act has improved inter-service coordination between each branch, the Corps' ability to permanently maintain integrated multi-element task forces under a single command provides a smoother implementation of combined-arms warfare principles.

The close integration of disparate Marine units stems from an organizational culture centered around the infantry. Every other Marine capability exists to support the infantry. Unlike some Western militaries, the Corps remained conservative against theories proclaiming the ability of new weapons to win wars independently. For example, Marine aviation
United States Marine Corps Aviation
United States Marine Corps Aviation is the air component of the United States Marine Corps. Marine aviation has a very different mission and operation than its ground counterpart, and thus, has many of its own histories, traditions, terms, and procedures....

 has always been focused on close air support
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

 and has remained largely uninfluenced by air power theories proclaiming that strategic bombing
Strategic bombing
Strategic bombing is a military strategy used in a total war with the goal of defeating an enemy nation-state by destroying its economic ability and public will to wage war rather than destroying its land or naval forces...

 can single-handedly win wars.

This focus on the infantry is matched with the doctrine that "Every Marine is a rifleman", a focus of Commandant Alfred M. Gray, Jr.
Alfred M. Gray, Jr.
Alfred M. Gray, Jr. , is a retired United States Marine Corps general who served as the twenty-ninth Commandant of the Marine Corps from 1987-91. He retired from the Corps in 1991 after 41 years of service.-Personal:Alfred M. Gray, Jr...

, emphasizing the infantry combat abilities of every Marine. All Marines, regardless of military specialization, receive training as a rifleman
Rifleman
Although ultimately originating with the 16th century handgunners and the 17th century musketeers and streltsy, the term rifleman originated from the 18th century. It would later become the term for the archetypal common soldier.-History:...

; and all officers receive additional training as infantry platoon commanders. For example, at Wake Island
Battle of Wake Island
The Battle of Wake Island began simultaneously with the Attack on Pearl Harbor and ended on 23 December 1941, with the surrender of the American forces to the Empire of Japan...

, when all of the Marine aircraft were shot down, pilots continued the fight as ground officers, leading supply clerks and cooks in a final defensive effort. As a result, a large degree of initiative and autonomy is expected of junior Marines, particularly the NCOs
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

 (corporal
Corporal
Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....

s and sergeant
Sergeant
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....

s), as compared with many other military organizations. The Marine Corps emphasizes authority and responsibility downward to a greater degree than the other military services. Flexibility of execution is implemented via an emphasis on "commander's intent" as a guiding principle for carrying out orders; specifying the end state but leaving open the method of execution.
The amphibious assault techniques developed for World War II evolved, with the addition of air assault
Air assault
Air assault is the movement of ground-based military forces by vertical take-off and landing aircraft—such as the helicopter—to seize and hold key terrain which has not been fully secured, and to directly engage enemy forces...

 and maneuver warfare
Maneuver warfare
Maneuver warfare, or manoeuvre warfare , is the term used by military theorists for a concept of warfare that advocates attempting to defeat an adversary by incapacitating their decision-making through shock and disruption brought about by movement...

 doctrine, into the current "Operational Maneuver from the Sea" doctrine of power projection
Power projection
Power projection is a term used in military and political science to refer to the capacity of a state to conduct expeditionary warfare, i.e. to intimidate other nations and implement policy by means of force, or the threat thereof, in an area distant from its own territory.This ability is a...

 from the seas. The Marines are credited with the development of helicopter insertion doctrine and were the earliest in the American military to widely adopt maneuver-warfare principles which emphasize low-level initiative and flexible execution. In light of recent warfare that has strayed from the Corps' traditional missions, it has renewed an emphasis on amphibious capabilities.

The Marine Corps relies on the Navy for sealift
Sealift
Sealift is a term used predominantly in military logistics and refers to the use of cargo ships for the deployment of military assets, such as weaponry, vehicles, military personnel, and supplies...

 to provide its rapid deployment capabilities. In addition to basing a third of the Fleet Marine Force
Fleet Marine Force
The United States Fleet Marine Forces are combined general and special purpose forces within the United States Department of the Navy that are designed in engaging offensive amphibious or expeditionary warfare and defensive maritime employment...

 in Japan, Marine Expeditionary Unit
Marine Expeditionary Unit
A Marine expeditionary unit , formerly called Marine amphibious unit , is the smallest Marine air-ground task force in the United States Fleet Marine Force...

s (MEU) are typically stationed at sea. This allows the ability to function as first responders to international incidents. The United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 now maintains light infantry
Light infantry
Traditionally light infantry were soldiers whose job was to provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Light infantry was distinct from medium, heavy or line infantry. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight...

 units capable of rapid worldwide deployment, but those units do not match the combined-arms integration of a MAGTF and lack the logistics that the Navy provides. For this reason, the Marine Corps is often assigned to non-combat missions such as the evacuation of Americans from unstable countries and providing humanitarian relief
Humanitarian aid
Humanitarian aid is material or logistical assistance provided for humanitarian purposes, typically in response to humanitarian crises including natural disaster and man-made disaster. The primary objective of humanitarian aid is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity...

 during natural disasters. In larger conflicts, Marines act as a stopgap, to get into and hold an area until larger units can be mobilized. The Corps performed this role in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, where Marines were the first significant combat units deployed from the United States and held the line until the country could mobilize for war. To aid rapid deployment, the Maritime Pre-Positioning System was developed: fleets of container ship
Container ship
Container ships are cargo ships that carry all of their load in truck-size intermodal containers, in a technique called containerization. They form a common means of commercial intermodal freight transport.-History:...

s are positioned throughout the world with enough equipment and supplies for a Marine Expeditionary Force
Marine Expeditionary Force
A Marine Expeditionary Force or MEF is the largest type of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force...

 to deploy for 30 days.

Doctrine


Two small manuals published during the 1930s would establish USMC doctrine in two areas. The Small Wars Manual
Small Wars Manual
The Small Wars Manual is a United States Marine Corps manual on tactics and strategies for engaging in certain types of military operations....

 laid the framework for Marine counter-insurgency
Counter-insurgency
A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency taken up against it...

 operations from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan while the Tentative Landing Operations Manual
Amphibious warfare (United States)
The United States has a long history in amphibious warfare from the landings in the Bahamas during the American Revolutionary War, to some of the more massive examples of World War II in the European Theater of Operation on Normandy, and in Africa and Italy, as well as the constant island warfare...

 established the doctrine for the amphibious operations of World War II. "Operational Maneuver from the Sea" is the current doctrine of power projection.

As an expeditionary force, the USMC is planning to reduce its logistical requirements and by 2025 eliminate all liquid fuel use other than for highly efficient vehicles.

Origins


The United States Marine Corps traces its institutional roots to the Continental Marines
Continental Marines
The Continental Marines were the Marine force of the American Colonies during the American Revolutionary War. The corps was formed by the Continental Congress on November 10, 1775 and was disbanded in 1783. Their mission was multi-purpose, but their most important duty was to serve as on-board...

 of the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

, formed by Captain Samuel Nicholas
Samuel Nicholas
Samuel Nicholas was the first officer commissioned in the United States Continental Marines and by tradition is considered to be the first Commandant of the Marine Corps.-Early life:...

 by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress
Second Continental Congress
The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting on May 10, 1775, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, soon after warfare in the American Revolutionary War had begun. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met briefly during 1774,...

 on 10 November 1775, to raise 2 battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

s of Marines. That date is regarded and celebrated as the date of the Marine Corps' "birthday
United States Marine Corps birthday ball
The United States Marine Corps Birthday is celebrated every year on the 10th of November with a traditional ball and cake-cutting ceremony.-Historical birthday:...

". At the end of the American Revolution, both the Continental Navy
Continental Navy
The Continental Navy was the navy of the United States during the American Revolutionary War, and was formed in 1775. Through the efforts of the Continental Navy's patron, John Adams and vigorous Congressional support in the face of stiff opposition, the fleet cumulatively became relatively...

 and Continental Marines were disbanded in April 1783. The institution itself would not be resurrected until July 11, 1798. At that time, in preparation for the Quasi-War
Quasi-War
The Quasi-War was an undeclared war fought mostly at sea between the United States and French Republic from 1798 to 1800. In the United States, the conflict was sometimes also referred to as the Franco-American War, the Pirate Wars, or the Half-War.-Background:The Kingdom of France had been a...

 with France, Congress created the United States Marine Corps. Marines had been enlisted by the War Department as early as August 1797 for service in the new-build frigate
Frigate
A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.In the 17th century, the term was used for any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description often used being "frigate-built"...

s authorized by the Congressional "Act to provide a Naval Armament" of March 18, 1794, which specified the numbers of Marines to be recruited for each frigate.

The Marines' most famous action of this period occurred during the First Barbary War
First Barbary War
The First Barbary War , also known as the Barbary Coast War or the Tripolitan War, was the first of two wars fought between the United States and the North African Berber Muslim states known collectively as the Barbary States...

 (1801–1805) against the Barbary pirates, when William Eaton and First Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon
Presley O'Bannon
Presley Neville O’Bannon was an officer in the United States Marine Corps, famous for his exploits in the First Barbary War. In recognition of his bravery, he was presented a sword for his part in attempting to restore Prince Hamet Karamanli to his throne at Tripoli...

 led eight Marines and 500 mercenaries
Mercenary
A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

 in an effort to capture Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

. Though they only reached Derna, the action at Tripoli has been immortalized in the Marines' hymn
Marines' Hymn
The "Marines' Hymn" is the official hymn of the United States Marine Corps. It is the oldest official song in the United States military. The "Marines' Hymn" is typically sung at the position of attention as a gesture of respect...

 and the Mameluke Sword
Mameluke Sword
A Mameluke sword is a cross-hilted, curved, scimitar-like sword historically derived from sabres used by Mamluk warriors of Mamluk Egypt from whom the sword derives its name. It is related to the shamshir, which had its origins in Persia from where the style migrated to India, Egypt and North...

 carried by Marine officers.

During the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

, Marine naval detachments took part in the great frigate duels that characterized the war, which were the first American victories in the conflict. Their most significant contributions were delaying the British march to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 at the Battle of Bladensburg
Battle of Bladensburg
The Battle of Bladensburg took place during the War of 1812. The defeat of the American forces there allowed the British to capture and burn the public buildings of Washington, D.C...

 and holding the center of Gen. Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

's defensive line at the defense of New Orleans
Battle of New Orleans
The Battle of New Orleans took place on January 8, 1815 and was the final major battle of the War of 1812. American forces, commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson, defeated an invading British Army intent on seizing New Orleans and the vast territory the United States had acquired with the...

. By the end of the war, the Marines had acquired a well-deserved reputation as expert marksmen
Marksman
A marksman is a person who is skilled in precision, or a sharpshooter shooting, using projectile weapons, such as with a rifle but most commonly with a sniper rifle, to shoot at long range targets...

, especially in ship-to-ship actions.

After the war, the Marine Corps fell into a depression that ended with the appointment of Archibald Henderson
Archibald Henderson
Archibald Henderson was the longest-serving Commandant of the Marine Corps, serving from 1820 to 1859. He is often referred to as the "Grand old man of the Marine Corps," serving in the United States Marine Corps for 53 years.-Biography:Born in Colchester, Fairfax County, Virginia to successful...

 as its fifth Commandant in 1820. Under his tenure, the Corps took on expeditionary duties in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

, Key West
Key West, Florida
Key West is a city in Monroe County, Florida, United States. The city encompasses the island of Key West, the part of Stock Island north of U.S. 1 , Sigsbee Park , Fleming Key , and Sunset Key...

, West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

, the Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

, and Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

. Commandant Henderson is credited with thwarting President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Jackson's attempts to combine and integrate the Marine Corps with the Army. Instead, Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 passed the Act for the Better Organization of the Marine Corps in 1834, stipulating that the Corps was part of the Department of the Navy
United States Department of the Navy
The Department of the Navy of the United States of America was established by an Act of Congress on 30 April 1798, to provide a government organizational structure to the United States Navy and, from 1834 onwards, for the United States Marine Corps, and when directed by the President, of the...

 as a sister service to the Navy. This would be the first of many times that the existence of the Corps was challenged.

Commandant Henderson volunteered the Marines for service in the Seminole Wars
Seminole Wars
The Seminole Wars, also known as the Florida Wars, were three conflicts in Florida between the Seminole — the collective name given to the amalgamation of various groups of native Americans and Black people who settled in Florida in the early 18th century — and the United States Army...

 of 1835, personally leading nearly half of the entire Corps (two battalions) to war. A decade later, in the Mexican–American War
Mexican–American War
The Mexican–American War, also known as the First American Intervention, the Mexican War, or the U.S.–Mexican War, was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S...

 (1846–1848), the Marines made their famed assault on Chapultepec Palace
Battle of Chapultepec
The Battle of Chapultepec, in September 1847, was a United States victory over Mexican forces holding Chapultepec Castle west of Mexico City during the Mexican-American War.-Background:On September 13, 1847, in the costly Battle of Molino del Rey, U.S...

 in Mexico City, which would be later celebrated by the phrase "From The Halls of Montezuma" in Marines' hymn. In the 1850s, the Marines would see further service in Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 and Asia, escorting Matthew Perry's East India Squadron
East India Squadron
The East India Squadron, or East Indies Squadron, was a squadron of American ships which existed in the nineteenth century, it focused on protecting American interests in the Far East while the Pacific Squadron concentrated on the western coasts of the Americas and in the South Pacific Ocean...

 on its historic trip to the Far East.

With their vast service in foreign engagements, the Marine Corps played a moderate role in the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 (1861–1865); their most prominent task was blockade
Blockade
A blockade is an effort to cut off food, supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally. A blockade should not be confused with an embargo or sanctions, which are legal barriers to trade, and is distinct from a siege in that a blockade is usually...

 duty. As more and more states seceded
Ordinance of Secession
The Ordinance of Secession was the document drafted and ratified in 1860 and 1861 by the states officially seceding from the United States of America...

 from the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

, about half of the Corps' officers left the Union to join the Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 and form the Confederate States Marine Corps
Confederate States Marine Corps
The Confederate States Marine Corps , a branch of the Confederate States Navy, was established by an act of the Congress of the Confederate States on March 16, 1861. The CSMC's manpower was initially authorized at 45 officers and 944 enlisted men, and was increased on September 24, 1862 to 1026...

, which ultimately played little part in the war. The battalion of recruits formed for the First Battle of Bull Run
First Battle of Bull Run
First Battle of Bull Run, also known as First Manassas , was fought on July 21, 1861, in Prince William County, Virginia, near the City of Manassas...

 (First Manassas) performed poorly, retreating with the rest of the Union forces. Blockade duty included sea-based amphibious operations to secure forward bases. In late November, 1861, Marines and sailors landed a reconnaissance in force from the USS Flag
USS Flag (1861)
USS Flag was a screw steamship in the Union Navy during the American Civil War.Flag was purchased on 26 April 1861 as Phineas Sprague, and renamed and commissioned on 28 May 1861, Lieutenant Commander L. C. Sartori in command....

 at Tybee Island, Georgia, to occupy the Lighthouse and Martello Tower on the northern end of the island. It would later be the Army base for bombardment of Fort Pulaski
Battle of Fort Pulaski
The Battle of Fort Pulaski was fought April 10–11, 1862, during the American Civil War. Union forces on Tybee Island and naval operations conducted a 112-day siege, then captured the Confederate-held Fort Pulaski after a 30-hour bombardment. The battle is important for innovative use of rifled guns...

.


Interim: Civil War to World War I


The remainder of the 19th century was marked by declining strength and introspection about the mission of the Marine Corps. The Navy's transition from sail
Sailing ship
The term sailing ship is now used to refer to any large wind-powered vessel. In technical terms, a ship was a sailing vessel with a specific rig of at least three masts, square rigged on all of them, making the sailing adjective redundant. In popular usage "ship" became associated with all large...

 to steam
Steamboat
A steamboat or steamship, sometimes called a steamer, is a ship in which the primary method of propulsion is steam power, typically driving propellers or paddlewheels...

 put into question the need for Marines on naval ships. Meanwhile, Marines served as a convenient resource for interventions and landings to protect American lives and interests overseas. The Corps was involved in over 28 separate interventions in the 30 years from the end of the American Civil War to the end of 19th century. They would be called upon to stem political and labor unrest within the United States. Under Commandant Jacob Zeilin
Jacob Zeilin
Brigadier General Jacob A. Zeilin was the first United States Marine Corps non-brevet general. He served as the seventh Commandant of the United States Marine Corps from 1864 to 1876.-Biography:...

's tenure, Marine customs and traditions took shape: the Corps adopted the Marine Corps emblem
Eagle, Globe, and Anchor
The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor is the official emblem and insignia of the United States Marine Corps. The current emblem traces its roots in the designs and ornaments of the early Continental Marines as well as the British Royal Marines. The present emblem, adopted in 1966, differs from the emblem of...

 on 19 November 1868. It was during this time that "The Marines' Hymn
Marines' Hymn
The "Marines' Hymn" is the official hymn of the United States Marine Corps. It is the oldest official song in the United States military. The "Marines' Hymn" is typically sung at the position of attention as a gesture of respect...

" was first heard. Around 1883, the Marines adopted their current motto "Semper Fidelis
Semper fidelis
Semper Fidelis is Latin for "Always Faithful" or "Always Loyal". Well known in the United States as the motto of the United States Marine Corps , Semper Fidelis has served as a slogan for many families and entities, in many countries, dated to have been started no later than the 16th century...

" (Always Faithful).

John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era, known particularly for American military and patriotic marches. Because of his mastery of march composition, he is known as "The March King" or the "American March King" due to his British counterpart Kenneth J....

, the musician and composer, enlisted as a Marine apprentice at the age of 13, serving from 1867 until 1872, and again from 1880 to 1892 as the leader of the Marine Band
United States Marine Band
The United States Marine Band is the premier band of the United States Marine Corps. Established by act of Congress on July 11, 1798, it is the oldest of the United States military bands and the oldest professional musical organization in the United States...

.

During the Spanish–American War (1898), Marines led American forces ashore in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, and Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, demonstrating their readiness for deployment. At Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the Marines seized an advanced naval base
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is located on of land and water at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba which the United States leased for use as a coaling station following the Cuban-American Treaty of 1903. The base is located on the shore of Guantánamo Bay at the southeastern end of Cuba. It is the oldest overseas...

 that remains in use today. Between 1899 and 1916, the Corps continued its record of vigorous participation in foreign expeditions, including the Philippine–American War, the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

 in China (1899–1901), Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, the Cuban Pacifications, the Perdicaris Incident
Ion Perdicaris
Ion Hanford Perdicaris was a Greek-American playboy who was the centre of a notable kidnapping known as the Perdicaris incident, which aroused international conflict in 1904.-Family life:...

 in Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

, Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

, and the Banana Wars in Haiti and Nicaragua; the experiences gained in counter-insurgency
Counter-insurgency
A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency taken up against it...

 and guerrilla operations during this period were consolidated into the Small Wars Manual
Small Wars Manual
The Small Wars Manual is a United States Marine Corps manual on tactics and strategies for engaging in certain types of military operations....

.

World War I


During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 veteran Marines served a central role in the late American entry into the conflict. Unlike the Army, the Marine Corps had a deep pool of officers and NCOs with battle experience, and experienced a smaller expansion. Here, the Marines fought their famed battle at Belleau Wood
Battle of Belleau Wood
The Battle of Belleau Wood occurred during the German 1918 Spring Offensive in World War I, near the Marne River in France. The battle was fought between the U.S...

, creating the Marines' reputation in modern history. While its previous expeditionary experiences had not earned it much acclaim in the Western world, the Marines' ferocity and toughness in France earned them the respect of the Germans, who rated them of stormtrooper
Stormtrooper
Stormtroopers were specialist soldiers of the German Army in World War I. In the last years of the war, Stoßtruppen were trained to fight with "infiltration tactics", part of the Germans' new method of attack on enemy trenches...

 quality. Though Marines and American media reported that Germans had nicknamed them Teufel Hunden as meaning "Devil Dog
Devil Dog
Teufel Hunden, a mistranslation of Devil Dogs in German, is a motivational nickname for a U.S. Marine.-U.S. Marine Corps legends:...

s", there is no evidence of this in German records (as Teufelshunde would be the proper German phrase), nevertheless, the name stuck. The Corps had entered the war with 511 officers and 13,214 enlisted personnel, and by 11 November 1918 had reached a strength of 2,400 officers and 70,000 men.

Between the World Wars, the Marine Corps was headed by Commandant John A. Lejeune
John A. Lejeune
Lieutenant General John Archer Lejeune, was the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Known as the "greatest of all Leathernecks" and the "Marine's Marine", he served for nearly 40 years. His service included commanding the U.S...

, and under his leadership, the Corps presciently studied and developed amphibious techniques that would be of great use in World War II. Many officers, including Lt. Col. Earl Hancock "Pete" Ellis
Earl Hancock Ellis
Lieutenant Colonel Earl Hancock "Pete" Ellis was a United States Marine Corps Intelligence Officer, and author of , which became the basis for the American campaign of amphibious assault that defeated the Japanese in World War II...

, foresaw a war in the Pacific with Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 and took preparations for such a conflict. Through 1941, as the prospect of war grew, the Corps pushed urgently for joint amphibious exercises and acquired amphibious equipment that would prove of great use in the upcoming conflict.

World War II


In World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Marines played a central role in the Pacific War
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

. The battles of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Tarawa
Battle of Tarawa
The Battle of Tarawa, code named Operation Galvanic, was a battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II, largely fought from November 20 to November 23, 1943. It was the first American offensive in the critical central Pacific region....

, Guam, Tinian
Battle of Tinian
The Battle of Tinian was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Tinian in the Mariana Islands from 24 July 1944 to 1 August 1944.-Background:...

, Saipan
Battle of Saipan
The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from 15 June-9 July 1944. The Allied invasion fleet embarking the expeditionary forces left Pearl Harbor on 5 June 1944, the day before Operation Overlord in Europe was...

, Peleliu
Battle of Peleliu
The Battle of Peleliu, codenamed Operation Stalemate II, was fought between the United States and the Empire of Japan in the Pacific Theater of World War II, from September–November 1944 on the island of Peleliu, present-day Palau. U.S...

, Iwo Jima
Battle of Iwo Jima
The Battle of Iwo Jima , or Operation Detachment, was a major battle in which the United States fought for and captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Empire of Japan. The U.S...

, and Okinawa
Battle of Okinawa
The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War of World War II. The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June 1945...

 saw fierce fighting between Marines and the Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

.

Philip Johnston proposed the use of Navajo
Navajo language
Navajo or Navaho is an Athabaskan language spoken in the southwestern United States. It is geographically and linguistically one of the Southern Athabaskan languages .Navajo has more speakers than any other Native American language north of the...

 as a code language to the Corps. The idea was accepted, and the Navajo code was formally developed and modeled on the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet
Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet
The Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet was a radio alphabet developed in 1941 and was used by all branches of the United States military until the promulgation of the ICAO spelling alphabet in 1956, which replaced it...

.

During the battle of Iwo Jima, photographer Joe Rosenthal
Joe Rosenthal
Joseph John Rosenthal was an American photographer who received the Pulitzer Prize for his iconic World War II photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima. His picture became one of the best-known photographs of the war.-Early life:Joseph Rosenthal was born on...

 took the famous photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.The photograph was extremely...

of five Marines and one Navy Corpsman raising the American flag
Flag of the United States
The national flag of the United States of America consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars alternating with rows...

 on Mt. Suribachi
Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima, officially , is an island of the Japanese Volcano Islands chain, which lie south of the Ogasawara Islands and together with them form the Ogasawara Archipelago. The island is located south of mainland Tokyo and administered as part of Ogasawara, one of eight villages of Tokyo...

. Secretary of the Navy
United States Secretary of the Navy
The Secretary of the Navy of the United States of America is the head of the Department of the Navy, a component organization of the Department of Defense...

 James Forrestal
James Forrestal
James Vincent Forrestal was the last Cabinet-level United States Secretary of the Navy and the first United States Secretary of Defense....

, having come ashore earlier that day, said of the flag-raising, "...the raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years." The acts of the Marines during the war added to their already significant popular reputation. By the end of the war, the Corps expanded from two brigade
Brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

s to six divisions
Division (military)
A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

, five air wings
Wing (air force unit)
Wing is a term used by different military aviation forces for a unit of command. The terms wing, group or Staffel are used for different-sized units from one country or service to another....

, and supporting troops, totaling about 485,000 Marines. In addition, 20 defense battalions
Marine defense battalions
Marine defense battalions were United States Marine Corps battalions charged with coastal defense of various naval bases in the Pacific during World War II...

 and a parachute battalion
Paramarines
The Paramarines was a short-lived specialized unit of the United States Marine Corps, trained to be dropped by parachute. The first Paramarines were trained in October 1940, but the unit was disbanded in 1944...

 were set raised. Nearly 87,000 Marines were casualties during World War II (including nearly 20,000 killed), and 82 were awarded the Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

.

Despite Secretary Forrestal's prediction, the Corps faced an immediate institutional crisis following the war due to the low budget. Army generals pushing for a strengthened and reorganized defense establishment attempted to fold the Marine mission and assets into the Navy and Army. Drawing on hastily assembled Congressional support, the Marine Corps rebuffed such efforts to dismantle the Corps, resulting in statutory protection of the Marine Corps in the National Security Act of 1947
National Security Act of 1947
The National Security Act of 1947 was signed by United States President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1947, and realigned and reorganized the U.S. Armed Forces, foreign policy, and Intelligence Community apparatus in the aftermath of World War II...

. Shortly afterward, in 1952 the Douglas-Mansfield Bill afforded the Commandant an equal voice with the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters...

 on matters relating to the Marines and established the structure of three active divisions and air wings that remain today.

Korean War


The Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 (1950–1953) saw the hastily formed Provisional Marine Brigade
1st Provisional Marine Brigade
The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was a Marine infantry brigade of the United States Marine Corps that existed periodically from 1912 to 1950. It was an ad hoc unit formed for specific operations and therefore not considered a "permanent" USMC unit....

 holding the defensive line at the Pusan Perimeter. To execute a flanking maneuver
Flanking maneuver
In military tactics, a flanking maneuver, also called a flank attack, is an attack on the sides of an opposing force. If a flanking maneuver succeeds, the opposing force would be surrounded from two or more directions, which significantly reduces the maneuverability of the outflanked force and its...

, General Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 called on Marine air and ground forces to make an amphibious landing at Inchon
Battle of Inchon
The Battle of Inchon was an amphibious invasion and battle of the Korean War that resulted in a decisive victory and strategic reversal in favor of the United Nations . The operation involved some 75,000 troops and 261 naval vessels, and led to the recapture of the South Korean capital Seoul two...

. The successful landing resulted in the collapse of North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

n lines and the pursuit of North Korean forces north near the Yalu River
Yalu River
The Yalu River or the Amnok River is a river on the border between North Korea and the People's Republic of China....

 until the entrance of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 into the war. Chinese troops surrounded, surprised and overwhelmed the overextended and outnumbered American forces. X Corps, which included the 1st Marine Division and the Army's 7th Infantry Division, regrouped and inflicted heavy casualties during their fighting withdrawal to the coast, now known as the Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Battle of Chosin Reservoir
The Battle of Chosin Reservoir, also known as the Chosin Reservoir Campaign or the Changjin Lake Campaign ,Official Chinese sources refer to this battle as the Second Phase Campaign Eastern Sector . The Western Sector is the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River. was a decisive battle in the Korean War...

. The fighting calmed after the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, but late in March of 1953 the relative quiet of the war was broken when the Chinese Army launched a massive offensive on three outposts manned by the 5th Marine Regiment. These outposts were codenamed "Reno", "Vegas", and "Carson". The campaign was collectively known as the Nevada Cities Campaign. There was brutal fighting on Reno hill, which was eventually captured by the Chinese. Although Reno was lost, the 5th Marines held both Vegas and Carson through the rest of the campaign. In this one campaign, the marines suffered approximately 1,000 casualties, while the Chinese suffered at least twice as many. Marines would continue a battle of attrition around the 38th Parallel
38th parallel north
The 38th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 38 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean...

 until the 1953 armistice. The Korean War saw the Corps expand from 75,000 regulars to a force of 261,000 Marines, mostly reservists. 30,544 Marines were killed or wounded during the war and 42 were awarded the Medal of Honor.

Vietnam War


The Marine Corps served an important role in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 taking part in such battles as Da Nang
Da Nang
Đà Nẵng , occasionally Danang, is a major port city in the South Central Coast of Vietnam, on the coast of the South China Sea at the mouth of the Han River. It is the commercial and educational center of Central Vietnam; its well-sheltered, easily accessible port and its location on the path of...

, Hue City, Con Thien
Con Thien
Con Thien , was a United States Marine Corps combat base located near the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone about 3 km from North Vietnam...

 and Khe Sanh
Battle of Khe Sanh
The Battle of Khe Sanh was conducted in northwestern Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam , between 21 January and 9 July 1968 during the Vietnam War...

. Individuals from the USMC operated in the Northern I Corps Regions of South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

. While there, they were constantly engaged in a guerrilla war
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 against the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam
National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam
The Vietcong , or National Liberation Front , was a political organization and army in South Vietnam and Cambodia that fought the United States and South Vietnamese governments during the Vietnam War . It had both guerrilla and regular army units, as well as a network of cadres who organized...

 (NLF) and an intermittent conventional war against the North Vietnamese Army
Vietnam People's Army
The Vietnam People's Army is the armed forces of Vietnam. The VPA includes: the Vietnamese People's Ground Forces , the Vietnam People's Navy , the Vietnam People's Air Force, and the Vietnam Marine Police.During the French Indochina War , the VPA was often referred to as the Việt...

 (NVA). Portions of the Corps were responsible for the less-known Combined Action Program
Combined action program
Drawing from previous experience in "small wars", the United States Marine Corps operated the Combined Action Program during the Vietnam War, from 1965 to 1971. "The Combined Action Platoon's genesis was not a deliberate plan from a higher headquarters, rather, it was a solution to one infantry...

 (CAP) that implemented unconventional techniques for counter-insurgency
Counter-insurgency
A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency taken up against it...

 and worked as military advisors to the Republic of Vietnam Marine Corps
Republic of Vietnam Marine Corps
The Republic of Vietnam Marine Corps ) was part of the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam . It was established by Ngo Dinh Diem in 1954 when he was Prime Minister of the State of Vietnam, which became the Republic of Vietnam in 1955. The longest-serving commander was Lieutenant General Le...

. Marines were withdrawn in 1971, and returned briefly in 1975 to evacuate Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City , formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam...

 and attempt a rescue of the crew of the Mayagüez
Mayagüez incident
The Mayaguez incident between the Khmer Rouge and the United States from May 12–15, 1975, was the last official battle of the Vietnam War. The names of the Americans killed, as well as those of three Marines who were left behind on the island of Koh Tang after the battle and who were subsequently...

.

Vietnam was the longest war for Marines; by its end, 13,091 had been killed in action, 51,392 had been wounded, and 57 Medals of Honor had been awarded. Due to policies concerning rotation, more Marines were deployed for service during Vietnam than World War II.

While recovering from Vietnam, the Corps hit a detrimental low point in its service history caused by courts-martial
Court-martial
A court-martial is a military court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment.Most militaries maintain a court-martial system to try cases in which a breach of...

 and non-judicial punishments related partially to increased unauthorized absences and desertions
Desertion
In military terminology, desertion is the abandonment of a "duty" or post without permission and is done with the intention of not returning...

 during the war. Overhauling of the Corps began in the late 1970s, discharging the most delinquent, and once quality of new recruits improved, the Corps focused on reforming the NCO Corps, a vital functioning part of its forces.

Interim: Vietnam to the War on Terror


After Vietnam, the Marines resumed their expeditionary role, participating in the 1980 Iran hostage rescue attempt Operation Eagle Claw
Operation Eagle Claw
Operation Eagle Claw was an American military operation ordered by President Jimmy Carter to attempt to put an end to the Iran hostage crisis by rescuing 52 Americans held captive at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran on 24 April 1980...

, the invasion of Grenada
Invasion of Grenada
The Invasion of Grenada, codenamed Operation Urgent Fury, was a 1983 United States-led invasion of Grenada, a Caribbean island nation with a population of about 100,000 located north of Venezuela. Triggered by a military coup which had ousted a four-year revolutionary government, the invasion...

 (Operation Urgent Fury) and the invasion of Panama
United States invasion of Panama
The United States Invasion of Panama, code-named Operation Just Cause, was the invasion of Panama by the United States in December 1989. It occurred during the administration of U.S. President George H. W...

 (Operation Just Cause). On 23 October 1983, the Marine headquarters building in Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, was bombed
1983 Beirut barracks bombing
The Beirut Barracks Bombing occurred during the Lebanese Civil War, when two truck bombs struck separate buildings housing United States and French military forces—members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon—killing 299 American and French servicemen...

, causing the highest peacetime losses to the Corps in its history (220 Marines and 21 other service members were killed) and leading to the American withdrawal from the country. The year of 1990 saw Marines of the Joint Task Force Sharp Edge
Operation Sharp Edge
Operation Sharp Edge was a non-combatant evacuation operation carried out by the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit of the United States Marine Corps in Liberia in 1990 and 1991.-Background:The First Liberian Civil War broke out in December 1989...

 save thousands of lives by evacuating British, French and American nationals from the violence of the Liberian Civil War. During the Persian Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 (1990–1991), Marine task forces formed the initial core for Operation Desert Shield, while United States and Coalition troops mobilized, and later liberated Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 in Operation Desert Storm. Marines participated in combat operations in Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 (1992–1995) during Operations Restore Hope, Restore Hope II, and United Shield
Operation United Shield
Operation United Shield was the name given to a multinational military operation that was conducted from 9 January 1992 to 3 March 1995. The purpose of Operation United Shield was the safe evacuation of all United Nations peacekeeping troops from Somalia...

 to provide humanitarian relief.

Global War on Terrorism


Following the attacks on 11 September 2001, President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 announced the War on Terrorism
War on Terrorism
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

. The stated objective of the Global War on Terror is "the defeat of Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

, other terrorist
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 groups and any nation that supports or harbors terrorists." Since then, the Marine Corps, alongside other military and federal agencies, has engaged in global operations around the world in support of that mission.

In spring 2009, President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

's goal of reducing spending in the Defense Department was led by Secretary Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

 in a series of budget cuts which did not result in significant changes in the Corps' budget and programs, cutting only the VH-71 Kestrel and resetting the VXX
VXX
VXX is a procurement program to replace aging Marine One helicopters that transport the President of the United States. The current VH-3 helicopters have aging airframes, having entered service with U.S. Marine Corps Marine Helicopter Squadron One in 1963. The VH-3D replaced the VH-3A by 1976...

 program. However, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is a Presidential Commission created in 2010 by President Barack Obama to identify "…policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run."...

 singled the Corps out for the brunt of a series of recommended cuts in late 2010.

Operation Enduring Freedom



Marines and other American forces began staging in Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 on the border of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 as early as October 2001 in preparation for Operation Enduring Freedom. The 15th
15th Marine Expeditionary Unit
The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit is one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units currently in existence in the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Expeditionary Unit is a Marine Air Ground Task Force with a strength of about 2,200 personnel...

 and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit
26th Marine Expeditionary Unit
The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units currently in existence in the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Expeditionary Unit is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force with a strength of about 2,200 personnel. The MEU consists of four major parts: a command element,...

s were the first conventional forces into Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in November 2001, and in December, the Marines seized Kandahar International Airport. Since then, Marine battalions and squadrons have been rotating through, engaging Taliban and Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 forces. Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit
24th Marine Expeditionary Unit
The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit is one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units currently in existence in the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Expeditionary Unit is a Marine Air Ground Task Force with a strength of about 2,200 personnel...

 flooded into the Taliban-held town of Garmsir
Battle of Garmsir
The Battle of Garmsir was a battle between U.S. Marines and other ISAF coalition forces, and Taliban insurgents in Garmsir, southern Afghanistan. It was part of the ongoing Helmand Province campaign.-History:...

 on April 29, 2008, in Helmand province
Helmand Province
Helmand is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the southwest of the country. Its capital is Lashkar Gah. The Helmand River flows through the mainly desert region, providing water for irrigation....

, in the first major American operation in the region in years. In June 2009, 7,000 Marines with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade
2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (United States)
The 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade is a formation of the II Marine Expeditionary Force . It advertises itself as a "middleweight" crises response force of choice in the European and Southern Command Areas of Operation. It is able to "operate independently, as a service component, or to lead a...

 deployed to Afghanistan in an effort to improve security, and began Operation Strike of the Sword
Operation Strike of the Sword
Operation Strike of the Sword or Operation Khanjar was a US-led offensive in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. About 4,000 Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade as well as 650 Afghan troops were involved, supported by NATO planes. The operation began when units moved into the...

 the next month.

In 2002, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa was stood up at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti
Djibouti
Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

 to provide regional security. Despite transferring overall command to the Navy in 2006, the Marines continued to operate in the Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa that juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. It is the easternmost projection of the African continent...

 into 2007.

Operation Iraqi Freedom


Most recently, the Marines have served prominently in the Iraq War. The I Marine Expeditionary Force, along with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, spearheaded the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

. The Marines left Iraq in the summer of 2003, but returned for occupation duty in the beginning of 2004. They were given responsibility
Multi-National Forces West
Multi-National Forces West or United States Forces West was one of the coalition headquarters under Multi-National Force-Iraq. It was headquartered by either I or II U.S. Marine Expeditionary Force that rotated on a 12 month basis...

 for the Al Anbar Province, the large desert region to the west of Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. During this occupation, the Marines spearheaded both assaults on the city of Fallujah
Fallujah
Fallujah is a city in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar, located roughly west of Baghdad on the Euphrates. Fallujah dates from Babylonian times and was host to important Jewish academies for many centuries....

 in April (Operation Vigilant Resolve) and November 2004 (Operation Phantom Fury) and saw intense fighting in such places as Ramadi
Ramadi
Ramadi is a city in central Iraq, about west of Baghdad. It is the capital of Al Anbar Governorate.-History:Ramadi is located in a fertile, irrigated, alluvial plain.The Ottoman Empire founded Ramadi in 1869...

, Al-Qa'im
Al-Qa'im (town)
Al-Qa'im is an Iraqi town on the Euphrates River in Al-Anbar province, close to the Syrian border....

 and Hīt
Hīt
Hīt is an Iraqi city in Al-Anbar province. Hīt lies northwest of Ramadi, the provincial capital.On the Euphrates River, Hīt is a small walled town built on two mounds on the site of the ancient city of Is; bitumen wells in the vicinity have been utilized for at least 3,000 years and were used in...

. Their time in Iraq has courted controversy with the Haditha killings
Haditha killings
The Haditha killings refers to the incident where 24 Iraqi men, women and children were killed by a group of United States Marines on November 19, 2005 in Haditha, a city in the western Iraqi province of Al Anbar. At least 15 of those killed were civilians...

 and the Hamdania incident
Hamdania incident
The Hamdania incident refers to an incident involving members of the United States Marines in relation to the shooting death of a possible insurgent Iraqi man on April 26, 2006 in Al Hamdania, a small village west of Baghdad near Abu Ghraib...

. The Anbar Awakening and 2007 surge
Iraq War troop surge of 2007
In the context of the Iraq War, the surge refers to United States President George W. Bush's 2007 increase in the number of American troops in order to provide security to Baghdad and Al Anbar Province....

 reduced levels of violence. On March 1, 2009, President Obama announced an accelerated withdrawal at Camp Lejeune, promising all troops out by August 2010. The Marine Corps officially ended its role in Iraq on January 23, 2010 when they handed over responsibility for Al Anbar Province to the United States Army.

Organization



The Department of the Navy
United States Department of the Navy
The Department of the Navy of the United States of America was established by an Act of Congress on 30 April 1798, to provide a government organizational structure to the United States Navy and, from 1834 onwards, for the United States Marine Corps, and when directed by the President, of the...

, led by the Secretary of the Navy
United States Secretary of the Navy
The Secretary of the Navy of the United States of America is the head of the Department of the Navy, a component organization of the Department of Defense...

, is the Federal Government Agency which both the Marine Corps and the Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 are organized within. The most senior Marine officer is the Commandant of the Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps
The Commandant of the Marine Corps is normally the highest ranking officer in the United States Marine Corps and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff...

, responsible to the Secretary of the Navy for organizing, recruiting, training, and equipping the Marine Corps so that its forces are ready for deployment under the operational command of the Combatant Commanders
Unified Combatant Command
A Unified Combatant Command is a United States Department of Defense command that is composed of forces from at least two Military Departments and has a broad and continuing mission. These commands are established to provide effective command and control of U.S. military forces, regardless of...

. The Marine Corps is organized into four principal subdivisions: Headquarters Marine Corps
Headquarters Marine Corps
Headquarters Marine Corps is a headquarters staff within the Department of the Navy which includes the offices of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and various staff functions...

 (HQMC), the Operating Forces, the Supporting Establishment, and the Marine Forces Reserve (MARFORRES or USMCR).

The Operating Forces are further subdivided into three categories: Marine Corps Forces (MARFOR) assigned to unified commands, Marine Corps Security Forces guarding high-risk naval installations, and Marine Corps Security Guard
Marine Corps Security Guard
The Marine Corps Embassy Security Group, formerly Marine Security Guard Battalion, and also known as Marine Security Guards or Marine Embassy Guards, are members of the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group, a battalion-sized organization of U.S...

 detachments at American embassies. Under the "Forces for Unified Commands" memo, in accordance with the Unified Command Plan approved by the President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, Marine Corps Forces are assigned to each of the Combatant Commands
Unified Combatant Command
A Unified Combatant Command is a United States Department of Defense command that is composed of forces from at least two Military Departments and has a broad and continuing mission. These commands are established to provide effective command and control of U.S. military forces, regardless of...

 at the discretion of the Secretary of Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

. Since 1991, the Marine Corps has maintained component headquarters at each of the regional unified combatant commands. Marine Corps Forces are further divided into Marine Forces Command
United States Marine Corps Forces Command
Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command , headquartered at Naval Support Activity Norfolk, Virginia, commands Service retained-operating forces; executes force sourcing and synchronization to affect force generation actions in the provisioning of joint capable Marine Corps forces, and directs...

 (MARFORCOM) and Marine Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC), each headed by a Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

. MARFORCOM has operational control of the II Marine Expeditionary Force; MARFORPAC has operational control of the I Marine Expeditionary Force and III Marine Expeditionary Force
III Marine Expeditionary Force
The III Marine Expeditionary Force is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force of the United States Marine Corps that is forward-deployed and able to deploy rapidly and conduct operations across the spectrum from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to amphibious assault and high intensity combat. III...

.

The Supporting Establishment includes Marine Corps Combat Development Command
Marine Corps Combat Development Command
Marine Corps Combat Development Command, located in at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, has the mission of developing Marine Corps warfighting abilities to enable the Corps to field combat-ready forces...

 (MCCDC), Marine Corps Recruit Depots
United States Marine Corps Recruit Training
United States Marine Corps Recruit Training, commonly known as "boot camp", is a program of initial training that each recruit must successfully complete in order to join the United States Marine Corps...

, Marine Corps Logistics Command
Marine Corps Logistics Command
Marine Corps Logistics Command is a major command of the United States Marine Corps that is the preferred provider of supply chain management, collaborative maintenance management and strategic prepositioning to the Operating Forces and other services and agencies.-Mission:To provide worldwide,...

, Marine bases and air stations, Recruiting Command, and the Marine Band
United States Marine Band
The United States Marine Band is the premier band of the United States Marine Corps. Established by act of Congress on July 11, 1798, it is the oldest of the United States military bands and the oldest professional musical organization in the United States...

.

Relationship with other services


In general, the Marine Corps shares many resources with the other branches of the United States military
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

. However, the Corps has consistently sought to maintain its own identity with regards to mission, funding, and assets, while utilizing the support available from the larger branches. While the Marine Corps has far fewer installations both in the U.S. and worldwide than the other branches, many Army posts, Naval stations, and Air Force bases have a Marine presence.

United States Army



The Marine Corps combat capabilities in some ways overlap those of the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

, the latter having historically viewed the Corps as encroaching on the Army's capabilities and competing for funding, missions, and renown. The attitude dates back to the founding of the Continental Marines
Continental Marines
The Continental Marines were the Marine force of the American Colonies during the American Revolutionary War. The corps was formed by the Continental Congress on November 10, 1775 and was disbanded in 1783. Their mission was multi-purpose, but their most important duty was to serve as on-board...

, when General George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 refused to allow the initial Marine battalions to be drawn from among his Continental Army
Continental Army
The Continental Army was formed after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in...

. Most significantly, in the aftermath of World War II, Army efforts to restructure the American defense establishment included the dissolution of the Corps and the folding of its capabilities into the other services. Leading this movement were such prominent Army officers as General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 and Army Chief of Staff
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
The Chief of Staff of the Army is a statutory office held by a four-star general in the United States Army, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Army, and as such is the principal military advisor and a deputy to the Secretary of the Army; and is in...

 George C. Marshall. With most of the 2000s spent in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

 has voiced concerns that the Marines are becoming a "second Army".

Doctrinally, Marine Corps' focus is on being expeditionary and independent, and places emphasis on amphibious mobility and combined arms
Combined arms
Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different branches of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects...

; these make it a much lighter force than many units of the Army. A larger percentage of the Marine Corps' personnel and assets are in the combat arms (infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

, artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

, armor
Armoured warfare
Armoured warfare or tank warfare is the use of armoured fighting vehicles in modern warfare. It is a major component of modern methods of war....

, and close air support
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

) than the Army. However, the Army maintains much larger and diverse combat arms (infantry, armor, artillery, special operations), ground transport, logistics, while the Marines have a more diverse aviation arm (which constitutes a larger percentage of forces), and is usually organic to the MAGTF. Marines operate as expeditionary units and are completely amphibious
Amphibious warfare
Amphibious warfare is the use of naval firepower, logistics and strategy to project military power ashore. In previous eras it stood as the primary method of delivering troops to non-contiguous enemy-held terrain...

. The Marine Corps focus on standardized infantry units with the other arms in support roles as the "Every Marine's a rifleman" creed shows. This commitment to standardized units can be seen in the short-lived experiment of the Marine Raiders
Marine Raiders
The Marine Raiders were elite units established by the United States Marine Corps during World War II to conduct amphibious light infantry warfare, particularly in landing in rubber boats and operating behind the lines...

, which was controversial, while the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment
75th Ranger Regiment (United States)
The 75th Ranger Regiment , also known as Rangers, is a Special Operations light infantry unit of the United States Army. The Regiment is headquartered in Fort Benning, Georgia with battalions in Fort Benning, Hunter Army Airfield and Joint Base Lewis-McChord...

, born in World War II, enjoys high prestige to this day. While the Army has a longer tradition of special operations forces, Marines joined the Special Operations Command
United States Special Operations Command
The United States Special Operations Command is the Unified Combatant Command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Commands of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States Armed Forces. The command is part of the Department of Defense...

 with the establishment of MCSOCOM Detachment One
MCSOCOM Detachment One
Marine Corps Special Operations Command Detachment One , was a pilot program to assess the value of Marine special operations forces permanently detached to the United States Special Operations Command. It was commanded by Col. Robert J. Coates, former commanding officer of 1st Force Reconnaissance...

 in 2003.

The Marines often leverage the Army's acquisition of ground equipment (as well as benefiting from Army research and development resources), training resources, and other support concepts. The majority of vehicles and weapons are shared with, modified, or inherited from Army programs.

Culturally, Marines and soldiers share most of the common U.S. military slang and terminology, but the Corps utilizes a large number of naval terms
Glossary of nautical terms
This is a glossary of nautical terms; some remain current, many date from the 17th-19th century. See also Wiktionary's nautical terms, :Category:Nautical terms, and Nautical metaphors in English.- A :...

 and traditions incompatible with the Army lifestyle, as well as their own unique vernacular. Many Marines regard their culture
Culture of the United States Marine Corps
The Culture of the United States Marine Corps is widely varied, but unique amongst the branches of the United States armed forces. Because its members are drawn from across the United States , it is as varied as each individual Marine, but tied together with core values and traditions passed from...

 to have a deeper warrior tradition, with the ethos that every Marine is a rifleman and emphasis on cross-training and combat readiness despite actual job, be it infantry or otherwise. One source states Marines tend to decentralize and push leadership to lower levels, while fostering initiative to a greater degree.

United States Navy


The Marine Corps' counterpart under the Department of the Navy is the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

. As a result, the Navy and Marine Corps have a close relationship, more so than with other branches of the military. Whitepapers and promotional literature have commonly used the phrase "Navy-Marine Corps Team", or refer to "the Naval Service". Both the Chief of Naval Operations
Chief of Naval Operations
The Chief of Naval Operations is a statutory office held by a four-star admiral in the United States Navy, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Navy. The office is a military adviser and deputy to the Secretary of the Navy...

 (CNO) and Commandant of the Marine Corps report directly to the Secretary of the Navy.

Cooperation between the two services really begins with the training and instruction of Marines. The Corps receives a significant portion of its officers from the United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 and Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps
Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps
The Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program is a college-based, commissioned officer training program of the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps.-Origins:...

 (NROTC). NROTC staff includes Marine instructors, while Marine drill instructor
Drill instructor
A drill instructor is a non-commissioned officer or Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in the armed forces or police forces with specific duties that vary by country. In the U.S. armed forces, they are assigned the duty of indoctrinating new recruits entering the military into the customs and...

s contribute to training of officers in the Navy's Officer Candidate School
Officer Candidate School (U.S. Navy)
The United States Navy's Officer Candidate School, currently located at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, provides training to become a commissioned officer. Attendance is one possible way for civilian college graduates with no military experience to earn a commission as a U.S. Navy officer...

. Marine aviators
United States Marine Corps Aviation
United States Marine Corps Aviation is the air component of the United States Marine Corps. Marine aviation has a very different mission and operation than its ground counterpart, and thus, has many of its own histories, traditions, terms, and procedures....

 are trained in the Naval Aviation training pipeline and are winged as Naval Aviators
United States Naval Aviator
A United States Naval Aviator is a qualified pilot in the United States Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.-Naming Conventions:Most Naval Aviators are Unrestricted Line Officers; however, a small number of Limited Duty Officers and Chief Warrant Officers are also trained as Naval Aviators.Until 1981...

.
Training alongside each other is viewed as critical, as the Navy provides transport, logistical, and combat support to put Marine units into the fight, for example, the Maritime Prepositioning ship
Maritime Prepositioning ship
The 31 Maritime Prepositioning Ships are part of the United States Military Sealift Command's Prepositioning Program. They are strategically positioned around the globe to support the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Defense Logistics Agency...

s and naval gunfire support
Naval gunfire support
Naval gunfire support is the use of naval artillery to provide fire support for amphibious assault and other troops operating within their range. NGFS is one of a number of disciplines encompassed by the term Naval Fires...

. Most Marine aviation assets ultimately derive from the Navy, with regard to acquisition, funding, and testing, and Navy aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

s typically deploy with a Marine squadron alongside Navy squadrons. Marines do not recruit or train noncombatants such as chaplain
Chaplain
Traditionally, a chaplain is a minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam or lay representative of a religion attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, police department, university, or private chapel...

s or medical/dental personnel; naval personnel fill these roles. Some of these sailors, particularly Hospital Corpsmen and Religious Programs Specialist
Religious Programs Specialist
Religious Program Specialist is a United States Navy occupational rating. Religious Program Specialists assist Navy chaplains. Religious program specialists provide support to Navy chaplains in developing programs to meet the needs of Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel and their families...

s, generally wear Marine uniforms emblazoned with Navy insignia. Conversely, the Marine Corps is responsible for conducting land operations to support naval campaigns, including the seizure of naval and air bases. Both services operate a network security team in conjunction.

Marines and Sailors share many naval traditions, especially terminology and customs. Marine Corps Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

 recipients wear the Navy variant of this and other awards; and with few exceptions, the awards and badges of the Navy and Marine Corps are identical. Much of testing for new Marine Corps aircraft is done at NAS Patuxent River. The Navy's Blue Angels
Blue Angels
The United States Navy's Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the Blue Angels, was formed in 1946 and is currently the oldest formal flying aerobatic team...

 flight demonstration team is staffed by both Navy and Marine officers and enlisted men, and includes a Marine C-130 Hercules
C-130 Hercules
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport...

 aircraft.

In 2007, the Marine Corps joined with the Navy and Coast Guard to adopt a new maritime strategy called A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower
A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower
A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower is the United States' newest maritime strategy. It was presented by the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandants of the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard at the International Seapower Symposium at the U.S. Naval War College in...

that raises the notion of prevention of war to the same philosophical level as the conduct of war. This new strategy charts a course for the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps to work collectively with each other and international partners to prevent regional crises, man-made or natural, from occurring or reacting quickly should one occur to avoid negative impacts to the United States.

The Marines have reduced the requirement for large amphibious ships from 42 to a bare minimum of 33 ships; the fleet currently stands at 29 ships and is likely to shrink in the future.

United States Air Force



While the majority of Marine aviation
United States Marine Corps Aviation
United States Marine Corps Aviation is the air component of the United States Marine Corps. Marine aviation has a very different mission and operation than its ground counterpart, and thus, has many of its own histories, traditions, terms, and procedures....

 assets ultimately derive from the Navy, some support is drawn from the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

. The Marine Corps makes extensive use of the Air Mobility Command
Air Mobility Command
Air Mobility Command is a Major Command of the U.S. Air Force. AMC is headquartered at Scott AFB, Illinois, east of St. Louis....

 to airlift
Airlift
Airlift is the act of transporting people or cargo from point to point using aircraft.Airlift may also refer to:*Airlift , a suction device for moving sand and silt underwater-See also:...

 Marines and equipment.

The Air Force traditionally provides the Joint Force Air Component Commander who controls "sorties for air defense, and long range interdiction and reconnaissance" while the MAGTF commander retains control of the Marines' organic aviation assets.

The Marines provide some ground training for Air Force ground personnel, but most is handled by the Army.

Air-ground task forces


Today, the basic framework for deployable Marine units is the Marine Air-Ground Task Force
Marine Air-Ground Task Force
The Marine Air-Ground Task Force is a term used by the United States Marine Corps to describe the principal organization for all missions across the range of military operations. MAGTFs are a balanced air-ground, combined arms task organization of Marine Corps forces under a single commander that...

 (MAGTF), a flexible structure of varying size. A MAGTF integrates a ground combat element
Ground combat element
In the United States Marine Corps, the Ground combat element is the land force of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force . It provides power projection and force for the MAGTF.-Role within the MAGTF:...

 (GCE), an aviation combat element
Aviation combat element
In the United States Marine Corps, the aviation combat element or air combat element is the air arm of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force . It provides rotary-wing, tiltrotor, and fixed-wing aircraft, support equipment, pilots, maintenance personnel, as well as command and control assets to the...

 (ACE), and a logistics combat element
Logistics Combat Element
In the United States Marine Corps, the Logistics Combat Element , formerly combat service support element, is the portion of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force responsible with providing logistical support...

 (LCE) under a common command element
Command element (United States Marine Corps)
In the United States Marine Corps, the command element or CE is the command and control force of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force . It provides C3I for the MAGTF.-Role within the MAGTF:...

 (CE), capable of operating independently or as part of a larger coalition. The MAGTF structure reflects a strong tradition in the Corps towards self-sufficiency and a commitment to combined arms
Combined arms
Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different branches of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects...

, both essential assets to an expeditionary force
Expeditionary warfare
Expeditionary warfare is used to describe the organization of a state's military to fight abroad, especially when deployed to fight away from its established bases at home or abroad. Expeditionary forces were in part the antecedent of the modern concept of Rapid Deployment Forces...

 often called upon to act independently in discrete, time-sensitive situations. The history of the Marine Corps as well has led to a wariness of overreliance on its sister services, and towards joint operations in general.

A MAGTF varies in size from the smallest, a Marine Expeditionary Unit
Marine Expeditionary Unit
A Marine expeditionary unit , formerly called Marine amphibious unit , is the smallest Marine air-ground task force in the United States Fleet Marine Force...

 (MEU), based around a reinforced infantry battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 and a composite squadron
Squadron (aviation)
A squadron in air force, army aviation or naval aviation is mainly a unit comprising a number of military aircraft, usually of the same type, typically with 12 to 24 aircraft, sometimes divided into three or four flights, depending on aircraft type and air force...

, up to the largest, a Marine Expeditionary Force
Marine Expeditionary Force
A Marine Expeditionary Force or MEF is the largest type of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force...

 (MEF), which ties together a Division
Division (military)
A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

, an Air Wing
Wing (air force unit)
Wing is a term used by different military aviation forces for a unit of command. The terms wing, group or Staffel are used for different-sized units from one country or service to another....

, and a Logistics Group under a MEF Headquarters Group. The seven MEUs constantly rotate between themselves and their attached components to maintain a high state of readiness. Each MEU is rated as capable of performing special operations
Special forces
Special forces, or special operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform...

. The three MEFs contain the vast majority of active duty deployable forces.

Special warfare


Although the notion of a Marine special forces contribution to the United States Special Operations Command
United States Special Operations Command
The United States Special Operations Command is the Unified Combatant Command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Commands of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States Armed Forces. The command is part of the Department of Defense...

 (USSOCOM) was considered as early as the founding of USSOCOM in the 1980s, it was resisted by the Marine Corps. Then-Commandant Paul X. Kelley
Paul X. Kelley
General Paul Xavier Kelley was the twenty-eighth Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, from July 1, 1983 to June 30, 1987....

 expressed the popular belief that Marines should support Marines, and that the Corps should not fund a special warfare capability that would not support Marine operations. However, much of the resistance from within the Corps dissipated when Marine leaders watched the Corps' 15th and 26th MEU(SOC)s "sit on the sidelines" during the very early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom while other special operations units actively engaged in operations in Afghanistan. After a three-year development period, the Corps agreed in 2006 to supply a 2,500-strong unit, Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC), which would answer directly to USSOCOM.

Personnel



Leadership


As stated above, the Commandant of the Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps
The Commandant of the Marine Corps is normally the highest ranking officer in the United States Marine Corps and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff...

 is the highest-ranking officer of the Marine Corps; though he may not be the senior officer by time in grade
Pay grade
Pay grades are used by the uniformed services of the United States to determine wages and benefits based on the corresponding military rank of a member of the services...

 and/or position of office
Billet
A billet is a term for living quarters to which a soldier is assigned to sleep. Historically, it referred to a private dwelling that was required to accept the soldier....

. He is both the symbolic and functional head of the Corps, and holds a position of very high esteem among Marines. The Commandant has the U.S. Code Title 10
Title 10 of the United States Code
Title 10 of the United States Code outlines the role of armed forces in the United States Code.It provides the legal basis for the roles, missions and organization of each of the services as well as the United States Department of Defense...

 responsibility to man, train, and equip the Marine Corps. He does not serve as a direct battlefield commander. The Commandant is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters...

, and reports to the Secretary of the Navy
United States Secretary of the Navy
The Secretary of the Navy of the United States of America is the head of the Department of the Navy, a component organization of the Department of Defense...

.

The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps is the second highest ranking officer in the United States Marine Corps, and serves as a deputy for the Commandant of the Marine Corps...

 acts as a deputy to the Commandant. The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is a unique non-commissioned rank and billet in the United States Marine Corps....

 is the senior enlisted Marine, and acts as an advisor to the Commandant. Headquarters Marine Corps
Headquarters Marine Corps
Headquarters Marine Corps is a headquarters staff within the Department of the Navy which includes the offices of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and various staff functions...

 comprises the rest of the Commandant's counsel and staff, with deputy Commandants that oversee various aspects of the Corps assets and capabilities.

The current and 35th Commandant is James F. Amos
James F. Amos
James F. Amos is a four-star general in the United States Marine Corps and the 35th and current Commandant of the Marine Corps. A naval aviator by trade, Amos commanded the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2004. He served as the 31st Assistant Commandant of the...

, who assumed the position on 22 October 2010 and vacated the office of Assistant Commandant. The 32nd and current Assistant Commandant is Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.
Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.
Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. is a four-star general in the United States Marine Corps and the 32nd and current Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. He previously commanded several units, and is noted for leading the 5th Marine Regiment during the 2003 invasion of Iraq...

, while the 17th and current Sergeant Major is Micheal P. Barrett
Micheal Barrett
Micheal P. Barrett is the 17th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps replacing Carlton W. Kent on June 9, 2011. As the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Barrett is the highest ranking noncommissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps.-Biography:...

. Other Marine generals may be senior to the Commandant or Assistant Commandant in terms of time in grade and/or billet.

Rank structure


As in the rest of the United States military, Marine Corps ranks
Military rank
Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines. Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms...

 fall into one of three categories: commissioned officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

, warrant officer
Warrant Officer (United States)
In the United States military, the rank of warrant officer is rated as an officer above the senior-most enlisted ranks, as well as officer cadets and candidates, but below the officer grade of O-1...

, and enlisted, in decreasing order of authority (excluding the Air Force, which does not currently appoint warrant officers). To standardize compensation, each rank is assigned a pay grade
Pay grade
Pay grades are used by the uniformed services of the United States to determine wages and benefits based on the corresponding military rank of a member of the services...

.

Commissioned officers


Commissioned officers are distinguished from other officers by their commission
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

, which is the formal written authority, issued in the name of the President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, that confers the rank and authority of a Marine officer. Commissioned officers carry the "special trust and confidence" of the President of the United States.
U.S. DoD Pay Grade O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7 O-8 O-9 O-10
Insignia
Title Second Lieutenant First Lieutenant Captain Major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.The pay...

Colonel
Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

Brigadier General
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

Major General
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

General
General (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

Abbreviation 2ndLt 1stLt Capt Maj LtCol Col BGen MajGen LtGen Gen
NATO Code OF-1 OF-2 OF-3 OF-4 OF-5 OF-6 OF-7 OF-8 OF-9

Warrant officers



Warrant officers are primarily former enlisted experts in a specific specialized field and provide leadership generally only within that speciality.
U.S. DoD Pay Grade W-1 W-2 W-3 W-4 W-5
Insignia
Title Warrant Officer 1 Chief Warrant Officer 2 Chief Warrant Officer 3 Chief Warrant Officer 4 Chief Warrant Officer 5
Abbreviation WO1 CWO2 CWO3 CWO4 CWO5
NATO Code WO-1 WO-2 WO-3 WO-4 WO-5

Enlisted


Enlisted Marines in the pay grades E-1 to E-3 make up the bulk of the Corps' ranks, usually referred to simply as "Marines". Although they do not technically hold leadership ranks, the Corps' ethos stresses leadership among all Marines, and junior Marines are often assigned responsibility normally reserved for superiors. Those in the pay grades of E-4 and E-5 are non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

s (NCOs). They primarily supervise junior Marines and act as a vital link with the higher command structure, ensuring that orders are carried out correctly. Marines E-6 and higher are Staff Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs), charged with supervising NCOs and acting as enlisted advisors to the command.

The E-8 and E-9 levels each have two ranks per pay grade, each with different responsibilities. The First Sergeant and Sergeant Major ranks are command-oriented, serving as the senior enlisted Marines in a unit, charged to assist the commanding officer in matters of discipline, administration and the morale and welfare of the unit. Master Sergeants and Master Gunnery Sergeants provide technical leadership as occupational specialists in their specific MOS.

The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is a unique non-commissioned rank and billet in the United States Marine Corps....

 is a unique rank and billet conferred on the senior enlisted Marine of the entire Marine Corps, personally selected by the Commandant.

Different forms of address can be found at United States Marine Corps rank insignia
United States Marine Corps rank insignia
Marine ranks in descending order, with tables indicating abbreviations in the style used by the United States Marine Corps, pay grades, and rank insignia:-Commissioned Officers:...

 and List of United States Marine Corps acronyms and expressions.
U.S. DoD Pay grade E-1 E-2 E-3 E-4 E-5 E-6 E-7 E-8 E-9
Insignia No insignia
Title Private Private
First Class
Lance
Corporal
Corporal Sergeant Staff
Sergeant
Gunnery
Sergeant
Gunnery Sergeant
Gunnery Sergeant is the seventh enlisted rank in the United States Marine Corps, just above Staff Sergeant and below Master Sergeant and First Sergeant, and is a staff non-commissioned officer...

Master
Sergeant
First
Sergeant
Master Gunnery
Sergeant
Master Gunnery Sergeant
Master Gunnery Sergeant is the ninth and highest enlisted rank in the United States Marine Corps...

Sergeant
Major
Sergeant Major
of the Marine Corps
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is a unique non-commissioned rank and billet in the United States Marine Corps....

Abbreviation Pvt PFC LCpl Cpl Sgt SSgt GySgt MSgt 1stSgt MGySgt SgtMaj SgtMajMarCor
NATO Code OR-1 OR-2 OR-3 OR-4 OR-5 OR-6 OR-7 OR-8 OR-9

Military Occupational Specialty



The Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is a system of job classification. Using a four digit code, it designates what field and specific occupation a Marine performs. Segregated between officer and enlisted, the MOS determines the staffing of a unit. Some MOSs change with rank to reflect supervisory positions, others are secondary and represent a temporary assignment outside of a Marine's normal duties or special skill.


Initial training


Every year, over 2,000 new Marine officers are commissioned, and 38,000 recruits accepted and trained. All new Marines, enlisted or officer, are recruited
Military recruitment
Military recruitment is the act of requesting people, usually male adults, to join a military voluntarily. Involuntary military recruitment is known as conscription. Many countries that have abolished conscription use military recruiters to persuade people to join, often at an early age. To...

 by the Marine Corps Recruiting Command
Marine Corps Recruiting Command
The Marine Corps Recruiting Command is a command of the United States Marine Corps responsible for military recruitment of civilians into the Corps...

.

Commissioned officers are commissioned mainly through one of three sources: Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps
Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps
The Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program is a college-based, commissioned officer training program of the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps.-Origins:...

 (NROTC), Officer Candidates School
Officer Candidates School (United States Marine Corps)
The United States Marine Corps Officer Candidates School is the entry-level training for Marine officers, equivalent to recruit training for enlisted Marines. Located at Marine Corps Base Quantico, the school trains, screens, and evaluates potential Marine Corps officers...

 (OCS), or the United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 (USNA). Following commissioning, all Marine commissioned officers, regardless of accession route or further training requirements, attend The Basic School (TBS) at Marine Corps Base Quantico
Marine Corps Base Quantico
Marine Corps Base Quantico, sometimes abbreviated MCB Quantico, is a major United States Marine Corps training base located near Triangle, Virginia, covering nearly in southern Prince William County, northern Stafford County, and southeastern Fauquier County...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. At TBS, second lieutenants, warrant officers, and selected foreign officers learn the art of infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 and combined arms
Combined arms
Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different branches of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects...

 warfare.

Enlisted Marines attend recruit training
United States Marine Corps Recruit Training
United States Marine Corps Recruit Training, commonly known as "boot camp", is a program of initial training that each recruit must successfully complete in order to join the United States Marine Corps...

, known as boot camp
United States Marine Corps Recruit Training
United States Marine Corps Recruit Training, commonly known as "boot camp", is a program of initial training that each recruit must successfully complete in order to join the United States Marine Corps...

, at either Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego is a United States Marine Corps military installation in San Diego, California. It lies between San Diego Bay and Interstate 5, adjacent to San Diego International Airport and the former Naval Training Center San Diego...

 or Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island is an military installation located within Port Royal, South Carolina, approximately south of Beaufort, the community that is typically associated with the installation. MCRD Parris Island is used for the training of enlisted Marines...

. Historically, the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 served as the dividing line which delineated who would be trained where, while more recently, a district system has ensured a more even distribution of male recruits between the two MCRD facilities. Females attend only the Parris Island depot as part of the segregated Fourth Recruit Training Battalion. All recruits must pass a fitness test to start training; those who fail receive individualized attention and training until the minimum standards are reached. Marine recruit training is the longest among the American military services; it is 13 weeks long, compared to the Army's 10 weeks or the Navy's 9 weeks.

Following recruit training, enlisted Marines then attend School of Infantry
United States Marine Corps School of Infantry
The School of Infantry is the second stage of initial military training for enlisted United States Marines after Recruit Training. Since the initial training pipeline is divided between coasts, Marines from areas east of the Mississippi River usually graduate from MCRD Parris Island and move on to...

 training at Camp Geiger
Camp Geiger
Camp Geiger is a United States Marine Corps Base. Although not geographically connected, Camp Geiger is part of the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune complex, and is home to the United States Marine Corps School of Infantry East for all Marines recruited through the Eastern Recruiting Region. Located...

 or Camp Pendleton
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps and serves as its prime amphibious training base...

. Infantry Marines begin their combat training, which varies in length, immediately with the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB). Marines in all other MOSs other than infantry train for 29 days in Marine Combat Training (MCT), learning common infantry skills, before continuing on to their MOS schools which vary in length.

Uniforms



The Marine Corps has the most stable and most recognizable uniforms in the American military; the Blue Dress dates back to the early 19th century and the service uniform to the early 20th century. Marines' uniforms are distinct in their simplicity; Marines do not wear unit patches or United States flags
Flag of the United States
The national flag of the United States of America consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars alternating with rows...

 on any of their uniforms, nor name tags on their service and formal uniforms. Only a handful of skills (parachutist, air crew, explosive ordnance disposal, etc.) warrant distinguishing badges
Badges of the United States Marine Corps
Insignia and badges of the United States Marine Corps are military "badges" issued by the United States Department of the Navy to Marines who achieve certain qualifications and accomplishments while serving on both active and reserve duty in the United States Marine Corps.As described in Chapters 4...

, and rank insignia is not worn on uniform headgear (with the exception of an officer's garrison service cover). While other servicemembers commonly identify with a sub-group as much as or more than their service (Ranger
Ranger Tab
The Ranger Tab is a service school military decoration of the United States Army signifying completion of the 61-day long Ranger School course in small-unit infantry combat tactics in woodland, mountain, and swamp operations. In December 2009 a British NCO earned the Ranger tab...

, submariner
Submarine Warfare insignia
The Submarine Warfare Insignia is a uniform breast pin worn by enlisted men and officers of the United States Navy to indicate that they are qualified in submarines. The Submarine Warfare Insignia is considered one of the Navy's three major warfare pins along with the Surface Warfare Badge and...

, aircrew, etc.), Marine uniforms do not reflect such division.

Marines have three main uniforms: Dress, Service, and Utility. The Marine Corps Dress uniform
Dress uniform
Dress uniform , is the most formal military uniform, typically worn at ceremonies, official receptions, and other special occasions; with order insignias and full size medals...

is the most elaborate, worn for formal or ceremonial occasions. There are three different forms of the Dress uniform, the most common being the Blue Dress Uniform, called "Dress Blues" or simply "Blues". It is most often seen in recruiting advertisements and is equivalent to black tie
Black tie
Black tie is a dress code for evening events and social functions. For a man, the main component is a usually black jacket, known as a dinner jacket or tuxedo...

. There is a "Blue-White" Dress for summer, and Evening Dress
Mess dress
Mess dress is the military term for the formal evening dress worn in the mess or at other formal occasions. It is also known as mess uniform and mess kit...

 for formal (white tie
White tie
White tie is the most formal evening dress code in Western fashion. It is worn to ceremonial occasions such as state dinners in some countries, as well as to very formal balls and evening weddings...

) occasions. Versions with a khaki shirt in lieu of the coat are worn as a daily working uniform by Marine recruiters.

The Service Uniform was once the prescribed daily work attire in garrison; however, it has been largely superseded in this role by the utility uniform. Consisting of olive green and khaki colors, it is commonly referred to as "Greens". It is roughly equivalent in function and composition to a business suit
Suit (clothing)
In clothing, a suit is a set of garments made from the same cloth, consisting of at least a jacket and trousers. Lounge suits are the most common style of Western suit, originating in the United Kingdom as country wear...

.

The Utility Uniform, currently the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform
Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform
The Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform is the current battledress uniform of the United States Marine Corps. It is also worn by Navy personnel assigned to Marine Corps units . Field testing began in 2001, the uniform debuted in 2002, and the changeover was completed in October 2004...

, is a camouflage uniform intended for wear in the field or for dirty work in garrison, though it has now been standardized for regular duty. It is rendered in a distinctive MARPAT
MARPAT
MARPAT is a digital camouflage pattern in use with the United States Marine Corps, introduced with the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform , which replaced the Camouflage Utility Uniform. The pattern is formed by a number of small rectangular pixels of color...

 pixelated camouflage
Camouflage
Camouflage is a method of concealment that allows an otherwise visible animal, military vehicle, or other object to remain unnoticed, by blending with its environment. Examples include a leopard's spotted coat, the battledress of a modern soldier and a leaf-mimic butterfly...

 (sometimes referred to as digitals or digies) that breaks up the wearer's shape, and serves to distinguish Marine uniforms from those of other services. In garrison, the woodland uniform is worn in winter, and the desert uniform is worn in summer. Marines consider the utilities a working uniform and do not permit their wear off-base, except in transit to and from their place of duty and in the event of an emergency. This, too, distinguishes them from other services, which have less stringent restrictions.

Culture



As in any military organization, the official and unofficial traditions of the Marine Corps serve to reinforce camaraderie and set the service apart from others. The Corps' embrace of its rich culture and history is cited as a reason for its high esprit de corps.


Official traditions and customs



The Marines' Hymn
Marines' Hymn
The "Marines' Hymn" is the official hymn of the United States Marine Corps. It is the oldest official song in the United States military. The "Marines' Hymn" is typically sung at the position of attention as a gesture of respect...

dates back to the 19th century and is the oldest official song in the United States armed forces. The Marine motto Semper Fidelis
Semper fidelis
Semper Fidelis is Latin for "Always Faithful" or "Always Loyal". Well known in the United States as the motto of the United States Marine Corps , Semper Fidelis has served as a slogan for many families and entities, in many countries, dated to have been started no later than the 16th century...

means always faithful in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, often appearing as Semper Fi; also the name of the official march of the Corps
Semper Fidelis (march)
"Semper Fidelis", which was written in 1888 by John Philip Sousa, is regarded as the official march of the United States Marine Corps. This piece was one of two composed in response to a request from United States President Chester Arthur for a new piece to be associated with the United States...

, composed by John Phillip Sousa. The mottos "Fortitudine" (With Fortitude); By Sea and by Land, a translation of the Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

' Per Mare, Per Terram; and To the Shores of Tripoli were used until 1868. The Marine Corps emblem is the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor
Eagle, Globe, and Anchor
The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor is the official emblem and insignia of the United States Marine Corps. The current emblem traces its roots in the designs and ornaments of the early Continental Marines as well as the British Royal Marines. The present emblem, adopted in 1966, differs from the emblem of...

, sometimes abbreviated "EGA", adopted in 1868. The Marine Corps seal includes the emblem, also is found on the flag of the United States Marine Corps
Flag of the United States Marine Corps
The Flag of the United States Marine Corps is the flag used to represent the Marine Corps, as well as units and formations of the Corps.-Official Battle Color of the Marine Corps:...

, and establishes scarlet and gold as the official colors.

Two styles of swords are worn by Marines: the officers' Mameluke Sword
Mameluke Sword
A Mameluke sword is a cross-hilted, curved, scimitar-like sword historically derived from sabres used by Mamluk warriors of Mamluk Egypt from whom the sword derives its name. It is related to the shamshir, which had its origins in Persia from where the style migrated to India, Egypt and North...

, similar to the Persian shamshir
Shamshir
A Shamshir also Shamsheer and Chimchir, is a type of sabre with a curve that is considered radical for a sword: 5 to 15 degrees from tip to tip. The name is derived from Persian شمشیر shamshīr, which means "sword"...

 presented to Lt. Presley O'Bannon
Presley O'Bannon
Presley Neville O’Bannon was an officer in the United States Marine Corps, famous for his exploits in the First Barbary War. In recognition of his bravery, he was presented a sword for his part in attempting to restore Prince Hamet Karamanli to his throne at Tripoli...

 after the Battle of Derna
Battle of Derna
The Battle of Derne was a decisive victory of a mercenary army led by a detachment of United States Marines and soldiers over pirate forces along the Barbary coast nation of Tripoli during the First Barbary War...

, and the Marine NCO sword. The Marine Corps Birthday
United States Marine Corps birthday ball
The United States Marine Corps Birthday is celebrated every year on the 10th of November with a traditional ball and cake-cutting ceremony.-Historical birthday:...

is celebrated every year on 10 November in a cake-cutting ceremony where the first slice of cake is given to the oldest Marine present, who in turn hands it off to the youngest Marine present. The celebration includes a reading of Marine Corps Order 47, Commandant Lejeune's
John A. Lejeune
Lieutenant General John Archer Lejeune, was the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Known as the "greatest of all Leathernecks" and the "Marine's Marine", he served for nearly 40 years. His service included commanding the U.S...

 Birthday Message. Close Order Drill is heavily emphasized early on in a Marine's initial training, incorporated into most formal events, and is used to teach discipline by instilling habits of precision and automatic response to orders, increase the confidence of junior officers and noncommissioned officers through the exercise of command and give Marines an opportunity to handle individual weapons.

An important part of the Marine Corps culture is the traditional seafaring naval terminology
Glossary of nautical terms
This is a glossary of nautical terms; some remain current, many date from the 17th-19th century. See also Wiktionary's nautical terms, :Category:Nautical terms, and Nautical metaphors in English.- A :...

 derived from its history with the Navy.

Unofficial traditions and customs


Marines have several generic nickname
Nickname
A nickname is "a usually familiar or humorous but sometimes pointed or cruel name given to a person or place, as a supposedly appropriate replacement for or addition to the proper name.", or a name similar in origin and pronunciation from the original name....

s:
  • Devil Dog
    Devil Dog
    Teufel Hunden, a mistranslation of Devil Dogs in German, is a motivational nickname for a U.S. Marine.-U.S. Marine Corps legends:...

    has several oft-disputed explanations, but the tradition has expanded to include the bulldog
    Bulldog
    Bulldog is the name for a breed of dog commonly referred to as the English Bulldog. Other Bulldog breeds include the American Bulldog, Olde English Bulldogge and the French Bulldog. The Bulldog is a muscular heavy dog with a wrinkled face and a distinctive pushed-in nose...

    's association with the Corps, especially as a mascot.
  • gyrene has dropped out of popular use.
  • Leatherneck
    Leatherneck
    Leatherneck is a military slang term for a member of the United States Marine Corps. Now accepted by Webster as a synonym for Marine, the term "Leatherneck" was derived from a leather stock once worn around the neck by both American and British Marines—and soldiers also. Beginning in 1798, "one...

    refers to a leather collar formerly part of the Marine uniform during the Revolutionary War period.
  • Jarhead
    Jarhead
    Jarhead is a nickname for United States Marines personnel, due to their regulation high and tight haircutJarhead may also refer to:* Jarhead , US Marine Anthony Swofford's 2003 Gulf War memoir...

    has several oft-disputed explanations.

Some other unofficial traditions include mottos and exclamations:
  • Oorah is common among Marines, being similar in function and purpose to the Army's hooah
    Hooah
    Hooah is a U.S. Army and a Canadian Armybattle cry used by soldiers and also in use by the U.S. Air Force airmen "referring to or meaning anything and everything except no."-Usage:Some popular usages of HUA include:...

     and the Navy's hooyah
    Hooyah
    Hooyah is the war cry or battle cry used by the United States Navy SEALs, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Teams, and Navy Deep Sea Divers. Recently, the US Navy as a whole has adopted it as a result of MCPON Rick West's regular use of the saying...

     cries. Many possible etymologies
    Etymology
    Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

     have been offered for the term.
  • Semper Fi, Mac was a common and preferred form of greeting in times past.
  • Improvise, Adapt and Overcome has become an adopted mantra in many units.

Veteran Marines


The ethos that "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" has led to the objection to the use of the term "ex-Marine", leading to myriad forms of address for those no longer on active duty:
  • "Marine", since the title is permanent, once earned.
  • "Veteran Marine" or "Prior-service Marine" can refer to anyone who has been discharged from the Corps.
  • "Retired Marine" refers to those who have completed 20 or more years of service and formally retired, or have been medically retired.
  • "Former Marine" is considered acceptable among those who are honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps.
  • "Sir" or "Ma'am" is appropriate out of respect.
  • According to one of the "Commandant's White letters" from Commandant Alfred M. Gray, Jr.
    Alfred M. Gray, Jr.
    Alfred M. Gray, Jr. , is a retired United States Marine Corps general who served as the twenty-ninth Commandant of the Marine Corps from 1987-91. He retired from the Corps in 1991 after 41 years of service.-Personal:Alfred M. Gray, Jr...

    , referring to a Marine by their last earned rank is appropriate.
  • Marines that have left service with a less than full honorable discharge might still be considered Marines (depending on the view of the individual), however that title is in keeping with a stigma, and many will avoid the issue altogether by addressing the individual by name with no other title.



Martial arts program



In 2001, the Marine Corps initiated an internally designed martial arts
Martial arts
Martial arts are extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat, practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development....

 program, called Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP). Due to an expectation that urban and police-type peacekeeping
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

 missions would become more common in the 21st century, placing Marines in even closer contact with unarmed civilians, MCMAP was implemented to provide Marines with a larger and more versatile set of less-than-lethal options for controlling hostile, but unarmed individuals. It is a stated aim of the program to instill and maintain the "Warrior Ethos" within Marines. The Marine Corps Martial Arts program is an eclectic mix of different styles of martial arts melded together. MCMAP consists of open-palm punches and kicks from Taekwondo
Taekwondo
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon means "to strike or break with fist"; and do means "way", "method", or "path"...

 and Karate
Karate
is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa, Japan. It was developed from indigenous fighting methods called and Chinese kenpō. Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands. Grappling, locks,...

, opponent weight transfer from Jujitsu, ground grappling involving joint lock
Joint lock
A Joint lock is a grappling technique involving manipulation of an opponent's joints in such a way that the joints reach their maximal degree of motion....

ing techniques and chokes
Chokehold
A chokehold or choke is a general term for grappling hold that critically reduces or prevents either air or blood from passing through the neck of an opponent. The restriction may be of one or both and depends on the hold used and the reaction of the victim...

 from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and a mix of knife and baton/stick fighting derived from Eskrima
Eskrima
Eskrima is the umbrella term for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines, which emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives and other bladed weapons, and various improvised weapons...

, and elbow strikes and kick boxing from Muay Thai
Muay Thai
Muay Thai is a combat sport from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. It is similar to other Indochinese kickboxing systems, namely pradal serey from Cambodia, tomoi from Malaysia, lethwei from Myanmar and muay Lao from Laos...

. Marines begin MCMAP training in boot camp, where they will earn the first of five available belts.

Equipment




Infantry weapons


The basic infantry weapon of the Marine Corps is the M16 assault rifle
M16 rifle
The M16 is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle adapted for both semi-automatic and full-automatic fire. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 from ArmaLite, and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle. The M16 fires the 5.56×45mm NATO...

 family, with a majority of Marines being equipped with the M16A2 or M16A4 service rifles (the M16A2 is being phased out). The M4 carbine
M4 carbine
The M4 carbine is a family of firearms tracing its lineage back to earlier carbine versions of the M16, all based on the original AR-15 designed by Eugene Stoner and made by ArmaLite. It is a shorter and lighter variant of the M16A2 assault rifle, with 80% parts commonality.It is a gas-operated,...

, a compact variant of the M16, has been issued. The standard side arm
Side arm
A side arm is a weapon, usually a pistol but can be a dagger, as used in pre-modern times, which is worn on the body in a holster to permit immediate access and use. A side arm is typically required equipment for military personnel and sometimes carried by law enforcement personnel...

 is the M9A1 pistol
M9 Pistol
The Beretta M9, formally Pistol, Semiautomatic, 9mm, M9, is a 9×19mm Parabellum pistol of the United States military adopted in 1985. It is essentially a military specification Beretta 92F, later the 92FS....

. Suppressive fire is provided by the M249 SAW
M249 light machine gun
The M249 light machine gun , previously designated the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon , and formally written as Light Machine Gun, 5.56 mm, M249, is an American version of the Belgian FN Minimi, a light machine gun manufactured by the Belgian company FN Herstal . The M249 is manufactured in the...

 and M240 machine guns, at the squad and company levels respectively. In addition, indirect fire is provided by the M203 grenade launcher
M203 grenade launcher
The M203 is a single shot 40 mm grenade launcher designed to attach to a rifle. It uses the same rounds as the older M79 break-action grenade launcher, which utilize the High-Low Propulsion System to keep recoil forces low. Though versatile, and compatible with many rifle models, the M203 was...

 in fireteams, M224 60 mm mortar
M224 Mortar
The M224 60 mm Lightweight Mortar is a smooth bore, muzzle-loading, high-angle-of-fire weapon used for close-in support of ground troops.-Description:The M224 system is composed of the*M225 Cannon *M170 Bipod...

 in companies, and M252 81 mm mortar
M252 Mortar
The M252 81 mm medium weight mortar is an American smooth bore, muzzle-loading, high-angle-of-fire weapon used for long-range indirect fire support to light infantry, air assault, and airborne units across the entire front of a battalion zone of influence. In the U.S. Army and U.S...

 in battalions. The M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun and MK19 automatic grenade launcher (40 mm)
Mk 19 grenade launcher
The Mk 19 Grenade Launcher is a 40 mm belt-fed automatic grenade launcher or grenade machine gun that entered U.S. military service during the Cold War, first seeing action during the Vietnam War and remaining in service today.-Overview:...

 are available for use by dismounted infantry, though they are more commonly vehicle-mounted. Precision firepower is provided by the M40 series, and the Barrett M107, while designated marksmen
Designated marksman
The designated marksman is a military marksman role in a U.S. infantry squad. The term sniper was used in Soviet doctrine although the soldiers using the Dragunov were the first to use a specifically designed designated marksman's rifle. Sniper is also used in Russian doctrine...

 use the DMR (being replaced by the M39 EMR
M39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle
The M39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle is a semi-automatic, gas-operated rifle chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge. It is a modified and accurized version of the M14 rifle built and utilized solely by the United States Marine Corps...

), and the SAM-R.

The Marine Corps utilizes a variety of direct-fire rockets and missiles to provide infantry with an offensive and defensive anti-armor capability. The SMAW
Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon
The Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon is a shoulder-launched rocket weapon, based on the Israeli B-300, with the primary function of being a portable assault weapon and a secondary anti-armor rocket launcher. It was introduced to the United States armed forces in 1984...

 and AT4
AT4
The AT4 is an 84-mm unguided, portable, single-shot recoilless smoothbore weapon built in Sweden by Saab Bofors Dynamics...

 are unguided rockets
Shoulder-launched missile weapon
A shoulder-fired missile, shoulder-launched missile or man-portable missile is a projectile fired at a target, small enough to be carried by a single person, and fired while held on one's shoulder...

 that can destroy armor and fixed defenses (e.g., bunkers) at ranges up to 500 meters. The Predator SRAW, FGM-148 Javelin
FGM-148 Javelin
The FGM-148 Javelin is a United States-made man-portable third generation anti-tank missile fielded to replace the Dragon antitank missile.-Overview:Javelin is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance...

 and BGM-71 TOW
BGM-71 TOW
The BGM-71 TOW is an anti-tank missile. "BGM" is a weapon classification that stands for "Multiple Environment , Surface-Attack , Missile ". "TOW" is an acronym that stands for "Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire command data link, guided missile"...

 are anti-tank guided missile
Anti-tank guided missile
An anti-tank missile , anti-tank guided missile , anti-tank guided weapon or anti-armor guided weapon is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily-armored military vehicles....

s. The Javelin can utilize top-attack profiles to avoid heavy frontal armor. The Predator is a short-range fire-and-forget
Fire-and-forget
Fire-and-forget is a third-generation method of missile guidance. The military uses the term for a type of missile which does not require further guidance after launch such as illumination of the target or wire guidance , and can hit its target without the launcher being in line-of-sight of the...

 weapon; the Javelin and TOW are heavier missiles effective past 2,000 meters that give infantry an offensive capability against armor.


Ground vehicles


The Corps operates the same HMMWV and M1A1 Abrams
M1 Abrams
The M1 Abrams is a third-generation main battle tank produced in the United States. It is named after General Creighton Abrams, former Army Chief of Staff and Commander of US military forces in Vietnam from 1968 to 1972. The M1 is a well armed, heavily armored, and highly mobile tank designed for...

 tank as does the Army. However, for its specific needs, the Corps uses a number of unique vehicles. The LAV-25 is a dedicated wheeled armored personnel carrier, similar to the Army's Stryker
Stryker
The IAV Stryker is a family of eight-wheeled, 4-wheel-drive , armored fighting vehicles derived from the Canadian LAV III and produced by General Dynamics Land Systems, in use by the United States Army. The vehicle is named for two American servicemen who posthumously received the Medal of Honor:...

 vehicle, used to provide strategic mobility. Amphibious capability is provided by the AAV-7A1 Amphibious Assault Vehicle
Amphibious Assault Vehicle
The Assault Amphibious Vehicle —official designation AAV-7A1 is a fully tracked amphibious landing vehicle manufactured by U.S. Combat Systems .The AAV-7A1 is the current amphibious troop transport of the United States Marine Corps...

, an armored tracked vehicle that doubles as an armored personnel carrier, due to be replaced by the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle is an amphibious assault vehicle that was being developed for the U.S. Marine Corps. It is launched at sea, from an amphibious assault ship beyond the horizon, able to transport a full Marine rifle squad to shore...

, a faster vehicle with superior armor and weaponry. The threat of land mine
Land mine
A land mine is usually a weight-triggered explosive device which is intended to damage a target—either human or inanimate—by means of a blast and/or fragment impact....

s and improvised explosive device
Improvised explosive device
An improvised explosive device , also known as a roadside bomb, is a homemade bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action...

s in Iraq and Afghanistan has seen the Corps begin purchasing heavy armored vehicles that can better withstand the effects of these weapons as part of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle program
MRAP (armored vehicle)
A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected is a family of armored fighting vehicles design led by the United States Marine Corps in use by the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Special Operations Forces with the goal of surviving IED attacks and ambushes - prompted by US deaths in Iraq...

. The Marine Corps has ordered 1,960 MRAP vehicles, hoping to use them to replace HMMWVs
HMMWV replacement process
The Humvee replacement process, now being undertaken by the US Military is an effort to replace the current AM General Humvee. The Humvee has evolved several times since its introduction, and is now used in tactical roles for which it was never originally intended. The US Military is currently...

 and some Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement
Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement
Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement or 7-Ton, is a six-wheel drive all-terrain vehicle used by the United States Marine Corps and United States Navy....

s on patrols in Iraq. The Logistics Vehicle System Replacement
Logistics Vehicle System
The Logistics Vehicle System , is a modular assortment of eight-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles used by the United States Marine Corps....

 began replacing the Logistics Vehicle System in 2009.

Prior to 2005, the Marines operated exclusively tube artillery—the M198 155 mm howitzer
M198 howitzer
The M198 howitzer is a medium-sized, towed artillery piece, developed for service with the United States Army and Marine Corps. It was commissioned to be a lightweight replacement for the WWII era M114 155mm howitzer. It was designed and prototyped at the Rock Island Arsenal in 1969 with firing...

, now being replaced by the M777 155 mm howitzer
M777 howitzer
The M777 howitzer is a towed 155 mm artillery piece, successor to the M198 howitzer in the United States Marine Corps and United States Army. The M777 is also used by the Canadian Army, and has been in action in Afghanistan since February 2006 along with the associated GPS-guided Excalibur...

. However, the Corps has expanded its artillery composition to include the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), a truck-mounted rocket artillery system. Both are capable of firing guided munitions.

Aircraft



The organic aviation
United States Marine Corps Aviation
United States Marine Corps Aviation is the air component of the United States Marine Corps. Marine aviation has a very different mission and operation than its ground counterpart, and thus, has many of its own histories, traditions, terms, and procedures....

 capability of the Marine Corps is essential to its mission. The Corps operates both rotary-wing
Helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

 and fixed-wing aircraft
Fixed-wing aircraft
A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

 mainly to provide assault support
Assault Support
Assault Support is one of the six functions of United States Marine Corps aviation and comprises those actions required to airlift personnel, supplies or equipment into or within a battle area by helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft. It provides the Marine Air-Ground Task Force commander the...

 and close air support
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

 to its ground forces. However, other aircraft types are also used in a variety of support and special-purpose roles.

The light-attack and light transport capabilities are provided by AH-1W SuperCobras and UH-1N Hueys, slated to be replaced
H-1 upgrade program
The H-1 upgrade program refers to the United States Marine Corps's program to develop the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom to replace its aging fleets of AH-1W SuperCobras and UH-1N Twin Hueys. The former is a twin-engine attack helicopter, while the latter is a medium-sized utility helicopter, also...

 by the Bell AH-1Z Viper and the Bell UH-1Y Venom. Medium-lift squadrons flying the CH-46E Sea Knight and CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters are in the process of converting to the MV-22 Osprey, a tiltrotor
Tiltrotor
A tiltrotor is an aircraft which uses a pair or more of powered rotors mounted on rotating shafts or nacelles at the end of a fixed wing for lift and propulsion, and combines the vertical lift capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft...

 with superior range and speed. Heavy-lift squadrons are equipped with the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, eventually to be replaced with the upgraded CH-53K.

Marine attack squadrons fly the AV-8B Harrier II; while the fighter/attack mission is handled by the single-seat and dual-seat versions of the F/A-18 Hornet strike-fighter aircraft. The AV-8B is a V/STOL
V/STOL
Vertical and/or short take-off and landing is a term used to describe aircraft that are able to take-off or land vertically or on short runways. Vertical takeoff and landing describes craft which do not require runways at all...

 aircraft that can operate from amphibious assault ship
Amphibious assault ship
An amphibious assault ship is a type of amphibious warfare ship employed to land and support ground forces on enemy territory by an amphibious assault...

s, land air bases and short, expeditionary airfields, while the F/A-18 can only be flown from land or aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

s. Both are slated to be replaced by 340 of the STOVL
STOVL
STOVL is an acronym for short take off and vertical landing.This is the ability of some aircraft to take off from a short runway or take off vertically if it does not have a very heavy payload and land vertically...

 B version of the F-35 Lightning II, beginning training operations in 2008, and 80 of the carrier F-35C versions for deployment with Navy carrier air wing
Carrier air wing
A Carrier Air Wing is an operational naval aviation organization composed of several aircraft squadrons and detachments of various types of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft...

s.

In addition, the Corps operates its own organic aerial refueling
Aerial refueling
Aerial refueling, also called air refueling, in-flight refueling , air-to-air refueling or tanking, is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft to another during flight....

 and electronic warfare
Electronic warfare
Electronic warfare refers to any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack an enemy, or impede enemy assaults via the spectrum. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly...

 (EW) assets in the form of the KC-130 Hercules and EA-6B Prowler, respectively. The Hercules doubles as a ground refueller and tactical-airlift transport aircraft. The Prowler is one of only two active tactical electronic warfare aircraft left in the United States inventory, and has been labeled a "national asset"; frequently borrowed along with Navy Prowlers and EA-18G Growlers to assist in any American combat action since the retirement of the Air Force's own EW aircraft.

The Marines operate unmanned aerial vehicle
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

s: the RQ-7 Shadow and Scan Eagle for tactical reconnaissance.

Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 (VMFT-401
VMFT-401
Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 is a United States Marine Corps Reserve fighter squadron flying the F-5N Tiger II. Known as the "Snipers", the squadron is the only adversary squadron in the Marine Corps. They are based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and fall under the command of the 4th...

), operates F-5E, F-5F and F-5N Tiger II aircraft in support of air combat adversary (aggressor
Dissimilar air combat training
Dissimilar air combat training was introduced as a formal part of US air combat training after disappointing aerial combat exchange rates in the Vietnam War.Traditionally, pilots would undertake air combat training against similar aircraft...

) training. Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1
HMX-1
Marine Helicopter Squadron One , is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron responsible for the transportation of the President of the United States, Vice President, Cabinet members and other VIPs...

) operates the VH-3D Sea King and VH-60N Whitehawk
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk
The UH-60 Black Hawk is a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-lift utility helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft. Sikorsky submitted the S-70 design for the United States Army's Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System competition in 1972...

 helicopters in the VIP transport role, most notably Marine One
Marine One
Marine One is the call sign of any United States Marine Corps aircraft carrying the President of the United States. It usually denotes a helicopter operated by the HMX-1 "Nighthawks" squadron, either the large VH-3D Sea King or the newer, smaller VH-60N "WhiteHawk", both due to be replaced by the...

, but are due to be replaced
VXX
VXX is a procurement program to replace aging Marine One helicopters that transport the President of the United States. The current VH-3 helicopters have aging airframes, having entered service with U.S. Marine Corps Marine Helicopter Squadron One in 1963. The VH-3D replaced the VH-3A by 1976...

. A single Marine Corps C-130 Hercules aircraft "Fat Albert" is used to support the U.S. Navy's flight demonstration team, the "Blue Angels
Blue Angels
The United States Navy's Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the Blue Angels, was formed in 1946 and is currently the oldest formal flying aerobatic team...

".

Marine bases and stations


The Marine Corps operates many major bases, 14 of which host operating forces, several support and training installations, as well as satellite facilities. Marine Corps' bases are concentrated around the locations of the Marine Expeditionary Force
Marine Expeditionary Force
A Marine Expeditionary Force or MEF is the largest type of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force...

s, though reserve units are scattered throughout the United States. The principal bases are Camp Pendleton
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps and serves as its prime amphibious training base...

 on the West Coast, home to I MEF; Camp Lejeune
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a United States military training facility in North Carolina. The base's of beaches make it a major area for amphibious assault training, and its location between two deep-water ports allows for fast deployments.The main base is supplemented by five satellite...

 on the East Coast, home to II MEF; and Camp Butler
Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler
Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler is a United States Marine Corps base located in the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa. It was named for legendary Marine Smedley D. Butler.-Installations:...

 in Okinawa, Japan
Okinawa Prefecture
is one of Japan's southern prefectures. It consists of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over long, which extends southwest from Kyūshū to Taiwan. Okinawa's capital, Naha, is located in the southern part of Okinawa Island...

, home to III MEF
III Marine Expeditionary Force
The III Marine Expeditionary Force is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force of the United States Marine Corps that is forward-deployed and able to deploy rapidly and conduct operations across the spectrum from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to amphibious assault and high intensity combat. III...

.

Other important bases include air stations, recruit depots, logistics bases, and training commands. Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms
The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center , also known as 29 Palms, is a United States Marine Corps base. It was a census-designated place officially known as Twentynine Palms Base located adjacent to the city of Twentynine Palms in southern San Bernardino County, California. As of the 2000...

 in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 is the Marine Corps' largest base and home to the Corps' most complex, combined-arms, live-fire training. Marine Corps Base Quantico
Marine Corps Base Quantico
Marine Corps Base Quantico, sometimes abbreviated MCB Quantico, is a major United States Marine Corps training base located near Triangle, Virginia, covering nearly in southern Prince William County, northern Stafford County, and southeastern Fauquier County...

 in Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 is home to Marine Corps Combat Development Command
Marine Corps Combat Development Command
Marine Corps Combat Development Command, located in at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, has the mission of developing Marine Corps warfighting abilities to enable the Corps to field combat-ready forces...

, and nicknamed the "Crossroads of the Marine Corps". Marines operate detachment
Detachment
Detachment, also expressed as non-attachment, is a state in which a person overcomes his or her attachment to desire for things, people or concepts of the world and thus attains a heightened perspective.-Importance of the term:...

s at many installations owned by other branches, to better share resources, such as specialty schools. Marines are also present at, and operate many, forward bases during expeditionary operations. Finally, Marines operate a presence in the National Capital Region, with Headquarters Marine Corps
Headquarters Marine Corps
Headquarters Marine Corps is a headquarters staff within the Department of the Navy which includes the offices of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and various staff functions...

 scattered amongst the Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

, Henderson Hall, Washington Navy Yard
Washington Navy Yard
The Washington Navy Yard is the former shipyard and ordnance plant of the United States Navy in Southeast Washington, D.C. It is the oldest shore establishment of the U.S. Navy...

, and Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.
Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.
Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. is located at 8th and I Streets, Southeast in Washington, D.C. Established in 1801, it is a National Historic Landmark, the oldest post in the United States Marine Corps, the official residence of the Commandant of the Marine Corps since 1806, and main ceremonial...



On 17 November 2011 President Obama on his first visit to Australia announced that a Marine Expeditionary Unit reinforced company would be based in Darwin Australia on a rotational basis of six months from mid-2012, building up over time a full US Marine Corps Marine Expeditionary Unit of approximately 2,500 personnel. This will be the first time since World War Two that US Marines have been based in Australia.

See also


  • Five paragraph order
    Five paragraph order
    The five paragraph order is an element of United States Army, United States Marine Corps and United States Navy Seabees of small unit tactics that specifies instruction to a unit, based on an METT-TC Analysis...

  • General Orders for Sentries
    General Orders for Sentries
    Orders to Sentry is the official title of a set of rules governing sentry duty in the United States armed forces. While any guard posting has rules that may go without saying , these orders are carefully detailed and particularly stressed in the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and...

  • Iron Mike
    Iron Mike
    Iron Mike is the de facto name of various monuments commemorating servicemen of the United States military. The term "Iron Mike" is uniquely American slang used to refer to men who are especially tough, brave, and inspiring; it was originally a nautical term for a gyrocompass, used to keep a ship...

  • Marine (military)
  • United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve

External links