View Full Version : Marines celebrate their history

11-10-05, 05:27 AM
Marines celebrate their history
By Ursula Remy

In the shadow of the Iraq War, more than 1,000 former and active duty marines convened at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on Tuesday to celebrate the 230th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The 18th annual celebration of its kind, was just like any other, except for the rising anti-war sentiment around the nation.

"This started off as a remembrance between six friends ... of fellow Marines who had fallen during the Vietnam War," said Marine Coleman Nee, a veteran from Desert Storm.

"Before long, each person was bringing a friend, and within 18 years, it had turned into what you see today. This is a sort of a sanctuary for them, since most of these guys have had really hard war experiences.
Here, they are welcomed home by family."

To symbolize the unity among all ranks and ages, Sgt. Major Alan cut a birthday cake and presented the first slice to the oldest present Marine, World War II veteran John Murdock. As is tradition, Murdock then passed the cake to the youngest serving Marine, Pvt. Edward Garvin.

The Marines' celebration recognized not only the current soldiers fighting and retired Marines but also served to remind Marines what it means to bear their titles.

"Regardless of where Marines are, wherever there are two or more gathered, they are going to get together around the 10th of November and celebrate this birthday," Gen. Michael Hagee said. "Why are we here? Because we're good. We are a breed of heart. Some may call us strange and extreme, but we don't care."

Hagee said the Marine Corps has a reputation for the intense amount of work that goes into training. From an arduous boot camp to being the first part of the military called on to fight, the Marines are proud to call themselves "the few and the proud."

"It's something we hold very close to ourselves to come out here and celebrate this birthday," Staff Sgt. James Sobey said.

Speakers at the birthday celebration expressed an overwhelming sense of pride and dedication, both at the microphone and at the lunch tables. Bagpipes played and drums boomed as Maj. Shane Tomko, director of this year's event, told the Marines to "stop, reflect and remember what you did to deserve that title."

Tomko shared the story of Sgt. Andrew Farrar, who was killed in Iraq in January. Farrar, before his death, wrote a letter to his mother requesting that the Dropkick Murphys version of "Fields Of Athenry" be played at his funeral. After hearing the news, the Boston-based band came to Farrar's funeral, performed the song and later recorded a new ballad style version of the song in Farrar's honor. Only three copies were made and the band gave all three of them to Farrar's family. A member from the band was at the celebration and received an award as thanks from the Marine Corps.

Col. Timothy Gahan also shared his story as a Marine, beginning as a private and rising to the rank of colonel within 30 years.

"I went back to get a degree from college, but right after I finished, I rejoined the Marines, because this to me seemed like my better choice," he said. "I've never regretted it."

Vietnam War veteran Dick Murphy received the Lt. Col. William F. Degan Semper Fidelis award for his service at a veteran. After the presentation of awards, U.S. member of the chief of staff Gen. Peter Pace swore in "poolees" - or training Marine recruits - as official members of the Marine Corps.


11-10-05, 06:44 AM
November 10, 1775

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress passes a resolution stating that "two Battalions of Marines be raised" for service as landing forces for the recently formed Continental Navy. The resolution, drafted by future U.S. president John Adams and adopted in Philadelphia, created the Continental Marines and is now observed as the birth date of the United States Marine Corps.

Serving on land and at sea, the original U.S. Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations during the Revolutionary War. The first Marine landing on a hostile shore occurred when a force of Marines under Captain Samuel Nicholas captured New Province Island in the Bahamas from the British in March 1776. Nicholas was the first commissioned officer in the Continental Marines and is celebrated as the first Marine commandant. After American independence was achieved in 1783, the Continental Navy was demobilized and its Marines disbanded.

In the next decade, however, increasing conflict at sea with Revolutionary France led the U.S. Congress to establish formally the U.S. Navy in May 1798. Two months later, on July 11, President John Adams signed the bill establishing the U.S. Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the jurisdiction of the Department of Navy. U.S. Marines saw action in the so-called Quasi-War with France and then fought against the Barbary pirates of North Africa during the first years of the 19th century. Since then, Marines have participated in all the wars of the United States and in most cases were the first soldiers to fight. In all, Marines have executed more than 300 landings on foreign shores.

Today, there are more than 200,000 active-duty and reserve Marines, divided into three divisions stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Camp Pendleton, California; and Okinawa, Japan. Each division has one or more expeditionary units, ready to launch major operations anywhere in the world on two weeks' notice. Marines expeditionary units are self-sufficient, with their own tanks, artillery, and air forces. The motto of the service is Semper Fidelis, meaning "Always Faithful" in Latin.

Source: The History Channel

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