Semper Fidelis: motto symbolizes Marine Corps’ 230-year-old spirit
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    Cool Semper Fidelis: motto symbolizes Marine Corps’ 230-year-old spirit

    Semper Fidelis: motto symbolizes Marine Corps’ 230-year-old spirit
    Laura Tennant
    11/17/2005 11:37 am

    In honor of Veteran’s Day, November 11, I belatedly salute every man and woman who served or is serving this country in the armed forces in any capacity at home or overseas. Let’s morally support, not undermine, the courageous actions of U.S. troops on active duty around the globe.

    Although I’ve been married to a Vietnam Marine veteran for 37 years, I didn’t realize November 10 is the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps until Mabel and Ken Masterman invited us over to celebrate Thursday night. A Korean War Veteran, Ken spent eight years in the Corps, serving two years on the front lines in Korea. His unit is the only one that volunteered to serve two consecutive tours in the combat zone. Here’s to Korean War Vets, giving their all in the Forgotten War

    Stony served with the Marines 3rd Force Recon Battalion during his tour of duty in Vietnam. Although he was assigned to train South Vietnamese Marines, it was not classroom instruction, but executed in the mountains of north central Vietnam. Another salute to Vietnam Veterans who suffered the pangs of war as patriots at home and abroad.

    Below is a brief history of the U.S. Marine Corps. There’s a bond in this armed service understandable only by those who have been through it. Their motto, Semper Fidelis, meaning “always faithful,” goes deeper than the two simple words describes.

    “Semper Fi, brother,” Stony greets a stranger who indicates in some way he is a Marine Corps Veteran. It’s touching to see men who fought tougher battles than most civilians could imagine openly show respect and love for one another. “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” explained Stony, noting the Marine Corps prides itself on being an elite fighting force. He attributes their effectiveness in combat to the ultra-tough training Marines must endure.

    Founded in 1775, the U.S. Marine Corps’ is as old as the U.S. Navy. “Those two forces have been inseparably bound together since their births,” noted Chester G. Hearn, the author of “An Illustrated History of the United States Marine Corps”, the book I gave Stony for Christmas last year. Hearn adds: “They are a proud force, wanting neither charity nor unearned respect. They live by their motto: Semper Fidelis - always faithful. Lieutenant General Victor H. Krulak, one of the Corps’ great leaders, said it best when he wrote ‘...the Corps is less than flesh than of the spirit. And so it is.”

    Hearn points out: “Unlike the Navy, whose paternalism and long career has also been beset by vagaries of politics, the Corps’ history has been especially turbulent. Like a runt among the bigger boys, Marines have fought domestic enemies as well as foreign forces, using words instead of bullets. On some occasions they fought among themselves, yet always remaining faithful to the ‘Marine tradition,’ Semper Fidelis.”

    The English first enlisted Marines in 1664, calling them “Maritime Regiment of Foot” so the fighting force goes back to the era of the world’s earliest sea battles. Before the first U.S. Marines were commandeered by General George Washington in August, 1775, the first use of the term in America was in 1740, occurring when Great Britain and Spain were at war. That’s when Colonel William Gooch commanded a regiment of 3,000 American colonists called “Gooch’s Marines.” These Marines fought under Colonel Gooch in Colombia and later captured Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, securing it as a base for the British..

    During the Seven Years’ War in 1754, Americans served as marines on British ships, with their roles changed. “They hardened sailors to their duties and enforced ship discipline. When doing battle at sea, marines formed in the tops as sharpshooters and grenadiers and when the fighting closed, they led the boarding parties. Then, as now, it was marines who spearheaded the attack,” wrote Hearn.

    In April, 1775, American colonists began their battle for independence from British rule. Hearn writes, when the Americans captured Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point on Lake Champlain, “the rag-tag garrison complained that ‘men and money’ were desperately needed to hold the fort. Hartford, Connecticut sent ‘money escorted by eight Marines,’ and Albany, New York, chipped in a unit of state marines to garrison the fort and serve on boats.”

    That’s when Benedict Arnold, commander of the Colonial fighting force, first saw these Marines, noting, they were “the refuse of every regiment.” By August, 1775, Washington organized a group of marines to serve on two armed schooners stationed along the New England coastline. “To man the schooners, he selected infantrymen from his Army and made them marines. By the end of October, three types of Marines were fighting for independence: regular marines under Washington, marines recruited by state navies and marines serving on privateers.”

    So, it was later in November 1775, notes Hearn that “ the Marine Committee, while sipping ale in Tun Tavern on King Street in Philadelphia, wrote ‘Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies. They established a Navy pay list and drafted a resolution creating the Continental Marines.” It was authorized in writing that two battalions be formed on Nov. 10 by the Continental Congress under the direction of John Adams. They were to be “good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs to serve to advantage by sea when required.”

    Innkeeper Samuel Nicholas of Philadelphia was named “captain” to lead the force. Tun Tavern became the recruiting site. Notes Hearn: “...the patriotic tune ‘Drum, Fife and Colours,” mixed with liberal servings of intoxicating beverages filled the ranks.”

    In those days, a Marine private earned “six and two-thirds dollars a month and the Navy ration: a pound of bread, pound of beef or pork, pound of potatoes or turnips or a half pint of peas, and a half pint of rum. Some days of the week Marines received butter, cheese and pudding. They wore green and white uniforms, not always made of the best material and not readily available.”

    I didn’t realize that the term Leathernecks, often used to describe Marines, originated in 1875 as well when the Continental Marines wore “leather stocks,” which were neckpieces. Shortly after, the use of leather belongings was abolished because they were considered unfashionable.

    There’s just the beginning of the U.S. Marine Corps’ long military service. Hearn’s wondrous history of the Marines is 224 pages long so I won’t attempt to summarize it.

    Skipping forward to the Marine Corps ever-changing duties, Hearn notes: “Muslim terrorists fly jetliners into tall buildings occupied by civilians. Palestinians prefer strapping charges to their bodies and blowing themselves up among groups of Israeli civilians - all of which suggests new countermeasures are required to deal with terrorists willing to commit suicide to take the lives of those of a different faith.

    “To keep pace with changing times, the Marine Corps has made their expeditionary units Special Operations Capable (SOC). In a new century where the enemy, supported by radical Muslim leaders, has established terrorist cells throughout the world, the Marine Corps must continue to adapt, which is exactly what they have done since 1775.”

    With Marines serving around the world today on terrorist fighting missions, training others or guarding U.S. Embassies, protecting American interests at home and abroad, Hearn writes: “Some tacticians say if the Marines had been turned loose on Afghanistan’s Taliban and al-Qaida during the early phase of Operation Enduring Freedom, Osama bin Laden and his henchmen would have either been captured or killed along with their ragged army of mercenaries. In warfare, Marines like to have a free hand, and they understand that causalities may be suffered to get the job done. That’s why many men and women who join the armed services chose to be Marines.”


  2. #2
    Phantom Blooper
    Guest Free Member
    “Semper-Fi Heart”

    Some may wear the uniform
    And even look the part
    But to truly be a real Marine
    You must have a “Semper-Fi Heart”
    This “Heart” is not earned in “Boot Camp”
    But is “Developed Along the Way”
    And it “Grows” because of “Dedication”
    Through “Service” each and every day
    “Semper” is Latin for “Always”
    “Fidelis” means “Faithful” and “True”
    “Faithful” when things don’t go your way
    And “Faithful” when they do
    You may not understand the rationale
    Nor even know the reason why
    But the “Mission” will be accomplished
    When your “Heart” is “Semper-Fi”

    Semper-Fi! "Never Forget" Chuck Hall

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