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Posted on April 1st, 2012, by

On November 10 2006 the National Museum of the Marine Corps was opened in Quantico, Virginia. President George W. Bush, who has visited the grand opening of the museum, told: “These walls remind all who visit here that honor, courage, and commitment are not just words. They are core values for a way of life that puts service above self. And these walls will keep the history of the Marine Corps alive for generations of Americans to come.”ť  (Bush, 5)

I have studied the history of the Marine Corps. In my work I tried to emphasize the most glorious actions   of U.S. Marine Corpse, as well as its patricians in the modern history. I have paid an attention to the culture of Marine Corps and its place in the works of fiction. I want to prove that   this force is a proud part of the U.S. Armed Forces.

1. History.

Before the 16th century the main task of the marines was to board and to capture the enemy. Soldiers were armed with cold arms, later pistols, and usually fought with their enemy hand-to-hand.  At the end of the medieval period the naval gun changed the methods of the war operation on the sea. Hand-to-hand combats largely disappeared.

However demand for the marines did not fall. They still played the important role in the sea battles as well as amphibious operations. At the17th century first Marine regiments began to appear in different European countries. The first English Marine regiment was formed as part of the Naval Service in 1755.

The first Marine Corps in the United States was created in 1775, at the beginning of the American War of Independence.  The formation of the Continental Marines was organized in the spirit of the times.  Captain Samuel Nicholas was commissioned as the first officer of the Continental Marines. He based recruitment at the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and throughout the month 5 companies of about 300 Marines were raised. At the end of the war, in 1783, there were 131 officers and up to 2000 soldiers in the Continental Marines. During the war Marines took part in the different war operations including raids for supplies and ammunition, capture of the coastline sectors and assistance in the decisive victories. The 10 of November, when the Continental Congress decided to form the Continental Marines, is celebrated all over the world as the Marines Corps birthday.

“Marine Corps, U.S. USMC a separate military service that is part of the U.S. Navy, responsible for providing marine troops to seize and defend advanced bases, operations on land and in the air in conjunction with naval campaigns, and, especially, amphibious landings. The Marine Corps also provides troops for duty aboard certain Navy ships, as well as guards for U.S. diplomatic missions in foreign countries.”ť (The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military,  2001)

The Marines have fought in every major naval action since 1775.

At the first half of the 19th century Marines fought with Spanish, French and Ottoman ships in the waters near Caribbean, Mexico, West Africa, Sumatra and the Falkland Islands. In that way Marines helped the young state of the United States to capture and to defend new territories that had a great commercial and defense importance.

It should be mentioned that the influence of Archibald Henderson breathed new life into the Corps. Archibald Henderson headed the Marines from 1820 to 1859.  He was the most long-serving commandant of the Marine Corpse and was also known as “Grand old man of the Marine Corps”. During his command the Marines was rated as the sister of the U.S. Navy and the part of Department of Navy, instead of merger with the Army.

For the great services of Marines for their homeland during Mexican-American war (1846-1848) General Henderson was awarded with ceremonial sword. On the blade of the sword two lines were written:

“From the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli”ť

This is the beginning of the Marines’ official hymn. The verses appeared at the time of Mexican-American war, but the author was unknown. The Marines’ hymn is the oldest hymn in the United States military.

The second part of 19th century was the time of declining force of the Marine Corps. Their role in the Civil war was insignificant. It was connected with the development of steamship communication. New ships with steam engines put remained the good instrument for interventions.  In the 30 years after the Civil War the Marines were involved in over 28 separate interventions. Their operations in Japan, Mexico, Korea, Chile, Argentina, Colombia and other countries made them famous. War correspondent Richard Harding Davis, who covered Spanish-American War, coined the witticism: “The Marines have landed and have the situation well in hand”ť.

The Marines motto “Semper Fidelis”ť (it means “Always Faithful”ť on Latin) was adopted around 1883. This noble motto was known from the 13th century. Many noble families and ancient cities were proud to have such a motto. Our days Marine Corps often shorten it to “Semper Fi”ť.

Interventions of U.S. Marine Corps continued till the World War I. Marines took part in different foreign expeditions throughout the Caribbean and Central America.  These conflicts usually called “Banana Wars”ť because of their economical nature. “United Fruit Company”ť (the well-known company “Chiquita Brands International”ť is its current successor) had invested a lot of money in production of bananas, sugar cane, tobacco and other products in this region. Besides, the U.S.A.  wanted to spread  the political influence on Panama Canal. That times Panama Canal was the traffic artery of great importance. Large majority of trade routes lied through the seas and oceans. That is why Panama Canal was so important for the U.S.A. Marine Corps helped their country to increase its political power and gained the experience gained in counter-insurgency and guerrilla operations.

In World War I the Marine Corps began to create their reputation in the modern world. The fact is the officers and NCO’s of the Marine Cords had a significant battle experience after “Banana Wars”ť and other smaller expansions, unlike the most officers of other units. So that is no wonder that in this war Marines won the largest battle in the history of the Corps. At Belleau Wood, Soissons, St. Michiel, Blanc Mont, Marine Corps distinguished themselves.  “Retreat? Hell, we just got here!”ť ”“ cried the captain Lloyd Williams. German forces retreated in confusion; in this battle Germans had nicknamed brave Marines “Teufelhunden,”ť or “Devil Dogs”ť. Marines still use this nickname.  During the World War I the Marines lost 2,461 dead and 9,520 wounded.

During the World War II the man task of the Marines was rapid amphibious actions in the European and Pacific theaters. However the actions of Marines were not always victorious.

One of the most unsuccessful operations of the Marines was the Dieppe Raid in 1942. Dieppe is the port on the northern coast of France, which was occupied by Germans. The task of Allies was to capture and to hold Dieppe for the short period, to destroy coastal defense, to get the information from prisoners and to prove the possibility of such raid. No of these objectives were accomplished.  At 5:00 AM on 19 August 1942 the assault began and four hours later forces of Allies were called to retreat.  Almost 60% of military personnel were dead and wounded. The bitter lesson of the Dieppe raid helped the high command to understand the necessity of new specialist armored vehicles for Marines. Two years later the success of landing in Normandy   proved that. The landing in Normandy was the largest amphibious invasion in the history. Over 175,000 troops were landing on the Normandy coast. The amphibious actions were supported by aircraft and ships.   The Norman coast was defended by German troops. Over the four years of occupation Germans built and strengthened the line of defense.  Machine guns and high caliber weapons were hided in the concrete pillboxes, large bunkers were integrated the hills and cliffs.  After the three days of the battle the forces of Allies won.  82 USA Marines received the Medal of Honor during the World War II.

During the Korean War the USA Marine Corpse made landings on the seashore of Northern Korea. Then Marines took part in the regulation of Lebanon crisis.

In April 1965, during the crisis in Dominican Republic the US Marines landed there to evacuate Americans from the dangerous country.

The Vietnam War became a great battlefield for the Marine Corps. They fought with regular army of Vietnam, with guerilla and secretly used unconventional techniques for counterinsurgency operations.

After Vietnam the USA Marine Corpse operated in Grenada (1983) and in Panama (1989), Both operations had the objective to change the government. In Panama Marines helped to depose the dictator Manuel Noriega and return into office president-elect Guillermo Endara.

In 1990 Marines liberated Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War. This operation was called “Desert Storm”ť and was the largest operation of Marine Corps ever. Later this year they helped to evacuate the US embassy from Liberia.

In 1992-1995 during the civil disorders in Somali the Marines supported the delivery of humanitarian aid. However the attacks of local warlords made them to combat with Somali militaries.

In 1995 the Marine Corps of the USA interfered into Yugoslav War.   Six parts of former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia tried to gain the independence.  After the ethnic cleansing in the region of Srebrenica, (Bosnia and Herzegovina), where more then 8000 Bosnia Muslims were killed by unit from Serbia known as Scorpion, NATO started the bombings of Serbia.   At the end of the year peaceful agreement was signed. At the International Court of Justice the government of Bosnia charged Serbia of complicity in genocide during the war.

At the second half of the 20th century the Marine Corps of the USA consolidated their reputation as the elite of armed forces.  Their special skills and training allow them to operate in the different environment.  War developers create new equipment for Marines using all the technical innovative.

From the beginning of current millennium Marines take part in the War on terror. During the seven month in 2001 US Marines engaged the leftover of Taliban and helped to rebuild the country after the war. Then Marines went to Iraq, this unit helped to press the resistance in Iraq and hunted down the Iraqi regime. Now the main mission of US Marine Corpse is the Second Afghani campaign. U.S. troops are protecting voting sites all over the country to hold the second-ever direct presidential election in the country. Taliban militants, who are closely connected with Al-Qaeda, have vowed to disrupt the elections.

Thus, we can see that US Marines really take part in the most important actions from the year of its foundation. And when we see their commercial – “The Few, The Proud, The Marines” ”“ we understand that they are true elite of the US Army Forces.

Some movies about the Marines

The very first movie is The Star Spangled Banner (1918), the biggest and most important Marine film is epic film Sands of Iwo Jima (1949). One of newest movies about Marines – Full Metal Jacket by Stanley Kubrick, it describes the Vietnam War. Generally, there are lots of movies about Marines, drama as well as comedy.

Conclusion

The Marine Corps of the USA is the real proud of the country, and their heroic history helps better understand this.

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