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Happy Birthday, Marines!


Nov 10, 1775 is remembered as the Birthday of the United States Marine Corps, and no matter where they are around the world Marines stop on that day to remember those who have gone before us and greet each other. Modern day remembrance of the Corps' Birthday is attributed to the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Major General John Lejeune, who wrote a message to Marines that by tradition is read to this day:

On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date, many thousand men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them, it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the Birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

The record of our Corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of it's existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the nations foes. From the battle of Trenton to the Argonne. Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home. Generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term Marine has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the Corps. With it we also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.

Lt. Gen 'Chesty' Puller, one of the most decorated and most respected Marine Officers, discussing the tactical issues facing his Marines during the historic fighting withdrawal from Chosin Reservoir to Hungnam

Additionally, by tradition the current Commandant of the Marine Corps also makes a statement to summarize the previous year and often describe future roles Marines can be expected to excel in. This year, General M.W. Hagee had the honor of addressing the Corps of nearly 200,000 Active and Reserve Marines and untold thousands of no-longer-active Marines of all ages.

10 November 2003
A MESSAGE FROM THE COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS

This year we celebrate the 228th anniversary of the founding of our Corps. As always, it is an occasion for remembrance, proud traditions, and joyful camaraderie. The events of the past year have called for great sacrifices from many Marines and their families. While the Global War on Terrorism will continue to demand the best from each of us, it is important that we join with our fellow Marines, families and friends to celebrate our Corps' special culture and unique warrior ethos.

This past year, Marines demonstrated once again that they are the most important entity on any battlefield. Lethal weapons and advanced technologies provide us unique advantages, but educated warriors ultimately determine victory in combat not machines. During Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM, our small unit leaders' skills, adaptability and flexibility produced victory on uncertain and at times chaotic battlefields. We proved once again the power of integrated ground-air-logistics teams as well as the importance of every Marine being first and foremost a rifleman.

Our special spirit is evident not only in battle; it is evident in the faithful performance of demanding duties by countless Marines at home and abroad. Every Marine makes a vital contribution to the ability of our Corps to project and sustain credible combat power. Moreover, the willingness and readiness of all Marines to accept and accomplish any mission is central to our success and a hallmark of our warrior ethos. The culture that defines the Marine Corps is nurtured by our traditions. In celebrating our heritage, we strengthen the linkages to a glorious history and recommit ourselves to upholding the standards and values given to us by past generations.

In commemorating our 228th anniversary, remain true to the spirit of the occasion. Reflect on our fallen with deep respect, observe our traditions with justifiable pride, take care of one another, and of course, celebrate those special bonds that exist among United States Marines.

Happy Birthday Marines, Semper Fidelis, and keep attacking!

M. W. Hagee
General, U.S. Marine Corps


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Created: March 10, 2003
Updated 6 November, 2003