American InterContinental University would like to extend our congratulations to all of our Marine Corps service members, including our students, alumni, faculty, and staff who have served in this esteemed branch of military service. Today marks the 236th year of service for the Marines. Join us as we take a look back at the history of the Corps and some of the terms commonly associated with them.
1775: Founding the Marine Corps
During the American Revolution, many important political discussions took place in the inns and taverns of Philadelphia, including the founding of the Marine Corps.
A committee of the Continental Congress met at Tun Tavern to draft a resolution calling for two battalions of Marines able to fight for independence at sea and on shore.
The resolution was approved on November 10, 1775, officially forming the Continental Marines.
As the first order of business, Samuel Nicholas became Commandant of the newly formed Marines. Tun Tavern’s owner and popular patriot, Robert Mullan, became his first captain and recruiter. They began gathering support and were ready for action by early 1776.
Each year, the Marine Corps marks November 10th with a celebration of the brave spirit which compelled these men and thousands since to defend our country as United States Marines
Marine Corps Motto: Semper Fidelis
The Marine Corps adopted Semper Fidelis as its official motto in 1883 (Semper Fidelis is also the title of the official musical March of the Marine Corps). Translated from Latin, Semper Fidelis means "Always Faithful." U.S. Marines use an abbreviated verbal version, "Semper Fi," to voice loyalty and commitment to their Marine comrades-in-arms. Previous mottos of the Marine Corps were (1) To the Shores of Tripoli, adopted in 1805; (2) Fortitude, adopted in 1812; (3) From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli, adopted in 1848; and (4) By Sea and by Land, adopted in the 1850's.
Marine Corps Terms
Leatherneck: Used to describe the leather collar that was once part of the Marine uniform during the Revolutionary War.
Gyrene: Origin unknown, circa 1894.
Jarhead: For roughly 50 years, sailors had little luck in their effort to insult Marines by calling them Gyrenes. So, during World War II sailors began referring to Marines as Jarheads. Presumably the high collar on the Marine Dress Blues uniform made a Marine's head look like it was sticking out of the top of a Mason jar. Marines were not insulted. Instead, they embraced the new moniker as a term of utmost respect.
Devil Dogs: The German Army coined this term of respect for U.S. Marines during World War I. In the summer of 1918 the German Army was driving toward Paris. The French Army was in full retreat. In a desperate effort to save Paris, the newly arrived U.S. Marines were thrown into the breach. In June 1918, in bitter fighting lasting for weeks, Marines repeatedly repulsed the Germans in Belleau Wood. The German drive toward Paris sputtered, fizzled, and died. Then the Marines attacked and swept the Germans back out of Belleau Wood. Paris had been saved. The tide of war had turned. Five months later Germany would be forced to accept an armistice. The battle tenacity and fury of the U.S. Marines had stunned the Germans. In their official reports they called the Marines "teufel hunden," meaning Devil Dogs, the ferocious mountain dogs of Bavarian folklore.
Soldiers of the Sea: A traditional and functional term for Marines, dating back to the British in the 1600's.
Marine Corps Mascot: English Bulldog
At the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia, the Marines obtained a registered English Bulldog, King Bulwark. A formal ceremony on 14 October 1922, BGen. Smedley D. Butler signed documents enlisting the bulldog, renamed Jiggs, for the "term of life." Pvt. Jiggs then began his official duties in the U.S. Marine Corps.
A hard-charging Marine, Pvt. Jiggs did not remain a private for long. Within three months he was wearing corporal chevrons on his custom-made uniform. On New Year’s Day 1924, Jiggs was promoted to Sergeant. And in a meteoric rise, he got promoted again -- this time to Sergeant Major -- seven months later.
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