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The Marine Corps continues to meet the challenges of a new century. Today's Marines stand ready to continue the proud tradition of those who so valiantly fought and died before them. Their long and proud history of faithful service to the nation continues to keep the Marine Corps the best of the best.
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Marine Corps Featured Article

THE FEW. THE PROUD. THE HISTORY OF THE MARINES.

SEMPER FIDELIS: Always Faithful. That's the Latin motto of the United States Marines. How did the Marines become the powerhouse military force they are today? Their long and proud history of faithful service to the nation continues to keep the Marine Corps the "best of the best."

It all started November 10, 1775, as the Continental Congress passed a resolution establishing the Continental Marines and thus began the United States Marine Corps. Serving on land and at sea, these first Marines participated in important operations including their first raid into the Bahamas in March 1776. As the Treaty of Parris in April 1783 brought an end to the Revolutionary War and as the last of the Navy's ships were sold, the Continental Navy and Marines went out of existence.

Following the Revolutionary War was the formal re-establishment of the Marine Corps on July 11 1798, where the Marines landed in Santo Domingo, and took part in operations against the Barbary pirates along the "Shores of Tripoli." Marines participated in naval operations during the War of 1812, as well as the defense of Washington at Bladensburg, Maryland. Decades following the War of 1812 saw the Marines protecting American interests around the world, in the Caribbean, at the Falkland Islands, Sumatra and off the coast of West Africa, and Seminole Indians in Florida.

During the Mexican War (1846-1848), Marines seized enemy seaports on both the Gulf and Pacific coasts, all the way to the "Halls of Montezuma," Mexico City. Marines also served ashore and afloat in the Civil War (1861-1865). The last third of the 19th century saw Marines making numerous landings throughout the world, especially in the Orient and in the Caribbean area.

Following the Spanish-American War (1898), the Corps saw active service in the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902), the Boxer Rebellion in China (1900) and in numerous other nations, including Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, Mexico, and Haiti.

In World War I the Marine Corps distinguished itself on the battlefields of France as the 4th Marine Brigade earned the title of "Devil Dogs" for heroic action during 1918 at Belleau Wood, Soissons, St. Michiel, Blanc Mont, and in the final Meuse-Argonne offensive. More than 30,000 Marines had served in France and more than a third were killed or wounded in six months of intense fighting.

During the two decades before World War II, the Marine Corps began to develop in the doctrine, equipment, and organization needed for amphibious warfare, first on Guadalcanal, then on Bougainville, Tarawa, New Britain, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. By the end of the war in 1945, the Marine Corps had grown to include six divisions, five air wings, and supporting troops.

During the Korean War, Marines landed at Inchon, Korea in September 1950, and proved that the doctrine of amphibious assault was still viable and necessary. After years of offensives, counter-offensives, trench warfare, and occupation duty, the last Marine ground troops were withdrawn in March 1955. In July 1958, a brigade-size force landed in Lebanon to restore order. In April 1965, a brigade of Marines landed in the Dominican Republic to protect Americans and evacuate those who wished to leave.

During the involvement in Vietnam, Marine Corps strength peaked at approximately 85,000. Marine withdrawal began in 1969 and ended by June 1971. The Vietnam War, longest in the history of the Marine Corps, exacted over 13,000 Marines killed and more than 88,000 wounded.

The mid-1970s saw the Marine Corps assume an increasingly significant role in defending NATO's northern flank. The Marine Corps also played a key role in the development of the Rapid Deployment Force, a multi-service organization created to insure a flexible, timely military response around the world when needed. With the 1980s came increasing terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies around the world. Marine Security Guards, under the direction of the State Department, continued to serve with distinction in the face of this challenge.

In August 1990, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait began the largest movement of Marine Corps forces since World War II. Between August 1990 and January 1991, some 24 infantry battalions, 40 squadrons, and more than 92,000 Marines deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Shield.

Other significant Marine deployments demonstrating the Corps' flexible and rapid response included non-combatant evacuation operations in Liberia and Somalia and humanitarian lifesaving operations in Bangladesh, the Philippines, and northern Iraq. In another part of the world, Marine Corps aircraft supported Operation Deny Flight in the no-fly zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina. During April 1994, Marines evacuated U.S. citizens from Rwanda in response to civil unrest in that country. Marines went ashore in September 1994 in Haiti as part of the U.S. force participating in the restoration of democracy in that country. Marines were actively engaged in providing assistance to the Nation's counter-drug effort, assisting in battling wild fires in the western United States, and aiding in flood and hurricane relief operations.

During the late 1990's, Marine Corps units deployed to several African nations to provide security and assist in the evacuation of American citizens during political and civil instability in those nations. Humanitarian and disaster relief operations were also conducted by Marines during 1998 on Kenya, and in the Central American nations of Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In 1999, Marine units deployed to Kosovo in support of Operation Allied Force. Soon after the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., Marine units deployed to the Arabian Sea and set up a forward operating base in southern Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Marine Corps continues to meet the challenges of a new century. Today's Marines stand ready to continue the proud tradition of those who so valiantly fought and died before them.


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