Happy 246th Birthday, U.S. Marine Corps

Today marks the 246th birthday of the United States Marine Corps (USMC).

On November 10, 1775, the 2nd Continental Congress passed the Continental Marine Act of 1775, a resolution that called for two battalions of Marines to serve as landing forces with the fleet. The resolution served to establish the Continental Marines and the birth date of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Birth Letter of the Marine Corps

“That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one Colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates as with other battalions, that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to offices, or enlisted into said battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve for and during the present war with Great Britain and the Colonies; unless dismissed by Congress; that they be distinguished by the names of the First and Second Battalions of Marines.”

The Continental Marine Act of 1775, 2nd Continental Congress, Philadelphia, PA

Since then, the U.S. Marine Corps has served as protectors of the nation’s interests around the world and has participated in every war since 1812. In most cases, Marines were the first servicemembers to fight. As a result, many Marines are proud of their service’s heritage and traditions.

Over the years, the Corps developed many traditions. One of the most prominent traditions is the Marine Corps Ball that involves dancing, presenting the Colors, and cutting a birthday cake with a sword. Commands across the globe plan the ball to celebrate the birth of the Corps, bringing Marines together for a sometimes raucous but respectful celebration.

Additionally, every year, the Commandant of the Marine Corps releases a birthday address Corps-wide along with a video.

The Corps also issues a MARADMIN (639/21) outlining Marine Corps Birthday content. Below is taken from this year’s message from General Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps.

“The character of Marines, our unwavering commitment and relentless pursuit of excellence, remains unchanged from that of past generations, even as the character of warfare is ever-changing. These changes will require us to do what Marines do best – adapt and innovate to win any battle or respond to any crisis. Just as Marines who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan over these past 20 years adapted to the demands of protracted counterinsurgency operations – which would have been all too familiar to the Marines of 1970 – we will adapt to the demands of the present and the future, while learning the hard lessons from our recent past. We can’t know for certain where future battlefields will be, or how our methods of warfighting will be redefined as threats to our Nation evolve, but we can ensure that the Marines who fight those battles will be forged of the same courage, spirit, and warfighting excellence as all Marines before them.”

A Message from the Commandant of the Marine Corps (2021), David H. Berger, General, U.S. Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps

With all its history and tradition, the United States Marine Corps brings with it nearly two and a half centuries of Honor, Courage & Commitment, the core values that serve as the bedrock of each and every Marine’s character.

This all said, to each and every Marine, past and present, thank you for your service in defense of the Nation.

And, again, Happy 246th Birthday, United States Marine Corps!

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