Today the Marine Corp will celebrate its 242nd birthday. That was the day that Congress passed the Continental Marine Act of 1775. The act ordered, “That two battalions of Marines be raised…”

Though the Continental Marines disbanded in 1783 they were reestablished in 1798. The first enlistments were done at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia.

Here are a couple of other things you might not know about the Marine Corps.

Only One Retired Marine Has Ever Gotten A Promotion

You might remember R.Lee Ermey (above) from the movie Full Metal Jacket. Ermey, a Marine Drill Instructor and Vietnam Vet filmed a 20-minute segment of him dressing down a group of extras to the film director Stanley Kubrick and got the part. In 2002 he was given an honorary promotion to the rank he played in the movie.

The Marine Corps Hymn

We all know that song, “From the Halls of Montezuma…” In 1847 the US Marines conquered Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City during the Mexican-American War. To honor those Marines the dress uniform includes a red stripe down the trouser leg.

The Shores Of Tripoli

In 1801 President Thomas Jefferson had enough of the Barbary Pirates working the Mediterranean. The US Navy was sent in in 1801 and the Marines finished the job in 1805. The battle of Derne on the shores of Tripoli was the battle that turned the tide for the US.


Why are Marines sometimes called “leathernecks?” Because, in 1798, the Marine Corps began issuing “one stock of black leather and clasp” to protect Marines when they were fighting with swords. The standing collar of the dress uniform reflects that tradition.

No Marines At Normandy?

Numbers are the main reason. The US Army had 89 divisions while the Marines had 6. Most of the Marines were in the Pacific dealing with the Japanese.

Marines aboard the USS Texas were held back for strictly political reasons. The Army didn’t want any headline that the Marines had to save the Rangers at Normandy.

Marines And Fast Food

Glen Bell, head man at Taco Bell, served in the Pacific during WWII. Mike Ilitch, Little Caesars founder, and Tom Monoghan, Domino’s Pizza were also Marines.

Project Bullet

Project Bullet was a flight that set a transcontinental speed record. A Vought F8U Crusader flew from California to New York at 725.55 mile per hour. The Marine pilot?  John Glenn of course. Why Project Bullet? Because Glenn flew faster than a fired .45 caliber bullet.

Some Final Thoughts

There are other famous Marines. Tonight Show co-host Ed McMahon had six air medals and flew 85 combat missions. Marine reservist Drew Carey decided to take a shot at standup comedy for some extra money. We probably would not have Jason Bourne had Robert Ludlum not spent some time in the corps. And Rocky’s pal Paulie, Burt Young was also a Marine. Happy Birthday Marines OO-RAH Semper Fi.

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