Thursday, November 10, 2005

Always Faithful for 230, er, 215? Years . . .

On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia passed a resolution stating that "two Battalions of Marines be raised" for service as landing forces with the fleet. This resolution, established the Continental Marines and marked the birth date of the United States Marine Corps. Serving on land and at sea, these first Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations, including their first amphibious raid into the Bahamas in March 1776, under the command of Captain (later Major) Samuel Nicholas. Nicholas, the first commissioned officer in the Continental Marines, remained the senior Marine officer throughout the American Revolution and is considered to be the first Marine Commandant. The Treaty of Paris 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.
Source: Brief History of the United States Marine Corps, United States Marine Corps History and Museums Division.

Fortunately for us, the Marines were formally re-established in 1798 and since 1921, this day, November 10, has been celebrated as the Corps' official birthday. For the record, the Marine Corps is careful in its public statements to note that this is the anniversary of the founding of the Marine Corps--which is correct. You won't find an official statement claiming that the service is actually 230 years old.

Marine For Life--A Family Affair

I've ascertained that there are approximately 38 living Marines named Birdsong, about 69 living Marines named Bowie, about 17 living Marines named Braboy or Brayboy, roughly 19 living Marines named Gines, and about 48 living Marines named Manson. There seem to be no living Marines named LeJay. [In tomorrow's Veteran's Day post on veterans records research, I tell how I ascertained that]. To fully understand this, one must know that there's no such thing as a "former Marine." So these numbers include all those retired or discharged or still on active duty or in the Marine Corps Reserve. Some of them, no doubt, are serving today in Iraq or Afghanistan. Wherever they are, whatever their status, these Marines deserve our thanks and our fidelity . . . always.

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