Happy 238th Birthday My Fellow U.S. Marines

Happy 238th Birthday My Fellow U.S. Marines

Happy birthday to my fellow U.S. Marines! Here is a birthday message from the Commandant. Semper Fidelis

For 238 years, The United States Marine Corps has proudly served our great Nation with unfailing valor – bolstered by the enduring fortitude of our fellow Marines, our families, and our friends. This is why each year on November 10th, Marines from all generations gather together, in groups large and small, to celebrate the birthday of our Corps and to reflect on the proud legacy and warrior ethos we share. This is what unites us as Marines. From our first battle at New Providence to today in Afghanistan, Marines have always shown that they were made of tougher stuff – that when the enemy’s fire poured in from all angles, and the situation was grim, Marines unequivocally knew that their fellow Marines would stay behind their guns, fight courageously, and drive the enemy from the battlefield. We have always known hardship, fatigue, and pain…but we have never known what it is to lose a battle!

Marines of generations past built our reputation as the most disciplined and honorable warriors to ever set foot on a battlefield, and we have triumphed in every battle because our Corps has always focused on iron discipline and combat excellence. This is who we are…this is what we do! It matters not whether you carried an M-1, an M-14, or an M-16. It matters not whether you fought on a lonely island in the Pacific, assaulted a citadel in the jungle, or marched up to Baghdad. It matters not whether you are a grunt, a pilot or a loggie. What matters most is that, when the chips were down and things got tough, your fellow Marines could count on you to stand and fight…and fight we did!

This year, we celebrate the anniversary of several epic battles in our celebrated history: the 70th anniversary of the 2nd Marine Division landing on Tarawa, the 45th anniversary of the Battle of Hue City, and the 10th anniversary of the “March Up” to Baghdad. Marines who fought in these legendary battles each made their mark upon the history of our Corps. They have passed a rich and illustrious legacy on to us – a much heralded reputation. It is ours to jealously guard, and it is up to us to make our own marks and thus proudly pass it on to the generations of Marines who will follow.

Sergeant Major Michael Barrett joins me in congratulating each of you. Because of you, your selfless service, and your many sacrifices, our Corps remains strong and ready to respond to any crisis. Throughout history, Marines have faced tough times and there will be tough times ahead, but there is no challenge we cannot overcome if we remain honorable and always faithful to our Nation, our Constitution and each other. Happy Birthday, Marines!

Semper Fidelis

James F. Amos

General, U.S. Marine Corps

Commandant of the Marine Corps

How To Address A U.S. Marine

How To Address A U.S. Marine

Just as with anything, personal preference comes into play. For me, I am a Marine, despite not being on active or reserve duty. Marines are unique in this sense compared to the other services. From the time we enter boot camp or OCS (officer candidate school), it is drilled into our heads that ‘Once a Marine, Always a Marine.’

Many people will refer to a Marine who is no longer on active or reserve duty as an ‘ex-Marine.’ I find the term to be mildly insulting, as, to me, the term implies a dishonorable discharge – or, being kicked out. Another term, which I sometimes use to refer to myself or to correct another is ‘former Marine.’ However, that is also incorrect. Once a recruit completes basic training and earns their EGA (Eagle, Globe & Anchor) they have officially become a Marine by earning the title. It wasn’t just given to them, it was worked for and earned. It’s something that cannot be taken away.

To properly refer to a U.S. Marine whether on active duty, reserve duty or living as a civilian, you call them Marine. The Commandant of the Marine Corps reaffirmed this in December 2011.

A Marine is a Marine.  I set that policy two weeks ago – there’s no such thing as a former Marine.   You’re a Marine, just in a different uniform and you’re in a different phase of your life.  But you’ll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico.  There’s no such thing as a former Marine.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos

I compromise a little and accept the term former-Marine, but I will always correct someone, politely, when they refer to me as an ex-Marine. I did it just the other day to someone at a meeting. But if I want to be stoic about it, I am just a Marine; not ex, and not former.

The other services’ aren’t as traditional as the Marine Corps and do not teach or dwell on their services’ history like the Marines do. Therefore, they aren’t as adamant about what they’re referred to or uphold their service branch quite as we do.

The Marine Corps has a long and very proud tradition and its actually taught to recruits in boot camp. We have actual history classes in the Marines; it’s that important to us. We do not want to forget who we are, where we came from (as a service) and those who went before us. We keep and uphold traditions passed down from Marines prior and we honor them all the time. Significant battles are taught, remembered and heroes of the service are also remembered. Even more, mostly unknown Marines, are honored in nearly every passageway in any Marine Corps building with plaques on the wall. Most of them are Marines killed in action in one war or another. Their picture, their rank, and a short description of their heroics are hung on the walls for everyone to see and read.

Because of that, Marines are a very proud people. When I visited the Marine Corps Museum in Virginia a few years ago, I actually cried a little at some of the displays (oh great, now I’m welling up just thinking about this) of the battles we’ve fought and the sacrifices so many Marines gave. The museum pulled out all the stops when they built it. They went so far as to recreate the actual smells of combat, and of gear and vehicles used. When I walked into a display of a CH-46 transport helicopter, I was overwhelmed with memories of my time flying in them because they had the same smell the real helicopters had. As you probably know, the sense of smell is the most powerful of senses to help you recall memories. The museum was amazing. If you ever get a chance to visit it, you should.

Anyway, I said all that to distinguish the Marines from the other services. That’s not to say that they don’t have pride in their branch or recall some of their history, but the Marines are very big on tradition and history far more than the others are. The other servicemembers probably, mostly, don’t care, don’t mind or even know about a distinction between an ex or former “insert service branch here.”

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of the Marine Corps and the mere 4 years I spent on active duty in the late 1990’s. I carry a 1st Marine Division challenge coin with me every single day in my pocket; even if I’m running out to Taco Bell and coming right back home. I also wear a gold Marine Corps ring every day as well. The ring has on one side ‘Fleet Marine Force” and on the other “Guadalcanal” which was a major battle of WWII that the 1st Marine Division fought against the Japanese.

If you come across anyone who has served in the Marines, please, just call them Marine. They’ll thank you for it.

Semper Fidelis

SandboxGeneral served as a U.S. Marine Corporal in 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines from 1997 to 2001.

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