When an ad from 1779 mentioned that "a few good men" were needed to enlist in the Marine Corps, it started a proud tradition that has carried on to this day.
Those "few" now include both men and women, but they still have a lot of proud traditions. Here are 10 interesting facts about the U.S. Marine Corps.
1. The Marines are older than America
And they were founded in a bar. Yes, really. During the American Revolution, a lot of very important work was done in the taverns of Philadelphia. At Tun Tavern on November 10, 1775, a committee of the Continental Congress wrote a resolution creating the first ever Marine battalions.
Just weeks later these Marines, trained to fight on land and sea, were already battling the British in the Caribbean. Each year, Marines celebrate the Corps's "birthday" on November 10.
2. These tough guys have an adorable mascot
The Marines are known around the world as the "Devil Dogs" (more on that later) and they chose a mascot that represented their nickname very well. Since World War 1 an English bulldog named Chesty has represented the Corps (the current mascot is Chesty 15).
Chesty is named after Marine Lieutenant General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, the only Marine to ever earn five Navy Crosses, which is second only to the Medal of Honor.
3. The Marines have some colorful nicknames
The most common name for Marines today is Jarheads, which was originally an insult. Navy sailors said that 19th-century Marines looked like their heads were popping out of a Mason jar, because their uniforms featured tightly buttoned jackets and a stiff collar.
That collar - made of leather and worn to protect against bayonet stabs - lead to another common nickname: Leathernecks. Finally, Marines earned the nickname Devil Dogs when they drove German forces away from Paris in World War 1. The Germans called the fierce Marines teufel hunden, or "devil dogs."
4. A few good men and women
About 25% of students in the Marine Corps's Infantry Officer Course flunk out, and until this year no women had ever passed it. That's a pretty impressive turn-around, considering the course was only made available to women in January, 2016.
Meanwhile, there have been female Marines in other roles since Opha May Johnson joined in 1918. Even Bea Arthur from the Golden Girls was in the Marine Corps Women's Reserve during World War 2.
5. Semper Fi
The original Marine Corps motto was "By land, by sea," which was accurate but not very flashy. It was replaced in 1883 by "Semper Fi," which is Latin for "Always faithful." As the Corps's website explains, the motto “guides Marines to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to country, no matter what.”
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