The U.S. Marine Corps traces its origins to November 10,
1775, during the Revolutionary War, when the Continental Congress
called for two battalions of Continental Marines to be raised. Their
mission was to provide security on-board Navy ships, conduct ship-to-ship
fighting, and serve as landing troops. Tradition has it that the Tun
Tavern in Philadelphia served as the first Marines recruiting post. The
Marines’ first landing, led by Captain Samuel Nicholas, came in March
1776 at New Providence, in the Bahamas, where they seized British
cannons, shells, and powder.
The Marines were disbanded after the Revolutionary War, then reformed
in 1798. The U.S. Marine Corps has served in every major armed conflict
in American history. As a “force in readiness,” its missions range from
amphibious assaults to counter-terrorism operations.
The Marine Corps flag is a scarlet banner that carries a yellow and
gray image of a globe (symbolizing service in any part of the world)
and an anchor (a reminder of the amphibious nature of Marines’ duties,
and that the Marine Corps is a partner of the U.S. Navy). An eagle
stands on the globe, holding in its beak a scroll inscribed with the
Marine Corps motto, Semper
Fidelis (“Always Faithful”). Below, a larger scroll reads,
“United States Marine Corps.” The flag’s design dates to 1939.