A Brief History
On November 10, 1775, the finest fighting force in the history of the world was born when the United States Marine Corps was established in a Philadelphia tavern by Samuel Nicholas.
Even back in 1775 Tun Tavern was already an old established meeting place, having been built way back in 1686, making it almost 90 years old. Located near the Philadelphia waterfront, Tun Tavern was a meeting place for the St. George Society, the first Masonic lodge in America (St. Johns Masonic Lodge #1), the St. Andrews Society, served as a recruiting place for the Pennsylvania militia by Ben Franklin during the French and Indian War, and the Continental Congress had met there with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
Samuel Nicholas, the innkeeper at the Tavern (a former Quaker) was authorized by the Continental Congress to raise 2 battalions of Marines. In fact, Captain Nicholas was given command of the first company of Marines recruited, 100 men from Rhode Island.
Ever since, the date of November 10 is celebrated by US Marines wherever they are in the world, often with a formal ball, 240 Birthdays celebrated thus far, with no end in sight.
Although the streamlining of the armed forces of the US has been proposed and pondered time and again, with proposals to put all flying missions with the Air Force, all the current Army and Marine Corps missions with the Army, and leaving the Navy to drive their boats, the Marine Corps has prevailed and survived every attempt to streamline the Corps out of business. President Truman once lamented that the Marine Corps “have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin’s.” Hey Harry, it is not bragging if it is true!
Apparently the old haberdasher and Army Captain just did not get the Big Picture. The Marine Corps serves with the Navy on ships, provides its own close air support, is the repository for amphibious warfare expertise, and produces a better trained, smarter, and more effective fighting man than the Army for less money. These days a bargain like that cannot be ignored. Marines are deployed on amphibious warfare ships anywhere in the world our country might need a fighting force in a hurry. No other force in the world can match the Navy/Marine Corps team for that sort of power projection.
No former Marine has ever been President of the US, perhaps an indication of the USMC focus on fighting wars, not political battles. Today, as you celebrate the Birthday and rich history of the US Marine Corps, please remember all those who have fallen in service to this country and those that serve on the front lines far away. Semper fi, Mac.
Question for students (and subscribers): Has anyone in your family ever served in the Marine Corps? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Chenoweth, H. Avery and Brooke Nihart. Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines. Sterling, 2010.