History of Marine Barracks Annapolis
Marines have served at the United States Naval Academy since 1851, just six years after the Academy?s founding. Since the first Marines arrived in Annapolis, strong professional bonds and close, harmonious working relationships have developed between the Marines, Navy, and Midshipmen.
Between 1841 and 1855, the Marine Detachment at Annapolis was referred to as the ?Marine Guards? for the U.S. Naval Academy and was quartered through the years aboard six different ships?the USS Savannah, Santee, Constitution, Macedonian, Winnepec, and Preble. On 31 August 1865, the ?Marine Guards? were formerly established at the Naval Academy. The use of the term ?Marine Barracks, Annapolis, Maryland? gradually came into use in the 1880?s after Marines moved into permanent buildings built beside the pier which was located in the vicinity of the present Santee Basin and the Academy?s sailing center. In 1898, Marines from the Barracks marched off to the Spanish-American War and were again called to participate in the Cuban Pacification from 1906 to 1909 where they performed occupational duty, guarding installations, assisting in maintaining internal order, and disarming insurgents. For these actions, the Barracks was awarded the Spanish Campaign and Cuban Pacification Streamers which fly proudly from our organizational colors.
In 1899 and 1901, monies were appropriated by the U.S. Marine Corps for the construction of a permanent Marine Barracks and three sets of Officer?s quarters at the Naval Academy. The barracks building and officer?s quarters were constructed and occupied by the Marine Corps until 14 May 1917. On 12 May, 1917, Marine Barracks Annapolis, Maryland, was moved as a unit to Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia by direction of the Secretary of the Navy following the out-break of World War I. Because of the increase of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy during World War I, the Marine Barracks was turned over to the Naval Academy for use as accommodations for the Midshipmen. Upon transfer of the Marine Barracks building at Annapolis to the Navy in 1917, the redesignated Marine Detachment was temporarily billeted aboard the receiving ship USS Reina Mercedes.
Following the end of World War I, the Marine Detachment was redesignated as Marine Barracks, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland on 1 September 1919. The Barracks buildings, however, were not returned to the Marine Corps by the Navy. Since 1919, the buildings had been used as the Navy?s Post Graduate School. (These buildings today are Halligan Hall, which houses the Naval Academy Public Works Department and the three sets of quarters opposite it).
Marine continued to be quartered aboard the USS Reina Mercedes which was unsatisfactory in many ways. Following reports form medical officers concerning the unsanitary conditions of the quarters assigned to the Marines aboard the USS Reina Mercedes, the Marines were transferred and quartered in temporary wartime structures across the Severn River at the Naval Academy rifle range (the present day Naval Station).
On 18 July 1931, the Chief of Naval Operations approved a recommendation from the Superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy, that the Marines be moved from the north side (Naval Station side) of the Severn Rifer and again be quartered aboard the USS Reina Mercedes. The Marine contingent was again reduced in size and transferred to the ship, being redesignated as the Marine Detachment, USS Reina Mercedes, Annapolis, Maryland on 18 1931. Marines remained aboard the USS Reina Mercedes until 1 November 1947 when the barracks was moved to the Naval Station, Annapolis, and redesignated as Marine Barracks, U.S. Naval Station, Annapolis, Maryland.
As indicated, Marine Barracks, Annapolis is one of the few Barracks that is proud and privileged to carry battle streamers for actual participation in the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the Cuban Pacification from 1906 through 1909. Additionally, the Barracks carries the World War I Victory Streamer, World War II Victory Streamer, and the National Defense Service Streamer with one bronze star on its Organizational Colors. Former Commanding Officers of the Marine Barracks include two Commandants of the Marine Corps ? Generals Russell and Fuller, and other Marine ?greats? such as Pendleton, Berkeley, Goettge, Breackenridge, Marston, and Torrey.
No history of the Marine Barracks would be complete without mentioning Colonel McLane Tilton, USMC (1836-1914), a native of Annapolis, who was the senior Marine officer at the Naval Academy during four tours commanding the barracks, 1866-69, 1873-77, 1883-85, and 1892-97. He served in the Civil War and as the senior Marine in the assault on the Salee (later Han) River Korean forts in 1871 in which six enlisted Marines earned the Medal of Honor. In retirement, after 1897, Colonel Tilton moved just outside the wall to his parent's home at
9 Maryland Avenue, where he had been born. The historic house bears his family's name and still contains the coffin he had made for himself but was not used.
On 26 October, 1987 the mission of Marine Barracks Annapolis changed to guarding the gates at the U.S. Naval Academy, a mission the Marines had not performed since they left the Naval Academy to fight in the Spanish-American War. The guard at the Radio Transmitter Facility was handed over to the Navy and civilian security guards. The ceremonial functions of the Marine Barracks Annapolis did not change. Guard posts were still stood at the crypt of John Paul Jones and the Naval Academy Museum. Funeral ceremonies, Color ceremonies, and all other missions as assigned by the Superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy continued to be executed.
The Marine Barracks, Annapolis, Maryland, retired its colors on February 19, 1994 and became the United States Naval Academy Company, Marine Barracks, Washington. The ?Marine Guards? of the Naval Academy joined the ranks of the ?Oldest Post in the Corps? by becoming part of the historic Marine Barracks at 8th and I streets in Washington, D.C. There was no change in mission for the new company; it still stood the gates of the Naval Academy, as well as its ceremonial posts and functions. Marines participated in Morning Colors ceremonies at Tecumseh Court, rendered honors to the fallen during funerals at the Naval Academy cemetery and in the surrounding area, and provided the honor guard for the Superintendent of the Naval Academy. Security for classified conferences, briefs, and visits by the President of the United States and other important visitors were a vital function that the Marines provided. The USNA Company also provided administrative support to the Marines assigned to work at the Naval Academy, as well as Midshipmen entering the Marine Corps as 2nd Lieutenants.
After September 11, 2001 the United States Naval Academy Company began to give up some of its ceremonial functions to better support the security efforts aboard the Naval Academy. The posts at John Paul Jones? crypt and the Museum were gradually done away with as additional security posts were added to the Company?s mission. Marines also began to stand guard in the camouflage utility uniform, often with rifles and combat equipment, to serve as a better visual deterrent to those who would do harm to the Midshipmen and the Naval Academy. Support for funerals and ceremonies were still provided by the USNA Company and by its parent organization at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. The basic mission of the ?Marine Guards?, which was to guard the gates of the Naval Academy in 1851, exists today in the Naval Academy Company as it prepares to hand over its duties to the Navy and retire its guidon.
Throughout their history, Marines assigned to provide security at the Naval Academy have upheld the high standards of professionalism and devotion to duty that have become a legacy of Naval Academy Company, Marine Barracks Washington.
Source: USNA Curator and U.S. Naval Institute
Posted by Serge Lord
Oct 03 2006 03:04:01:000PM