Marine Corps

A Marine lieutenant undergoes training in the Corps' Infantry Officers Course. The course will enroll its first female students this year. Joey Chavez/U.S. Marine Corps

The Marine Corps serves as a versatile combat element, and is adapted to a wide variety of combat operations. The Marine Corps was initially composed of infantry combat forces serving aboard naval vessels, responsible for security of the ship, its captain and officers, offensive and defensive combat during boarding actions, by acting as sharpshooters, and carrying out amphibious assaults. The Marines fully developed and used the tactics of amphibious assault in World War II, most notably in the Pacific Island Campaign.

Since its creation in 1775, the Corps’ role has expanded significantly. The Marines have a unique mission statement, and, alone among the branches of the U.S. armed forces, “shall, at any time, be liable to do duty in the forts and garrisons of the United States, on the seacoast, or any other duty on shore, as the President, at his discretion, shall direct.” In this special capacity, charged with carrying out duties given to them directly by the President of the United States, the Marine Corps serves as an all-purpose, fast-response task force, capable of quick action in areas requiring emergency intervention.

The Marine Corps possesses organic ground and air combat elements, and relies upon the US Navy to provide sea combat elements to fulfill its mission as “America’s 9-1-1 Force”. Ground combat elements are largely contained in three Marine Expeditionary Forces, or “MEF’s”. The 1st MEF is based out of Camp Pendleton, California, the 2nd out of Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, while the third is based on Okinawa, Japan. Within the MEF’s are the individual Marine Divisions (MARDIVS) and Force Service Support Groups (FSSG’s).Force Reconnaissance companies are composed of Marines specially trained in covert insertion, reconnaissance, and surveillance tactics, and some have even received special operations training. The “Recon Marine’s” basic mission is to scout out the enemy and report what they find.

Air combat elements are similarly grouped in the first, second and third Marine Aircraft Wings (MAW’s).

Marine tactics and doctrine tends to emphasize aggressiveness and the offensive, compared to Army tactics for similar units. The Marines have been central in developing groundbreaking tactics for maneuver warfare; they can be credited with the development of helicopter insertion doctrine and modern amphibious assault.

The Marines also maintain an operational and training culture dedicated to emphasizing the infantry combat abilities of every Marine. All Marines receive training first and foremost as basic riflemen, and thus the Marine Corps at heart functions as an infantry corps. The Marine Corps is famous for the saying “Every Marine a rifleman.”

There are approximately 198,000 Marines currently serving across the globe.

The Marine Corps motto is “Semper Fidelis,” which means “always faithful.”

Vietnam War Veteran Gets Dying Wish to Visit Pearl Harbor

Joseph Hooker, a terminally ill Vietnam veteran, sits in a wheelchair in front of his brother Lester as they listen to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam volunteer historian describe the USS Arizona memorial, March 25, 2015. (Jennifer Sinco Kelleher/AP)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — When a Vietnam veteran briefly stopped in Hawaii on his way home from war, he vowed to return one day to honor the people who perished during the attack on Pearl Harbor. With just less than two months to live, Joseph Hooker realized his longtime dream on Wednesday. The Marine Corps veteran, who has heart disease and cance... more

Okinawa Orders Halt to Work Related to US Base Relocation

An aerial view of Camp Schwab, Okinawa. Jose O. Nava/III Marine Expeditionary Force

TOKYO -- The governor of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa said Monday he has ordered a Defense Ministry branch to suspend all work at the site where a key U.S. military air base is to be relocated. Gov. Takeshi Onaga told a news conference that a concrete anchor thrown into the sea for a drilling survey of the reef at the designated site... more

Trial Begins for US Marine Charged With Murder of Transgender Filipino

U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, third left, the suspect in the killing of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude is escorted into the courtroom for his trial Monday, March 23. (AP Photo/Jun Dumaguing)

MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine court on Wednesday began the trial of a U.S. Marine charged with murdering a transgender Filipino after allegedly discovering her gender when they checked into a hotel in an emotional case that has tested America's ties with a key Asian ally. U.S. security escorts brought Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, w... more

Marines Old and New Return to Iwo Jima

Marine Lance Cpl. Morgan Barnes helps steady Battle of Iwo Jima veteran and fellow Marine Carl DeHaven as he makes his way to the ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the World War II battle. Matthew M. Burke/Stars and Stripes

IWO TO, Japan -- One by one, they descended the steep incline, past the beach grass and lush vegetation that whispered in a melancholy wind. Past the destroyed pill box and rusted machine gun that still peered toward the black sand beach as it did when it fired on their fellow Marines 70 years earlier. As they hit the volcanic powder below, the... more

US Marine Corps Urges 'Vigilance' after IS Online Threat

In this undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State group, march in Raqqa, Syria. (AP Photo/File)

The U.S. Marine Corps on Sunday urged "vigilance" after a group claiming to be Islamic State hackers published what they said were the names and addresses of 100 military personnel and urged supporters to kill them. The warning came after a group calling itself the Islamic State Hacking Division posted information about members of the Air Force... more

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