Just ahead of Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice, the U.S. Marine Corps is celebrating its 243rd birthday.
For two and a half centuries, the Marine Corps has played a vital role in protecting America both in the homeland and abroad, where it fought in every major war.
The branch’s creation stems from a resolution by John Adams to establish “two Battalions of Marines” in preparation for the American Revolution, Newsweek reported. The resolution was adopted Nov. 10, 1775, thus sparking annual celebrations on the date of its formation.
Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert B. Neller, released a seven-minute birthday message capturing the legacy of the Marine Corps.
Commandant’s Birthday Message
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) November 2, 2018
Gen. Neller also released an official statement on the birthday of the Marine Corps:
As we celebrate our 243rd birthday, Marines remain in combat, forward-deployed throughout the world confronting every challenge with courage, loyalty, and faithfulness. Each year on this day, we renew our resolve to be the most ready when the Nation is least ready; we pay tribute to all who forged our proud legacy; we recommit ourselves to defending freedom anytime and anywhere; we stand ready to aid those devastated by natural disasters; and we honor the families and loved ones who faithfully stand beside us.
This year marks a number of significant milestones. One hundred years ago this June, a determined brigade of Marines fought ferociously over the hallowed grounds of Belleau Wood. Those Marines solidified our Corps’ global reputation for being a tenacious and highly-skilled fighting force that forever etched the phrase “Teufel Hunden” into our lexicon. The same year Marines secured control of Belleau Wood, more than 300 women answered our Nation’s call, becoming the first females to enlist in our Corps. The legacy of the first Women Marine Reservists, and all trailblazing Marines, serves as a reminder that the title Marine is not restricted by gender, color, or creed it is a warrior spirit and distinguished role earned by an elite group.
This year also marks 50 years since Marines fought ferocious battles against a worthy foe in some of the most austere locations of Vietnam. The indomitable spirit and unyielding resourcefulness of Marines cutting through the mountainous triple canopy jungles and overcoming the challenges of urban combat during the “Tet Offensive” honed the warfighting prowess of our Corps. Hard lessons learned at Khe Sanh and Hue proved crucial to our successes during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom allowing us to secure victory in the fields of Sangin and on the urban battlefields of Fallujah. It was also at Hue that now retired Sergeant Major John Canley charged enemy machine gun positions and put his own life on the line to ensure no Marine was left behind, epitomizing the true meaning of Semper Fidelis. Today, we proudly honor his faithfulness with our Nation’s highest award for valor.
For 243 years, Marines have fought and won whenever and wherever the Nation calls. In the harshest conditions, over the most brutal terrain, and against the most formidable enemies, Marines defend the ideals of freedom with grit and tenacity. Though battlefields change and capabilities evolve, history proves that true victory comes from the individual Marine with steeled resolve, the drive to overcome any obstacle, and the warrior spirit to fight on against all odds. It takes that steadfast faithfulness Semper Fidelis to Corps, country, and each other that abounds throughout our storied legacy.
Happy Birthday, Marines!
On a less serious note, Gen. Neller appeared in a short comedic video with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein.
— Gen. Dave Goldfein (@GenDaveGoldfein) November 10, 2018
On Saturday at 6 p.m. EST, a Marine Corps Commandant’s Birthday Ball will be held, featuring retired Gen. Charles C. Krulak as guest of honor.
Happy 243rd Birthday Marines!!
Tonight at 6:00 PM EST, the Commandant’s Birthday Ball ceremony will be live on our Facebook and Twitter. The guest of honor will be retired Gen. Charles C. Krulak. pic.twitter.com/QdN6ppkFaL
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) November 10, 2018
On Friday, a wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Marine Corps War Memorial.
The 243rd U.S. Marine Corps Birthday Wreath-Laying Ceremony was conducted today at the Marine Corps War Memorial. Either in fair or foul weather we must always pay tribute to those who have gone before us. Semper Fidelis- “18” pic.twitter.com/y2KF1SeyQ8
— Ronald L. Green (@18thSMMC) November 9, 2018
Birthday wishes for the Marine Corps were sent by many, including U.S. officials and other departments.
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) November 10, 2018
Army Chief of Staff Mark A. Milley tweeted, “Happy 243rd birthday to the United States Marine Corps! From the Halls of Montezuma to the mountains of Afghanistan, the Army is proud to have fought alongside the few and the proud. Our Marines are exceptional warriors. #SemperFi.”
Happy 243rd birthday to the United States Marine Corps! From the Halls of Montezuma to the mountains of Afghanistan, the Army is proud to have fought alongside the few and the proud. Our Marines are exceptional warriors. #SemperFi. pic.twitter.com/PbjKjIijqS
— GEN Mark A. Milley (@ArmyChiefStaff) November 10, 2018
While in Paris preparing for celebrations of the World War I armistice on Sunday, President Trump tweeted a brief “Happy 243rd Birthday to our GREAT U.S. Marine Corps.”
Happy 243rd Birthday to our GREAT U.S. Marine Corps🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/1cPtoMfmxP
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, “As the proud father of a United States Marine, I’m honored to celebrate the @USMC on 243 years of defending our freedom and this Nation and helping to keep our families safe. Happy Birthday Marines – 243 years of being the first to fight. Semper Fi.”
As the proud father of a United States Marine, I’m honored to celebrate the @USMC on 243 years of defending our freedom and this Nation and helping to keep our families safe. Happy Birthday Marines – 243 years of being the first to fight. Semper Fi. #MarineCorpsBirthday pic.twitter.com/818ejVPnn4
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) November 10, 2018
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted, “Happy 243rd birthday, @USMC! On behalf of @StateDept, I am proud to celebrate the service and commitment of Marines past and present, and give a special thanks to the men and women who protect our diplomatic posts around the world.”
Happy 243rd birthday, @USMC! On behalf of @StateDept, I am proud to celebrate the service and commitment of Marines past and present, and give a special thanks to the men and women who protect our diplomatic posts around the world. #MarineCorpsBirthday pic.twitter.com/cLkwzfrtfh
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 10, 2018