When the Continental Congress raised up two battalions of Marines in 1775, it launched the greatest fighting force the world has ever known – a force revered globally for its uncommon valor, unparalleled adaptability, and ferocious tenacity. Over the past 240 years, the battlefields and equipment have changed, but the spirit of the United States Marine Corps has prevailed in every clime and place.
One hundred years ago, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island opened its doors as the first base dedicated solely to making Marines. Since then, hundreds of thousands of men and women have been forged into elite warriors at Parris Island, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, and The Basic School in Quantico. Each recruit had a different reason for stepping onto the yellow footprints, but all are unified by the intangible traits that characterize United States Marines and the remarkable legacy that has carried on across generations.
Whether you served on the hallowed grounds of Belleau Wood, fought on the iconic island battlefields of World War II, navigated the harsh terrain and climate of the Chosin Reservoir or Vietnam, conducted assaults during Desert Storm, marched on Baghdad, fought in close combat in Fallujah, or conducted combat operations in Afghanistan, everyone who wears the Eagle, Globe and Anchor is a member of that storied legacy.
As we celebrate the 240th birthday of our Corps, we pay tribute to all who have served and we remember our fallen heroes. We take great pride in our legacy and in the fine men and women who carry our colors into the future. And we extend heartfelt thanks to our families for their steadfast support.
Our 26th Commandant, General Louis Wilson, once said, “In the last analysis, what the Marine Corps becomes is what we make of it during our respective watches. And that watch of each Marine is not confined to the time he spends on active duty. It lasts as long as he is ‘proud to bear the title of United States Marine.'” Thank you all for guarding the legacy of our Corps during your watch.
Happy Birthday, Marines
CMC Neller Signature
Robert B. Neller
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps