November 10, 2012 - Happy Birthday, United States Marine Corps

Way back on this day in 1775, before the USA was the USA, the Continental Congress passed a resolution creating two battalions of Continental Marines. They would serve as landing troops for the Continental Navy, and they would do the ship-to-ship fighting and provide shipboard security.

The Marines helped win the Revolutionary War, and they were disbanded after the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783. But the new nation wasn't without Marines for long; in the 1790s the Marine Corps was reestablished. One thing that early Marines did was to fight against Barbary pirates along “the shores of Tripoli.”

This battle of Tripoli is especially famous because of the Marines' Hymn, the oldest official song of the US military. The song starts:
From the Halls of Montezuma, To the shores of Tripoli, We will fight our country's battles In the air, on land, and sea...
The Marine Corps birthday is celebrated with a traditional ball, a cake-cutting ceremony, and the singing of the Marines' Hymn. At the ball, civilians (people not in the military) will wear “black tie,” a phrase that means men in tuxedos and women in formal evening wear. Those who are in the military will come to the ball in military “dress” uniforms”
Marines: Evening Dress B
                       or Blue Dress A
Army: Army Blue (bow tie) Navy: Dinner Dress Blue Jacket or Dinner Dress Blue Air Force: Mess Dress

Did you know...?

The motto of the Marines is often stated as “Semper Fi,” but the Latin is actually “semper fidelis.” It means “always faithful” or “always loyal.”

Also on this date:

Biologist Francis Maitland Balfour's birthday 

Area Code Day 


  1. Good job. :)
    The Marine Corps Hymn states famous battles throughout time Tripoli was the first. Each battle is listed in order and is a testament to the Marine Corps battles won. There are some new un-official verses that have been added over the years that include the more current wars, but none are sung or known like the official verses of the Hymn.

    1. Thanks, Crystal. I'm not sure that the battles are really listed in order, since the "Halls of Montezuma" refer to the mid-1800s Mexican-American War. You are right that "the shores of Tripoli" refers to the first battle in the song...from the early 1800s, the First Barbary War. I think that the songwriter put the battles out of order because he wanted to rhyme with "Tripoli" -- and it just sounded better.

      Thanks for the info on the new, unofficial verses!