Sample chapter from The Marines

The Marine Corps Experience
The world over, the word Marine defines something more than a soldier. It arouses the image of a warrior on the boundlessness of the oceans, coming from the mystique of the sea onto the land--an amphibian, a soldier of the sea. The aura is of one who is different and of whom more is expected.

To be a United States Marine requires more than mastery of the skills and techniques of soldiering or seamanship--the practical abilities that come through training and experience. Being a Marine is a state of mind that comes from an imbedded belief that he or she is, in fact, unique, a cut above. A Marine is, most of all, part of an organization that demands a difference--and delivers excellence beyond others in all it is and does. This is The Corps, the strongest brotherhood in the world.

"Send in the Marines" has been the American response to countless crises distant from our shores over the history of our nation. "Expeditionary" is the word that embodies this historic role of Marines--who are created and shaped not for home service, but for overseas expeditions. In 1775, the first American soldiers sent forth from the fledgling nation's shores were a detachment of Marines dispatched to New Providence, Bahamas. That amphibious raid--the first in what remains today a Marine specialty--aimed to seize guns and gunpowder from a British fort. Three decades later, Marines again sortied with the fleet to Derna, Tripoli, to put down Barbary Coast pirates taking a toll of American merchant ships in the Mediterranean. And in the same century, as America engaged in conflict with its neighbor to the south, Marines were first to reach the site of the palace of the Aztec chieftain, Montezuma. By such deeds over their entire existence, Marines lay claim to distinction as America's premier expeditionary force.

Unlike the emblematic shields of their sister services, signifying defense, the Marine emblem--eagle, globe, and anchor--symbolizes distant service under the American eagle, by land and sea, to represent their nation's interests "in every clime and place."

Some have likened Marines to the legionnaires of history. Historian T. E. Fehrenbach, accounting the Korean War of the mid-twentieth century, articulated this expeditionary image of Marines:
The man who will go where his colors go, without asking, who will fight a phantom foe in jungle and mountain range, without counting, and who will suffer and die in the midst of incredible hardship, without complaint, is still what he has always been, from Imperial Rome to sceptered Britain to democratic America. He is the stuff of which legions are made. . . . He has been called United States Marine.

These same remarkable qualities were poignantly characterized by Lieutenant General Victor H. Krulak, one of the Corps' great leaders, when he wrote: Although the Corps contains its share of visible heroes, its triumphs, in an aberration of history, are triumphs of the institution itself and not the attainments of individual Marines. We remember that Marlborough defeated the French, that Togo defeated the Russians, that Scipio defeated Carthage. But we know only that it was the Marines who won at Belleau Wood, the Marines who won at Guadalcanal, the Marines who led the way at Inchon. And that is exactly the way the Corps' heroes--big and small--would have it, for the Corps is less of the flesh than of the spirit.

Indeed, the Marine experience, for all those who have lived it, and for those who will live it, is special and to a higher standard in countless forms of measure. If there is a single distinction that stands out, among the many, marking the experience in the lives of the men and women who are Marines, it is their extraordinary and selfless dedication to and identification with The Corps.

This is the Marine Corps experience.


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