10 November 2015:
In 1775, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution requiring "two battalions of Marines be raised" for service as a landing force with the navy fleet. That was 240 years ago and then, as now, the U.S. Marine Corps is the pre-eminent fighting force in the world. They serve on land and at sea; witness that one of their first engagements was an amphibious raid in the Bahamas to take ammunition stores from the British during the Revolution.
They fought in Tripoli during the Barbary Wars (1803-5) and their trek across the desert to attack Derna (now in Libya) in 1805, led to the inclusion of the Mamaluke Sword as part of their uniform. It was modelled after the swords used by the Berber horsemen who fought alongside them. (The Tripoli War is also included in the Marine's Hymn .... "to the shores of Tripoli...")
The Marines also handled most of the Pacific War during WWII, island hopping toward Japan, fighting and taking casualties as they proved to the Japanese their fighting skill and determination.
Semper Fi, Marines!
And since tomorrow is Veterans' Day in the U.S. a big "thank you" out to all the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, and National Guard men and women who selflessly signed an open-ended contract to defend our country, willing to put their lives on the line for our freedom. And we raise a glass to the memory of our absent comrades!
Until next time, then,