United States Marine Corps and Marines Essay

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Christopher Eboda Professor Macintyre History 203 March 30, 2012 The Marines The United States Marines is one of the most elite and distinguished fighting forces in the world; they have been deployed in many ways, by the United States military, going into the frontlines in major conflicts, as they did in World War II or as peacekeepers around the world. The Marines have been a part of American history, since the founding of the republic.
Today’s large, powerful, and modern U.S. Marine corps can trace its ancestry back to the misty fleets of the ancient world. Then, as now, marines were needed to perform essential functions with the navy and as elements of flexible sea power. The mobile fleets were the primary instruments of strategy for the extension and defense of the maritime empires bordering the Mediterranean. The sea battles of those early times included the tactics of ramming and boarding, while the primary weapons were crude missiles, spears, bows and arrows, and swords. Hand to hand combat was the climax of the naval maneuver, and the assaults were usually led by the soldiers (marines) of the ships’ crews (Donovan 4). The United States Marines were established in 1775 (Donovan 5) by the Marine Committee of the Continental Congress (Donovan 6).The first continental marine officer was Samuel Nichols of Philadelphia (Donovan 7), he was charged by Congress with the task of training the two battalions, which they had provided him. Nichols marines saw their first bit of action in 1776 (Donovan 7) conducting raids on forts in the British Bahamas (Donovan 7). They continued to be used as raiders until the end of the war. At the conclusion of the revolutionary War, the continental marines were disbanded; they consisted of 124 officers and about 3,000 leathernecks (Donovan 7). In 1798 (Donovan 7), due to attacks on American commerce by the French navy and Barbary pirates congress moved to establish a new national defense force. First the Navy department was established, and on July 11, 1798 (Donovan 7), President John Adams approved an act of congress providing for the establishment of the U.S Marine Corps. The new Corps was to consist of 33 officers and 848 non-commissioned officers, drums, fifes and privates (Donovan 7). The first real fighting the marines engaged in was against the Barbary state of Tripoli, in 1805 (Donovan 9). The force was led by Lieutenant P. N. O’Bannon of the U.S Marine Corps. The men consisted of a few marines; the majority of the forces were mercenaries of Greek and Arab origin. The band of men marched all the way from Alexandria to