Marine Corps

November 25, 2012 6:42 am

The Marines fight on land, sea, and in the air. They are trained to attack quickly and to carry out attacks from the water on an enemy shore. The United States Marines Corps defends United States naval bases and ships. Marines also guard U.S. embassies—places in other countries where U.S. ambassadors live and work.
Every major country has an army, but only about 30 countries have a marine corps. In most of these countries, the marines are part of the navy. The U.S. Marine Corps is trained to fight on its own, without the U.S. Army or Navy. The U.S. Marines are sometimes called “leathernecks” because their early uniforms had leather collars.
The U.S. Marine Corps was formed in 1775 during the American Revolution. Since then, the Marines have fought all over the world. The Marines’ Hymn, a traditional song of the U.S. Marines, begins with the line, “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.” The “halls of Montezuma” refers to a castle in Mexico City. The U.S. Marines won a difficult victory there in 1847 during the Mexican War. The “shores of Tripoli” are in Libya, where the Marines fought pirates in 1805.
The U.S. Marines sent thousands of troops to fight in France in 1917 and 1918 during World War I. The Marines also fought many tough battles after the United States entered World War II in 1941. In 1942 and 1943, they battled to defeat the Japanese on Guadalcanal, an island in the Pacific Ocean. As the Marines swept through the Pacific, they fought hard on the islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in 1945. The Battle of Iwo Jima was one of the deadliest battles of the war. Nearly 6,000 Marines died and more than 17,000 were wounded on Iwo Jima. After the battle, U.S. Navy admiral Chester Nimitz said of the Marines, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.”
Since 1950, the Marines have fought in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, and Serbia. The Marines fought in Afghanistan after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. The Marines played a key role during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
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