On November 10, 1775, 230 years ago, the Continental Congress authorized the formation of two battalions of Marines. Tradition says that the earliest recruiting of Marines took place at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, owned by Robert Mullan, who later became a Continental Marine officer. The Marines' first operation was a raid on a British base in the Bahamas. As I like to say, the Marine Corps was formed in a bar and then immediately went on a Caribbean cruise.
The Marine Corps has the reputation of being one of the finest fighting organizations in history. In his wonderful book First to Fight, Lt. Gen. Victor H. "Brute" Krulak recounts a discussion he had early in his distinguished career with a senior Marine NCO. To Krulak's query about how the Marines had come by their reputation, the old Gunny replied, "Well, lieutenant, they started right out telling everybody how great they were. Pretty soon they got to believing it themselves. And they have been busy ever since proving they were right."
They were proving it in Fallujah at this very time last year. And they are proving it again now in Al Anbar province. As Marine general Jim Mattis says, "The Marines: no better friend, no worse enemy."
The first thing about the Marine Corps is the people. I have known Marines all my life. My dad was a Marine for 25 years, fighting in two campaigns in the Pacific during World War II and again in Korea. My dad and his friends were very tight; they had been through hell together in such places as Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Tarawa, Guam, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Just five years later, they were fighting again in Korea. The bonds they established in combat and training extended to their social life and each other's families. These were hardened, tough men, but they were like putty in the hands of their wives and children.
I guess I was destined to be a Marine from the beginning. ...
U.S. Marine Corps Celebrates 230 Years
Mackubin Thomas Owens in NRO: