The U.S. Marine Corps traces its origins to November 10, 1775, during the Revolutionary War, when the Continental Congress called for two battalions of Continental Marines to be raised. Their mission was to provide security on-board Navy ships, conduct ship-to-ship fighting, and serve as landing troops. Tradition has it that the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia served as the first Marines recruiting post. The Marines’ first landing, led by Captain Samuel Nicholas, came in March 1776 at New Providence, in the Bahamas, where they seized British cannons, shells, and powder.
The Marines were disbanded after the Revolutionary War, then reformed in 1798. The U.S. Marine Corps has served in every major armed conflict in American history. As a “force in readiness,” its missions range from amphibious assaults to counter-terrorism operations.
The Marine Corps flag is a scarlet banner that carries a yellow and gray image of a globe (symbolizing service in any part of the world) and an anchor (a reminder of the amphibious nature of Marines’ duties, and that the Marine Corps is a partner of the U.S. Navy). An eagle stands on the globe, holding in its beak a scroll inscribed with the Marine Corps motto, Semper Fidelis (“Always Faithful”). Below, a larger scroll reads, “United States Marine Corps.” The flag’s design dates to 1939.