On July 11, 1798, the U.S. Marine Corps was created by an act of Congress. On the anniversary of its creation, here are five surprising facts about one of the most storied branches of the armed forces.
The First Marine Corps Recruitments Took Place In a Bar The Marine Corps was founded in a bar. The legend goes that in November 1775, newly commissioned Captains Samuel Nicholas and Robert Mullan organized the first Marine Corps enlistment at Tun Tavern, a popular watering hole in Philadelphia. The two officers are said to have lured potential Marines with mugs of beer and the promise of adventure on the high seas. Their recruits went on to become the first five companies to serve on Continental Navy ships. The Tun Tavern is considered the birthplace of the Marine Corps.
The Marines’ First Battle Took Place In The Bahamas
On March 3, 1776, Captain Samuel Nicholas and a force of 220 Marines stormed the beaches of the British-held island of New Providence in the Bahamas to search for military supplies. After they landed near Nassau unopposed, they captured the town and took possession of its two forts. Although the governor shipped out most of the gunpowder before the Marines' arrival, Nicholas and his troops seized mortars and brass cannons used later by George Washington and the Continental Army.
A Fight Against Pirates Made The Marines Famous
Following a brief disbandment after the American Revolution, the Marine Corps was revived in July 1798 and later sent into action against the Barbary pirates. The Barbary pirates didn't stand a chance when a small group of Marines led by Lt. Presley O'Bannon arrived in Egypt to overthrow the pirate leader at Tripoli. With Navy ships as backup providing bombardment, the Marine assault seized the city and its fortifications in Tripoli on April 27, 1805. This campaign in the First Barbary War led to the inclusion of the words "to the shores of Tripoli" in the "Marines' Hymn."
The Marine Corps Is Part of The Department of The Navy While the Marine Corps is its own branch of the U.S. military, it falls under the administration of the Department of the Navy. This close working relationship dates back to the American Revolution and has been affirmed by several acts of Congress. Marines serve aboard Navy ships and often train alongside sailors, and many Marine officers attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. Marines have also served under Army command, most notably during World War I in Europe, when the Fourth Marine Brigade was attached to the Second Infantry Division.
There Are Some Pretty Famous Marines With well over 200 years of service, the Marine Corps has trained hundreds of thousands of men and women who embody honor, courage, and commitment. Over the years, a handful of them have moved into civilian careers that catapulted them into the glare of the American public. Before he became famous for co-hosting The Tonight Show, Ed McMahon was a Marine fighter pilot with six air medals and 85 combat missions under his belt. Other well-known Marines include Drew Carey, Montel Williams, Steve McQueen, Gene Hackman, Ted Williams, Rob Riggle, and Harvey Keitel.