Even as the smallest of the U.S. service branches, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) is considered our country’s leading crisis response force.
Marines are often at the forefront of many missions, including traditional warfare and humanitarian and disaster relief missions (HADR).
With its special forces that combine aviation, ground, and amphibious assets, the USMC preps Marines to overcome and adapt to any and all situations — whether in combat or not.
Ready to learn more about the small but mighty force that is the Marine Corps?
Read on for some fascinating Marine Corps history facts and knowledge.
Important Marine Corps History Dates
The U.S. Marine Corps was formed in November 1775 as a ground force of the Navy
The year the Marine Corps became an official branch of the U.S. military
The U.S. Marine Corps has been an official component of the U.S. Navy since June 1834
The year First Lt. Cunningham became the first Marine Aviator at a Naval Aviation Camp
The Marine section of the Navy flying school was established in January 1914
Marine Corps Personnel
The Marine Corps accepts approximately 38,000 new recruits each year at either the Recruit Training Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina or San Diego, California. From there, Marines have the opportunity to be stationed in numerous locations. There are more than 35 Marine Corps bases around the world, with the majority of them in the United States.
It’s the manpower that keeps these bases running. Here’s a look at the personnel numbers:
Active Duty Members
- 184,427 Corps
- 38,473 Reserve
- 163,092 Corps
- 34,079 Reserve
- 21,335 Corps
- 4,394 Reserve
Marine Corps Transportation
What kind of transportation equipment does the Marine Corps have? Well, a lot. From tankers to manned aircraft, there’s quite a bit of inventory on the equipment side of the Marine Corps.
Here’s a look:
- 1,304 manned aircraft
- 1,600 tanks
- 19,598 Humvees
- 1,321 amphibious assault vehicles
By 2024, the government’s plan is to upgrade the current Abrams tank fleet.
Marine Aviation flew more than 120,000 combat hours in the Middle East during 2006, the most since the Vietnam War. The flights had a 74.5% mission-capable rate. Here’s a look at the impressive Marine Aviation fleet:
- 427 combat aircraft
- 53 tankers
- 26 transport vehicles
- 744 helicopters
- 40 trainer aircraft
USMC Dress and Titles
Part of a Marine’s job is to look well-groomed and professional in uniform. With every rank climbed, your uniform will change. It’s an honor to wear the uniform, which is why so much preparation is mandated for both enlisted and officers. Here’s a look at USMC dress and titles:
The number of different types of Marine uniforms with various versions: field, dress, and service.
There are 9 commissioned officer titles ranging from Second Lieutenant to General
There are 5 Warrant Officer titles
The number of enlisted member titles from Private all the way up to Sergeant Major
5 Ways to Spot a Marine
Sometimes it seems the military is one big blended branch with everyone doing similar jobs. Marines have distinctive uniforms that are unlike how any other branch dresses. Sometimes Marines may be confused with Army soldiers, especially in combat when uniforms look similar.
Here are a few key differences to help you spot a Marine a mile away:
- Marines don’t wear berets
- Marines may only wear boots with utility uniforms
- Marines can only salute when wearing a cover
- Marines only wear covers indoors when they are “under arms”
- If a Marine is wearing their utility uniform you can find their rank on the collar.
Fun Marine Corps History Fact: The nickname Leatherneck originated from a leather collar, called The Stock, which protected Marines’ necks during combat. The Stock was part of the Marines’s uniform from 1798 to 1872.
Marine Corps Fact: The USMC is Small But Mighty
Even as the U.S. military’s smallest branch, the Marine Corps is made up of a tight-knit group of individuals who uphold the phrase “Semper Fi” — meaning “always faithful” — in all that they do.
Marines are known to fight to win whether they’re on the ground, in the air, or sailing the sea. Not everyone is cut out to be a Marine, but the ones who do their jobs with accuracy, pride, and integrity.
As the saying goes, the Marines are “The Few. The Proud.”
Have any Marine Corps facts and knowledge you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!