On Nov. 10, 1775, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution establishing the Continental Marines. The resolution was drafted by John Adams and called for the Marines to be the landing force for the Continental Navy.

The Continental Congress commissioned Samuel Nicholas as a captain and directed him to recruit two battalions of men for the new military organization. Upon learning of his commission, Nicholas immediately established a recruiting headquarters at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia. The owner of the tavern, Robert Mullen, became the chief Marine recruiter.

In March 1776, Capt. Nicholas led the first Marine landing on a hostile shore when 250 Marines captured New Province Island in the Bahamas from the British, thus beginning a long and proud tradition of military excellence for the Corps.

Did you know?

  • Samuel Nicholas was the first commissioned officer in the Continental Marines and is considered the first Marine Corps commandant.
  • The Marine Corps is the smallest of the branch of the armed forces in the Defense Department with 203,000 active duty Marines as of October 2009. The U.S. Army is the largest branch with 549,000 active duty personnel as of October 2009, followed by the U.S. Navy (434,000) and the U.S. Air Force (330,000). The U.S. Coast Guard, which has 42,000 active personnel is part of the Department of Homeland Security
  • Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is the highest rank a non-officer can achieve. Carlton W. Kent is the current Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.
  • The motto of the Marine Corps is Semper Fidelis, which is Latin for  “Always Faithful.”
  • Nov. 10 is considered the Marine Corps Birthday.