Established: November 10, 1775
Colors: Scarlet & Gold
Mascot: English Bulldog
Until 1871 it was "First to Fight", a motto that still applies. Through the years, Marines have shortened it to Semper Fi, and "Semper Fi, Marine" is the universal Marine Greeting.
The Marine Corps Seal: designed by the Marine Corps Uniform Board in accordance with instructions of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, then General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., was adopted by Presidential Executive Order 10538 of 22 June 1954.The traditional Marine Corps emblem-eagle, globe and foul anchor-forms the basic device of the Seal. Of these three, the eagle and the foul anchor are the most venerable, dating from 1800 when they first appeared on the Marine uniform button-a button which has remained to this day virtually unchanged from its original form. Influenced strongly by the design of the emblem of the British Royal Marines depicting as their domain the Eastern hemisphere, the U.S. Marines adopted in 1868 as their emblem a globe showing the Western hemisphere. To this was added the spread eagle and foul anchor from the button. Twelve years later the motto, "Semper Fidelis," completed the design.The scarlet and gold surrounding the emblem are the official Marine Corps colors. These in turn are enclosed by Navy blue and gold signifying the Marine Corps as an integral part of the naval team.
History of the Marine Corps FlagVery little information is available regarding the flags carried by early American Marines, although indications are that the Grand Union flag was carried ashore by the battalion led by Captain Samuel Nicholas on New Providence Island, 3 March 1776. It is quite possible that the Rattlesnake flag was also carried on this expedition. The standard carried by the Marines during the 1830s and 1840s consisted of a white field with gold fringe, and bore an elaborate design of an anchor and eagle in the center. Prior to the Mexican War, this flag bore the legend "To the Shores of Tripoli" across the top. Shortly after the war, the legend was revised to read: "From Tripoli to the Halls of the Montezumas." During the Mexican and Civil Wars, Marines in the field apparently carried a flag similar to the national flag, comprised of red and white stripes and a union. The union, however, contained an eagle perched on a shield of the United States and a half-wreath beneath the shield, with 29 stars encircling the entire design. Beginning in 1876, Marines carried the national colors (the Stars and Stripes) with "U.S. Marine Corps" embroidered in yellow on the middle red stripe.
It is the oldest official song in the U.S. Armed Forces. The words are dated from the 19th century. The music is from the opera, "Genevieve de Brabant" by Jacques Offenbach, which opened in Paris in 1859. Copyright ownership of the Marines' Hymn was vested in the United States Marine Corps per certificate of registration dated 19 August 1891, but it is now in the public domain. In 1929, the Commandant of the Marine Corps authorized the following verses of the Marines' Hymn as the official version:
Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will.