From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, the U.S. Marine Corps is celebrating its 244th birthday Nov. 10.
In preparation of wishing your favorite leatherneck a happy birthday, here are 10 things to know about this elite American fighting force:
1. The corps was officially organized by the Second Continental Congress on Nov. 10, 1775. The Marines were formed to oversee a mission to intercept ammunition shipments from Britain. This, and a November resolution to create an official Marine Corps, were key in building what eventually became the U.S. Marine Corps. Source: MilitaryBenefits.info
2. The Marine Corps birthday each year is officially recognized with the famous Commandant Marine Corps Ball. The first ball was recorded in 1925. In Georgia, the Marine Corps birthday will be celebrated Nov. 9 at the Moose Lodge and the Ice House, both in Dublin, Georgia.
3. The Marine Corps has more than 180,000 active duty personnel and almost 40,000 personnel in the Marine Corps Reserve.
4. In 1921, the corps’ 13th commandant, Gen. John A. Lejeune, issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, series 1921, in which he directed all Marines to honor the corps’ birthday on Nov. 10. Source: Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines, copyright 2001 Marion F. Sturkey
5. The Marines’ hymn commemorates the Marines’ first battles. In 1847, they took part in the Mexican-American War, during which they took Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. The hymn’s first line, “From the Halls of Montezuma,” refers to this battle. The next words are, “To the shores of Tripoli,” which refers to the First Barbary War. Source: The Vintage Press
6. Marines are nicknamed “leathernecks,” which originates from the black leather stock issued to the first Marines in 1798. It was designed to protect Marines from sword cuts to the neck. Source: The Vintage Press
7. Semper fidelis is a Latin phrase that means "always faithful" or "always loyal," and is the official motto of the Marine Corps. It is also known by its shortened version, Semper Fi.
8. The Marines’ own band was formed in 1798 and performed at President Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration in 1801. Jefferson christened the band “the President’s Own, and it has performed at every inauguration since then. Source: MarinesBand.marine
9. While it has long been known as an independent fighting force, the Marines still fall technically under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy.
10. The Marines have long been featured in popular movies and TV shows. Some of the most famous on the big screen include “Full Metal Jacket,” “Born on the Fourth of July,” “A Few Good Men” and “The Great Santini.” On TV: “Gomer Pyle USMC,” “Baa Baa Black Sheep” and “NCIS.”