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The Marine Corps started as the Continental Marines during the American Revolutionary War, formed by a resolution of the Continental Congress on November 10, 1775, and first recruited at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They served as landing troops for the recently created Continental Navy. The Continental Marines were disbanded at the end of the war in April 1783 but re-formed on July 11 1798. Despite the gap, Marines celebrate November 10 as the Marine Corps Birthday.
Historically, the United States Marine Corps has achieved fame in several campaigns, as referenced in the first line of the Marine Corps Hymn: “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli”. In the early 19th century, First Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon led a group of seven Marines and several hundred Egyptian Mameluke soldiers in deposing the dictator of Tripoli. Separately, the Marines took part in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and assaulted the Castillo de Chapultepec, or the Castle of Chapultepec, which overlooked Mexico City. The Marines were placed on guard duty at the Mexican Presidential Palace, “The Halls of Montezuma.”
In World War I, the battle-tested, veteran Marines served a central role in the U.S. entry into the conflict, and at the Battle of Belleau Wood, Marine units were in the front, winning the Marines a reputation as the “First to Fight”. This battle cemented the reputation of the Marines in modern history. Rallying under the battle cries of “Retreat hell! We just got here!” and “Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?”, the Marines violently expelled German forces from the area. The Germans referred to the Marines in the battle as “Teufelhunde”, literally, “Devil Dogs”, a nickname Marines proudly hold to this day.
The Marines are divided into four groups: the operating forces that do the actual fighting, the headquarters for leadership, the supporting establishment that provides logistical support, and the Marine Corps Reserve.