We often – and unfortunately – take advantage of our military branches, forgetting to thank them, and becoming more and more unconscious to their needs for help. Long before most of us were out of diapers, there were many service members hard at work on the frontlines, risking their lives through the depressions, the foreign threats, and the unforeseen involvements in worldly affairs.
Most of us don’t even know how certain branches of the military came about, as if they just “always were.” This is obviously untrue, however, as everything has a starting point. Let’s look back into the past, and discover the birth and history behind two major branches: The Navy and the Marine Corps.
“The Marine Corps has had precedence over the Navy since 1921 because the Marine Corps has been very consistent in citing its origins as the legislation of the Continental Congress that established the Continental Marines on 10 November 1775. In contrast, the United States Navy until 1972 gave various responses to the question of when it was founded, often citing legislation dating from its reestablishment in the 1790s. At the time the order of precedence of the U.S. services was established, the Navy was using the dates from the 1790s, as its founding, and hence was viewed as a younger service than the Marine Corps. Despite several efforts to reverse the Marine Corps/Navy order of precedence in recent years, it has not occurred.” – Naval History and Heritage Command.
Despite which came first or why, both branches serve as front runners in our United States military, and are often the first responders, ones so imperative to every victory we have ever had as a country since their establishment. Whether by land or by sea, these men and women have given their all to protect America, and have run head-first into every battle and every raid, without hesitation, for a cause they know to be worthy enough to die for.
The U.S. Navy turned 241 years old on the 13th of October. In the beginning, privateers were sent to attack the British commerce in the very early days of the Revolution. On October 13th, 1775, the Continental Congress created the Continental Navy, hoping that the new fleet of ships would be enough to offset the British and their tactics. Our fleets were sent in to raid the transports that were providing supplies and men to the British located in North America. Even though the Continental Navy was later disassembled, the official birthday still remains.
Even the smallest starting points can grow into the biggest accomplishments. An entire trip around the world begins with a single step. The Naval Expansion Act, established on June 14, 1940, grounded the composition of the U.S. Navy, authorizing construction of vessels, aircraft carriers, and more. This, in turn, expanded the Navy and kept growing, until we had what we have today.
As of August 2016, there are almost 300,000 men and women on active duty, and over 100,000 in ready reserve. The U.S. Navy has 275 deployable battle ships, with 49 of them currently deployed. In addition to the ships, there are more than 3,000 operational naval aircrafts.
“The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.” – Official Website of the United States Navy.
The U.S. Marine Corps was born just shortly after the Navy, on November 10, 1775. They will be turning 241 this year as well. During this time, according Military.com, the Second Continental Congress “met in Philadelphia, and passed a resolution stating that ‘two Battalions of Marines be raised’ for service as landing forces with the fleet.”
The Marines Corps was originally established to serve as an infantry unit on the naval vessels. This movement, along with other duties, birthed the Marine Corps, and we now have what we know today. The formal re-establishment wasn’t until July 11, 1798, after the end of the Revolutionary War. Marines have participated in every single United States war, and in most cases, they were our front men, and still are. “To date, Marines have executed more than 300 landings on foreign shores.” The Marines today have almost 200,000 active duty members, and nearly 40,000 in reserve.
“The Marine Corps has been America’s expeditionary force in readiness since 1775. We are forward deployed to respond swiftly and aggressively in times of crisis. We are soldiers of the sea, providing forces and detachments to naval ships and shore operations. We are global leaders, developing expeditionary doctrine and innovations that set the example, and leading other countries’ forces and agencies in multinational military operations. These unique capabilities make us “First to Fight,” and our nation’s first line of defense.” – U.S. Marine Corps.
It is important to remember the sacrifices that these brave men and women had made for our great nation. They have given their lives and dedicated all of their time to providing us with comfort and protection.
In his 2015 birthday letter to the Navy, President Obama put it excellently in the explanation he gave as to what these service members actually do: “From protecting our homeland to bringing shelter and hope in times of disaster, they [the Navy] reflect America at its finest. And by devoting themselves to performing every mission with impeccable courage, skill, determination, they remind us that our country was built from forces of camaraderie and common purpose, and that as long as we summon that spirit and stay true to our mission, America’s greatest breakthroughs and victories will always lie ahead.”
We, as civilians, take for granted the amount of work and dedication that goes into being a military service member. From the time they enlist, to the time they retire, these men and women stand true to their mission and they vow to give their lives for the United States. The families of these service members also give something up: their loved ones. They sacrifice just as much to be a part of our protection systems, and often are left alone to pick up the pieces of the lives their loved ones left behind.
It is our duty to provide these men and women with whatever they may need, and to tell them that they are loved and appreciated every single day. We must show how grateful we are for what they do for us, and in turn, celebrate everything that this country has given us, from a warm bed in the safety of our borders, to triumph and great victory after malicious threats and attacks.
We celebrate these two military branches and their birthdays, and we remember the history behind their existence, as a tribute to their sacrifices. So many lives have been lost, so many families have been left to mourn the deaths of their beloved, and still, in light of this sadness, so many of us are given the opportunity to wake up another day as free men and women of the United States of America.
Wherever you are, whatever you may be dealing with, take a moment to remember and thank a military service member next time you are in the presence of one. And to those of you reading this right now, whom have served this great country, know that we love you dearly and will never forget what you have done for us. Happy Birthday, soldiers and sailors, SEALs and SOCOMs. Go Navy and Marines! OO-RAH! We love you, and we thank you.