John M. Browning – Arming the USMC for More Than 100 Years.

Happy Anniversary Marines -- November 10, 1775.

Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, circa 1775.

Protecting and Preserving for nearly 250 years.

The US Marine Corps marks its birthdate as November 10, 1775.  The Second Continental Congress passed a resolution that two battalions of Marines be raised “for service as landing forces with the fleet".

The first Marine recruitment was conducted at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, with Captain Samuel Nicholas serving as the commanding officer, a role he would continue through the American Revolution. He is now considered the first Commandant of the Corps.

Captain Samuel Nicholas is considered the first Commandant of the Corps.

Aside from their “over the beach” combat responsibilities, the first Company of Marines heavily recruited local sharpshooters who would be posted in the mast-tops of American naval ships and snipe at the enemy below. It was here the tradition of “Every Marine a Rifleman” was born.

According to Corps tradition, it is also the origin of the quatrefoil design on Marine officers hats to help prevent friendly fire casualties during those early shipboard battles.

Following the American Revolution both the US Navy and Marine Corps were disbanded, but conflict with France caused the Corps to be re-established in 1798. Marines took part in many operations, including against the Barbary pirates on the north coast of Africa, and thus the "Shores of Tripoli" entered the Marine’s lexicon. 

John. M. Browning, America’s greatest firearm genius.

Since then the Marines have participated in all the wars of the United States, and are often the first forces committed to the fight. And in every conflict since the 1890s the Corps has carried small arms designed by America’s greatest firearm genius, John M. Browning.

The first Brownings enter USMC service

John M. Browning demonstrates his Model 1895 belt fed machine gun. A tall and lanky man, Browning mounted a bicycle seat on the rear leg of the tripod so he would be more comfortable during the extended endurance firing tests.

The first Browning design to enter USMC service was the Model 1895 machine gun. This effective but somewhat complicated weapon was used both aboard US Navy ships, and by Marine Corps landing parties in numerous operations prior to WWI. It was also used by the Marines in the Boxer Rebellion in China at the turn of the century.

These are some of the Marines who stood tall during the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900. USMCA photo.

Two Marine Corps legends emerged from combat action during the Boxer Rebellion. One was MajGen (then a Lieutenant) Smedley D. Butler, who had lied about his age during the Spanish American War of 1898 and entered the Corps as a second lieutenant. He was wounded and promoted to the rank of captain just two weeks shy of his 19th birthday for his heroism and leadership during the Battle of Tientsin.

The second was SgtMaj (then a Private) Dan J. Daly of the 1st Marine Regiment who singled handedly defended his position through a long night against repeated attacks, inflicting a reported 200 casualties on the enemy. It was here that Daly won the first of his two Medals of Honor. His citation read in part, “…for extraordinary heroism while serving in action in the presence of the enemy during the battle of Peking, China, 14 August 1900…”

The Navy and Marine Model 1911 45 automatic pistol, adopted in 1913.

As the United States asserted herself of the world stage, additional military small arms designs by John M. Browning came into being. Notable among them was the legendary Model 1911 45 automatic pistol. The Corps, along with the Navy officially adopted the hefty and capable handgun in 1913. 

Major Smedley Butler, center, takes the fight to the Cacos in Haiti with his Model 1911 pistol. Painting from the USMC Archives.

Among the first Marines to use the 1911 in combat was none other than now Major Smedley Butler. During a pitched close quarters battle with the native Cacos at Fort Rivière, Haiti, Butler brilliantly lead his Marine detachment, .45 pistol in hand in routing the enemy and capturing the fort with only one Marine wounded. Butler would be awarded his second Medal of Honor in this engagement. His first MoH was for his valor at the Battle of Vera Cruz, Mexico just a year earlier. When MajGen Butler retired with two stars on his flag, he was the most decorated officer in the history of the Corps. 

Another Marine to win his second Medal of Honor in Haiti was now GySgt Dan Daly. On a six-day recon mission near Fort Dipitie, Daly was able to use the cover of darkness to recover a heavy machine gun that had earlier been lost during a river crossing. Daly reportedly killed three of the Haitian rebels in bitter hand-to-hand fighting with his knife in the process. Daly, along with Butler, are the only Marines to have been awarded two Medals of Honor. 

World War I

In the words of MajGen Smedley Butler, SgtMaj Dan Daly was, “The fightin'est Marine I ever knew!”

GySgt Dan Daly would also win the Navy Cross and the French Croix de Guerre for his valor and leadership in WWI. He once single handedly took out a German machine gun position armed with nothing more that his Browning-designed Model 1911 .45 pistol and a few hand grenades.

During the Battle of Belleau Wood, Daly led his Devil Dogs in a desperate charge over the top of the trenches and right into the German positions with the immortal words, "Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?"

John M. Browning poses with his .30 caliber Model 1917 water-cooled, belt fed machine gun.

It was during WWI that John M. Browning made some of his greatest contributions to American military small arms design. Among his major inventions was the .30 caliber Model 1917 water-cooled, belt fed machine gun. John’s son Lt. Val Browning spent WWI in France teaching American troops how to effectively use and maintain his father’s firearms.

Lt. Val Browning prepares to demonstrate a Browning Model 1917 machine gun for his fellow officers. Note the early wood ammo chest, cloth ammo belt and the field improvised metal chute to direct the fired cases into a box or bucket. The muddy conditions of WWI in France are evident in this photo. US Army photo.

Another John M. Browning design of this era was the legendary Model 1918 Browning Automatic Rifle, better known to generations of infantrymen as the BAR. The hefty .30 caliber fully automatic rifle fed from a 20 round box magazine and could be fired prone from a bipod, or from the hip or shoulder. 

Lt. Val Browning poses for this photo in France with the BAR. The BAR was designed by his father, the genius John Moses Browning.

Lt. Val Browning demonstrates firing a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) from the hip during an infantry assault, a technique known then as “Walking Fire.”

It was portable enough to be carried in an infantry assault and was the first instance of what we now call a squad automatic weapon. The BAR was intended to help break the bloody stalemate of trench warfare, and, while it was first used in combat in the closing days of WWI, it would come into its own in the wars that would follow.

John M. Browning personally evaluates the quality of a military BAR produced by Winchester.

These slow and ungainly WWI “tanks” set the stage for an armored revolution in land warfare.

WWI also saw the first use of heavy armored vehicles on the battlefield. While slow and ungainly, these “tanks” as they were soon to be called were quite resistant to the fire from standard infantry rifles and machine guns. 

General John Joseph “Black Back” Pershing. Library of Congress photo.

General John “Black Jack” Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in France personally requested that a heavy machine gun be quickly developed as an anti-armor weapon.

John M. Browning immediately set to work scaling up his .30 caliber Model 1917 design to use a .50 caliber cartridge nearly 6 inches long with a projectile weighing about 700 grains (and that’s a full 1/10th of a pound) traveling at nearly 3,000 feet per second. 

John M. Browning personally tests an early prototype of his .50 caliber water-cooled machine gun in 1918 near the close of WWI. The .50 caliber Browning machine guns still in use today on the ground, in the air and at sea have all evolved from his basic design.

While John M. Browning’s .50 caliber design proved to be outstanding in every respect, the end of hostilities in Europe lead to most small arms development project being shelved for a few years until the advent of the modern military aircraft and armor showed the need for such technology. And the clouds of war again loomed.

World War II

The USS Shaw explodes at Pearl Harbor, early on the morning of December 7, 1941.

While a shooting war had raged throughout Europe and parts of Asia for several years, the gathering storm finally broke for America on a Sunday morning in early December, 1941. A surprise naval air attack by Japan on the US Pacific Fleet and other military installations at Pearl Harbor plunged American into a second global conflict.

 

Among the first to confront the Japanese both on the ground and in the air were United States Marines. The first major US counteroffensive of WWII in the Pacific began on 7 August 1942 and took place in the Salomon Island chain on a fetid, miserable piece of ground named Guadalcanal.

United States Marines begin their offensive combat operations on Guadalcanal.

Sgt. John “Manila John” Basilone, USMC.

The foremost Marine hero of the fierce ground fighting that raged for some six months on Guadalcanal was a scrappy kid from Raritan, New Jersey named Sgt. John “Manila John” Basilone. 

Basilone, serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division near Lunga Point (later to be renamed Henderson Field) was in charge of two sections of .30 caliber water-cooled Browning heavy machine guns. Basilone and his gunners drove off determined attacks by the enemy, during which one of his gun sections was put out of action.

 

Sgt. Basilone brings his Browning machine gun into action. Note Basilone’s John M. Browning designed Model 1911 pistol was always within easy reach.

Basilone then brought a spare Browning machine gun into action, repaired another and personally began returning the enemy’s fire until reinforcements arrived. Later, as ammo began to run low, Basilone battled his way through enemy lines carrying as much belted .30 caliber ammo as he could to resupply his gun crews. His actions that night contributed to the virtual annihilation of the attacking enemy regiment. In recognition of his extraordinary efforts, Basilone was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Sgt. John “Manila John” Basilone is shown in action with his Browning 1917 water-cooled machine gun on this WWII war bond poster.

Sgt. Basilone was rotated stateside and was assigned to a national tour selling war bonds. However Basilone’s heart was with his fellow Marines fighting in the Pacific. His repeated requests for a return to combat were rejected, but Basilone was assigned as a machine gunnery instructor at Camp Pendleton.

 

Sgt. John Basilone demonstrates to his students how to change barrels on a Browning machine gun by feel, a critical skill needed during a night firefight.

The new year of 1945 found GySgt Basilone aboard a Navy transport enroute to the Marines’ next island objective - a tiny, sulfurous hell called Iwo Jima. Basilone went ashore with an early assault wave on the morning of 19 February.

Throughout the morning Basilone rallied his fellow Marines, organized effective attacks on enemy strong points and brought reinforcements and additional machine guns into the fight.

Fellow Marine Charles Tatum said “…for me and others …who saw Basilone’s leadership and courage during our assault, his example was overwhelming.”

It was on one of these forays to bring additional Marines and weapons into the fight that fate caught up with Basilone. An enemy mortar shell landed at his feet, mortally wounding the hero of Guadalcanal. He died in the coarse black sand of Iwo Jima, surrounded by the Marines he loved and served beside. 

 

A bronze statue of GySgt John Basilone, still cradling his Browning water-cooled machine gun stands in his hometown of Raritan, New Jersey. It was sculpted by Basilone’s childhood friend Phillip Orlando.

Another field expedient Marine innovation used on Iwo Jima was the “Stinger” .30 caliber Browning machine gun. Using ANM2 aircraft machine guns salvaged from downed Marine Corps Dauntless SBD dive-bombers, the Leathernecks improvised triggers, added rear sights and bipods from BARs and buttstocks scrounged from either BARs or M1 Garand rifles. The ANM2 produced a blistering rate of fire of more than 1,300 rounds per minute and were light enough to be fired and carried by one man. (One might think of them as a belt-fed Super BAR.) A half-dozen Stingers were quickly assembled and they proved to be just the ticket to the close-up and personal fighting that took place on Iwo.

Here is an outstanding article in the NRA American Rifleman on the development of the Stinger for combat on Iwo Jima. https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2016/5/12/firepower-in-the-pacific-the-stinger-machine-gun/

The Marines’ improvised “Stinger” .30 caliber Browning machine gun. NRA photo.

The most iconic image of WWII and the US Marine Corps is the flag raising on the summit of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. That famous photo served as the model for the USMC Memorial in Washington DC, and reminded Americans that, in due time, an Allied victory in WWII was assured.

You can watch the colors go up on Iwo Jima here in this old newsreel footage. This video is posted by a third party on YouTube and the person posting is not affiliated with Browning in any way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEtukwfLX90

 

Another hero of WWII was the legendary Marine aviator, Captain Joe Foss. Assigned as XO of VMF-121, Foss was operating from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal (the same mission-critical landing strip that John Basilone was defending with his water-cooled Browning). The Marine Air Group’s codename at Guadacanal was “Cactus” and thus the “Cactus Air Force” was born.

Marines rally to put out the flames on an F4F Wildcat hit by enemy fire at Henderson Field.

Flying a Grumman F4F Wildcat fighter fitted with six Browning .50 caliber machine guns, Foss became widely known for his air-to air-gunnery skills. Captain Foss scored his first kill of an enemy Zero on his very first mission aloft over Guadalcanal, and then made a dead-stick, no flaps landing on Henderson Field with a trio of angry Zeros right on his tail.

 

Firing his Wildcat’s half-dozen Browning .50 caliber machine guns, Captain Joe Foss scores his first enemy Zero over Guadalcanal.

In three months of sustained air combat over Guadalcanal the Marine aviators of “Foss’ Flying Circus” had racked up a total of 72 enemy aircraft, 26 of which fell to the withering fire of Foss’ six heavy Brownings. That score tied him with WWI flying legend Captain Eddie Rickenbacker for the title of “Ace of Aces” and made Foss one of the leading American pilots of WWII.

 

The Ringmaster himself- Capt. Joe Foss in his Grumman F4F Wildcat.

Foss received the Medal of Honor from President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a White House ceremony on 18 May 1943. Always a shy hero, Foss soon appeared on the cover of LIFE magazine.

After stateside duty on a war bond drive, Foss returned to the Pacific as CO of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron VMF-115, flying the Vought F4U Corsair. Capable of air speeds well in excess of 400 mph and armed with a full half-dozen Browning .50 caliber machine guns, the Corsair was a formidable air combat fighter as well as a highly capable ground attack platform.

After WWII ended Joe Foss went on to attain the rank of Brigadier General in the South Dakota Air National Guard, was elected Governor of that state and served as president of the National Rifle Association.

 

Armed with six Browning machine guns, the Vought F4U had the longest production run of any piston-driven fighter in the American inventory. This example was flown by another Marine aviation legend, MAJ Gregory "Pappy" Boyington.

Korea and the Cold War

Two US Marines make a running advance along a muddy ditch somewhere in Korea. The trailing Marine is carrying a Browning Automatic Rifle.

With the end of WWII came an uneasy peace that quickly devolved into what became known as the Cold War. Proxy warfare created active conflicts requiring the Marines in far flung locations like Korea and Indochina, the Med, South and Central America and the Caribbean.

The Korean War kicked off on 25 June 1950 when a massive North Korean offensive swept across the DMZ, pushing American and Korean defenders all the way south into a small pocket around the port of Pusan, with their backs to the sea.

Several stunning moments highlight the Corps outstanding performance in Korea. First was the landing in Pusan on the eastern toe of the Korean Peninsula on 2 August 1950 by the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, known in the lore of the Corps as “The Fire Brigade.”

The Marines went ashore and began plugging holes in the shaky Allied defensive lines. Standing orders from the brigade’s commander made the desperate situation crystal clear. “You will never receive an order to retreat from me,” he flatly stated.  “All I ask is that you fight as Marines have always fought.” Pusan was ultimately held and the defensive perimeter expanded and stabilized.

1LT Baldomero López was the first man out of his landing craft at Inchon, displaying “…The courage that makes men great.”

To relieve enemy pressure on Pusan and recapture the capitol city of Seoul, General Douglas MacArthur envisioned a daring amphibious landing well behind the enemy’s lines at the port of Inchon on the west coast of the Korean Peninsula. Beset by enormous tides that expose miles of mud flats and protected by high stone seawalls, Inchon was a most unlikely candidate for a successful amphibious operation.

This three-man Marine machine gun team readies their .50 caliber Browning M2HB for action soon after the Inchon landing.

The Marines went ashore at Inchon on 15 September 1950. In the eternal Corps tradition of leading from the front, the first man out of his landing craft and over the stone seawall was 1LT Baldomero López. He was killed moments later, having thrown himself on an enemy grenade to protect his fellow Marines. War correspondent Jerry Thorp noted that López "…Died with the courage that makes men great." 1LT Lopez was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Sporting his trademark pipe and a Model 1911 pistol, Chesty Puller became a Corps legend at Guadalcanal and Chosin. The winner of five navy Crosses, his name is still spoken with reverence. “Goodnight Chesty, wherever you are.”

In what soon became known as “The Race For the Yalu”  joint American and UN forces drove the enemy out of South Korea and hotly pursued them as far north as the deteriorating winter weather and their extended supply lines would allow.

After cautiously pushing up the east side of the Korean Peninsula to the Chosin Reservoir, by the end of November the Marines were facing a fierce counterattack by Red Chinese Army regulars. 

 

The US Marines made a mid-winter fighting withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir, bringing their dead and wounded with them.

Ever the warrior, Colonel Lewis “Chesty” Puller looked on the enemy attack as a great opportunity.  When war correspondents embedded with the Marines at Chosin asked Chesty about his intentions, he replied, "We're surrounded. That simplifies our problem of finding these people and killing them."

But the -25 degree winter weather and challenging logistics limited Chesty’s operational options. On Dec. 6, 1950, Chesty was ordered to break out from Chosin and open an escape route to the Korean port of Hungnam. Fighting every step of the way and leaving seven Chinese Army divisions in shambles, Chesty brought out his wounded, his dead and every piece of military equipment worth saving.

As Chesty told reporters waiting for the Marines arrival in Hungnam, "Remember, whatever you write, this was no retreat. All that happened was we found more Chinese behind us than in front of us. So we about-faced and attacked."

 

Vietnam Era

GySgt Carlos Hathcock finally receives the Silver Star late in his life. Hathcock pulled seven fellow marines out of a burning AMTRAC on his second tour in Vietnam.

As the Korean War ended in 1953, other Asian conflicts were brewing and soon came to a boil. After the French defeat in Indochina in 1954, America made a major commitment to maintain a free South Vietnam in the face of Communist North Vietnam’s aggression.

It was during this period that several of the legacy small arms designed by John M. Browning, like the BAR and .30 caliber machine guns were being phased out of front line service. Others, like the .50 caliber Browning machine gun and the 1911 .45 caliber pistol were still the go-to guns for US Marines around the globe.

In the wake of the Tonkin Gulf Incident in mid-1964, the Marines were deployed to Vietnam in force in March 1965 as the 9th MEB staged an unopposed across-the-beach landing near Da Nang to secure the local American air base. Offensive patrol operations in the area began shortly thereafter.

Several Marine heroes emerged from the Vietnam War. One was the legendary sniper GySgt Carlos Hathcock. He first rose to national prominence for winning the 1000-yard Wimbledon Cup rifle match at Camp Perry in 1965. Deployed to Vietnam the following year, Hathcock is credited with 93 confirmed kills and with being one of the first Marines to employ the .50 caliber Browning in a long range precision fire role by mounting his sniper scope on the heavy machine gun. Along with his bolt-action sniper rifle, Hathcock also carried the John Browning-designed 1911 .45 caliber pistol as a back up.

Gunny Hathcock was ultimately awarded the Silver Star for his heroic actions in saving seven fellow Marines from a burning AMTRAC during his second tour in country. He went on to help found the Corps’ Scout Sniper School at Quantico and served as its first staff NCOIC.

 

A wounded Marine receives medical attention during the Battle for Hue City in 1968. National Archives photo.

The following year a remote enemy interdiction outpost was established by the Marines at Khe Sanh. During the Tet Offensive in 1968 the Marine base was besieged for nearly three months by legions of NVA regulars entrenched in the surrounding foothills. 

 

The Battle for Hue City during Tet was another outright slugfest for the Marines in Vietnam. Hue City was the former imperial capitol of Vietnam, and included the Citadel, a vast 19th-century fortress surrounded by thick stone walls and a deep moat. Hue would be the scene of some of the most brutal fighting of the Vietnam War, and the worst urban battle since the Marines retook Seoul almost two decades earlier.

In the post-Vietnam era the Marines have been sent into any number of the world’s hot spots, rescuing American citizens, providing humanitarian aid and bringing order and stability to scenes of chaos.

Marines have also fought with great courage and devastated America’s enemies during several recent conflicts in the Middle East and as part of our nation’s War on Terror. During Desert Storm the Marines participated in the liberation of Kuwait, driving the Iraqi invaders from the tiny gulf state.

Post-Vietnam -- War On Terror

A Marine Corps M60 tank opens a breach in a defensive berm for other forces to follow during Operation Desert Storm.

In the post-Vietnam era the Marines have been sent into any number of the world’s hot spots, rescuing American citizens, providing humanitarian aid and bringing order and stability to scenes of chaos.

Marines have also fought with great courage and devastated America’s enemies during several recent conflicts in the Middle East and as part of our nation’s War on Terror. During Desert Storm the Marines participated in the liberation of Kuwait, driving the Iraqi invaders from the tiny Gulf state.

A Marine M1 Abrams tank puts the hammer down in Fallujah, Iraq using its main gun at close range. The Browning M2 atop the tank is still the front line heavy machine gun throughout the US military. USMC/DOD photo.

Marines have played a major role in recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Leathernecks locked horns with insurgents in a pair of pitched battles for control of the strategic Iraqi city of Fallujah, a cornerstone of the Sunni Triangle and the hotbed of instability that threated to engulf the entire region.

A Marine racks a round into his .50 caliber Browning M2HB on the training range at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. USMC/DOD photo.

Marines have been operating with great success in Afghanistan as well. Helmand Province was a significant area of operations against the resurgent Taliban fighters seeking to create chaos in the region. Mobility, firepower and the natural aggressive spirit of the US Marine has brought a level of stability to the area that is has not seen in many years.

Today

A custom 1911 rides along on a Marine’s duty belt. USMC photo.

Even today Marines around the globe are taking John M. Browning designed firearms into harms way. The WWI era M2 series of .50 caliber machine guns are deployed on the ground, on tracked and wheeled Marine combat vehicles and on small watercraft.

The more recent M3 series, designated the GAU-21, with its open bolt operation and high rate of fire helps protect Marine rotary wing combat aircraft from both side door and rear ramp mounted positions.

But the favorite Browning design of all time among combat Marines has to be the Model 1911 .45 automatic. It’s been in the hands and holsters of Leathernecks since it was adopted by the Navy and the Corps in 1913.

In the words of gunwriter Christopher Eger, “Through two world wars, the Korean conflict, Vietnam, and dozens of forgotten Banana Wars, the Marines carried the M1911 in combat and in peacetime service. Some of the Corps most famous, including Smedley Butler and Chesty Puller performed some of their greatest deeds with a 1911 at hand.”

According to Eger, even after the M9 appeared in the mid-1980s many of the small units in Force Recon still loving customized their WWII era 1911s.

The Marine’s new M45 CQB Pistol from Colt.

Not long ago the USMC put in an order of more than $22 million for up to 12,000 new M45 CQB pistols from Colt. We think John M. Browning and a couple dozen generations of Marines would be pretty pleased with that news. 

You can read about that order here: http://universityofguns.com/for-the-marines-the-1911-never-goes-out-of-style/

U.S. Military Oaths

If you are a veteran you are familiar with the oath of enlistment and the oath of commissioned officers. For the rest of us, we should be eternally grateful that there are courageous, noble men and women across America who are willing to take and live by these oaths. 

Oath of Enlistment.

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

Oath of commissioned officers.

"I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)

While Browning doesn’t currently make a full-size Model 1911 .45 automatic, we do offer several unique 1911-style pistols in the form of the 1911-22 and the 1911-380. Scaled at just 85% of the original, these single-action pistols are light, accurate, easy to carry and comfortable to fire. 

So that about wraps up our short history of the USMC. Browning wants to wish the Corps and every Marine, past, present (and future) a very happy 241st birthday, and a thousand more to come.

Thank you for your dedication, service and sacrifice.  Semper Fi! 

This article is copyright Browning, 2016 in its entirety. Photos are either copyright Browning, in the public domain or used with permission. Excerpts and quotes from this article are allowed for use by outdoor writers and historians in historical articles. But all other uses require the written permission of Browning. Reposting of this article  -- often called "scraping" -- is strictly prohibited. This article was written by Browning staff writer and historian, Scott Engen. This article is simply a historical overview and a tribute to the men and women of the United States Marine Corps. There is no intent to present any political statments, opinions, bias or judgments.