U.S. Marines – United States Marine Corps

About the Marines

Rifle Creed

My Rifle: The Creed of a US Marine
by Major General William H. Rupertus (USMC, Retired)

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My rifle, without me, is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will…

My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit…

My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my rifle clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…

Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We
are the saviors of my life.

So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no enemy, but peace!

The US Marine Rifle Creed was written by Major General William H. Rupertus following the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941

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The Marine motto “Semper Fidelis” means “Always faithful” in Latin. This motto often appears in the shortened form “Semper Fi!” It is also the name of the official march of the Corps, composed by John Phillip Sousa. Another motto is Marines – The Few. The Proud.

The colors of the Marine Corps are scarlet and gold. They appear on the flag of the United States Marine Corps, along with the Marine Corps emblem: the eagle, globe, and anchor, with the eagle representing service to the country, the globe representing worldwide service, and the anchor representing naval traditions. The emblem, adopted in its present form in 1868, derives partially from ornaments worn by the Continental Marines and the British Royal Marines, and is usually topped with a ribbon reading “Semper Fidelis”.

Two styles of swords are worn by Marines. The Marine Corps officer sword is a Mameluke sword, similar to the sword presented to Lt. Presley O’Bannon after the capture of Derne during the First Barbary War. Noncommissioned officers carry a different style of sword, similar in style to a Civil War cavalry sabre, making them the only enlisted personnel in the U.S. military authorized to carry a sword.

Marines have several generic nicknames, mildly derogatory when used by outsiders but complimentary when used by Marines themselves. They include “jarhead” (it was said their hats on their uniform made them look like mason jars, or that the regulation “high and tight” haircut gave the appearance of a jar-lid), “gyrene” (perhaps a combination of “G.I.” and “Marine”), “leatherneck”, referring to the leather collar that was a part of the Marine uniform during the Revolutionary War period, and “Devil Dog” (German: Teufelshund) after the Battle of Belleau Wood.

This nicknaming extends to the Corps itself. The acronym ‘USMC’ is regularly reworked into “Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children” or, even, “Upper Sandusky Motorcycle Club”. The word ‘Marine’ is said to stand for ‘My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment’ or ‘My Ass Really Is Navy Equipment’. Even Marines themselves have semi-derogatory nicknames for their Corps, with Marines during the Vietnam era labeling it ‘the Crotch’ and Cold War era Marines preferring ‘the Suck’.

A spirited cry, “Oorah!”, is common among Marines, being similar in function and purpose to the Army’s “Hooah” cry, but is probably more commonly used among Marines than “Hooah” would be in the Army. “Oorah!” is usually either a reply in the affirmative to a question, an acknowledgment of an order, or an expression of enthusiasm (real or false).

In the 1991 Gulf War, Iraqi soldiers nicknamed the Marines “Angels of Death”. Another so-called term of endearment for Marines was “blackboots”. This was due to supply shortages, leaving tan, desert boots unavailable to most Marine units. Haitians called Marines participating in relief operations “whitesleeves” because of the way they roll up the sleeves of their utility uniform, called “cammies” colloquially. In Somalia, they were referred to as “The Devils in black boots”, due to their rapid deployment preventing them from acquiring desert boots.

Learn more about the language within the United States Marine Corps by visitng DevilDogs.CC

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Marines are often confused with soldiers, who are members of United States Army. Some differences in appearance are:

  • Marines do not wear berets.
  • Marines wear boots only with the utility uniform, not other uniforms.
  • Reflecting their naval heritage, Marines do not salute unless they are wearing a hat (known as a ‘cover’)
  • The Marine service uniform, roughly equivalent to business attire, has a khaki shirt. The equivalent Army uniform has a light-green shirt. Enlisted Marines wear their rank insignia on the sleeve of the service shirt, but Army privates and specialists wear their rank on the collar, and NCOs wear theirs on shoulder epaulets. Marine officers wear rank insignia on the collar, whereas Army officers wear their rank insignia in a similar manner as that of NCOs.
  • The Marine class “A” service coat is olive green (as opposed to forest green for the Army) and has a waist-belt, formerly a Garrison belt for enlisted Marines and the Sam Browne belt for officers. The Marine service uniform is worn with either a barracks (service) cover, which has a bill and a round top, or a garrison cover, which comes to a peak.
  • Marines are less generous with awards and unit identification; the rationale behind this is that as a member of an elite force, it is enough to be identified simply as a Marine. For example, with the exception of breast insignia denoting a few specialized qualifications such as airborne (parachute), pilot or scuba/rebreather qualification, and small red patches sewn on the utility trouser legs and covers of some logistics Marines, Marines do not normally wear any insignia or device on their utility uniforms denoting their unit, MOS (military occupational specialty), or training. Further, many senior Marines involved in ground combat operations eschew the wearing of rank insignia in combat, on the theory that it simply makes them targets (as in Vietnam). Enlisted Marines are supposed to know who their leaders are, regardless of whether or not they are wearing rank insignia.

Utility uniform

Differences in the utility uniform include:

  • The cover (hat) of the utility uniform is constructed differently. Marine covers have eight sides and corners (hence the name “eight-point cover”).
  • Marines wear green-colored “skivvie” undershirts with their utility uniform, even in the desert. Soldiers wear brown undershirts.
  • Soldiers roll up the sleeves of their utility uniform so the camouflage is facing out. Marines roll their sleeves so that the lighter-colored underside faces out (known as “white-side out”).
  • Marines “blouse” their boots. That is, they roll the cuffs of their trousers back inside and tighten them over the boots with a cord or an elastic band known as a boot band. Soldiers either blouse their boots or tuck their trousers directly into their boots.
  • Marines do not wear any rank insignia or other device on the utility cover. The front of the cover has instead the Marine Corps Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblem, and since the introduction of the MARPAT pattern, this insignia has been embroidered directly on the front–not ironed on as on previous covers.
  • On their utility uniforms, Marine officers typically wear their rank insignia on both collars, while Army officers, since the introduction of the new Army Combat Uniform (which mocks the MARPAT pattern), wear their rank insignia on a flap located on the front of the ACU shirt. In garrison, Marine officers typically wear collar insignia made of shiny metal, as opposed to the “subdued” stitched-on insignia worn by Army officers.
  • Marines wear a colored belt, often referred to as a “rigger’s belt”, that is color coded to represent their specific qualification under the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
  • Marines used to wear black combat boots with the utility uniform, as do the Army and Air Force. But in 2002, light-brown suede combat boots were introduced along with a new type of camouflage, the “MARPAT” uniform. (See photo.) Effective 1 October 2004, black combat boots were declared obsolete and no longer authorized for general wear by Marines. Exception is made for black safety boots worn for certain tasks, such as parachuting.
  • As of 1 October 2006, the old-style camouflage utility uniform, also worn by the Army and Air Force, will be declared obsolete. The only utility uniform authorized for Marines will be the MARPAT uniform.
  • As of 2004, both the Army and the Air Force have announced plans to replace their old-style “pickle suit” camouflage utility uniforms with newer designs similar to the Marine Corps digital “MARPAT” pattern. The Navy has started experimentations on the replacement of their “dungaree” and Officer/Chief Petty Officer uniforms with a variation of the “MARPAT” pattern.
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COMMITMENT is the spirit of determination and dedication found in Marines. It leads to the highest order of discipline for individuals and units. It is the ingredient that enables 24-hour-a-day dedication to the Corps and country. It inspires the unrelenting determination to achieve a standard of excellence in every endeavor.

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COURAGE is the mental, moral and physical strength ingrained in Marines. Courage is the ability to do the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons. It carries Marines through the challenges of combat and aids them in overcoming fear. It is the inner strength that enables a Marine to do what is right; to adhere to a higher standard of personal conduct; to lead by example; and to make tough decisions under stress and pressure.

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HONOR guides Marines to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior as detailed in the following list:

  • Obey the law
  • Lead by example
  • Respect yourself and others
  • Maintain a high standard of integrity
  • Support and defend the constitution
  • Uphold special trust and confidence
  • Place faith and honor above all else
  • Honor fellow Marines, the Corps, Country, and Family.

The qualities of maturity, dedication, trust and dependability commit Marines to act responsibly; to be accountable for their actions; and to fulfill their obligations.

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The Marine Corps has a widely-held reputation as a fierce and effective fighting force and the Marines take pride in their gung-ho attitude, are indoctrinated with a strong belief in their chain of command and the

Iwo Jima

importance of esprit de corps, a spirit of enthusiasm and pride in themselves and the Corps. The Marine Corps is popularly seen as possessing a degree of fame and infamy among the enemies they fight, and examples of this effect are readily seized upon and publicized by the Corps and its supporters. During the 1991 Gulf War, after Iraqi forces had already been bloodied by the Corps in the first ground engagement of the war at Khafji, U.S. Army General Norman Schwarzkopf used a public demonstration of a Marine landing on Kuwait and the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr to pin down Iraqi units, while the Army then executed a sweep from the West.

Most recently, Iraqis in the Persian Gulf War and 2003 invasion of Iraq were said to have taken special note of Marine Cobra helicopters and the distinctive look of the Marine combat uniform. The Marines have taken steps to build on this psychological advantage by, for instance, developing a new utility uniform that makes Marines easier to distinguish from other US servicemen. (continue reading…)

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USMC FlagThe Marine Corps serves as a versatile combat element, and is adapted to a wide variety of combat operations. The Marine Corps was initially composed of infantry combat forces serving aboard naval vessels, responsible for security of the ship, its captain and officers, offensive and defensive combat during boarding actions, by acting as sharpshooters, and carrying out amphibious assaults. The Marines fully developed and used the tactics of amphibious assault in World War II, most notably in the Pacific Island Campaign.

Since its creation in 1775, the Corps’ role has expanded significantly. The Marines have a unique mission statement, and, alone among the branches of the U.S. armed forces, “shall, at any time, be liable to do duty in the forts and garrisons of the United States, on the seacoast, or any other duty on shore, as the President, at his discretion, shall direct.” In this special capacity, charged with carrying out duties given to them directly by the President of the United States, the Marine Corps serves as an all-purpose, fast-response task force, capable of quick action in areas requiring emergency intervention. (continue reading…)

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New Drill Instructor Leads

From the maintenance management field to the drill field, a depot drill instructor decided to make Marines instead of just working alongside them.

Staff Sgt. Sergio M. Santoro, drill instructor, Platoon 2006, Company H, found out for the first time today, how it feels to graduate a platoon of Marines as opposed to graduating with them more than 11 years ago, when he attended recruit training.

“It feels great,” said Santoro. “I still remember the ‘Drill Instructors Creed.’ It’s important to keep it in mind so you never lose focus of why you are here.”

The Queens, N.Y., native wanted to be a drill instructor since he was a sergeant, nearly four years ago. Santoro said he wouldn’t feel right getting out of or retiring from the Marine Corps without doing a tour on the drill field.

Transitioning from the operational forces to a drill instructor opened Santoro’s eyes on what is expected of the other drill instructors on the depot.

Staying physically fit is important to Santoro and he enjoys training to stay in shape. He mentioned that being on the drill field was mentally challenging and that he had to be tough physically because the duty is so demanding.

Drill instructors are around their recruits 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 13 weeks at a time. According to Santoro, it was a work load he wasn’t accustomed to, but one he adapted to by being mentally strong.

Santoro’s peers refer to him as eager to learn and always asking questions.

“The hardest part about being a new drill instructor is learning and getting used to the new schedule,” said Staff Sgt. Ricardo Gill, senior drill instructor, Co. H, Platoon 2006. “(Santoro) was real mature about it and always wanted to improve.”

According to Gill, Santoro took great pride in his work and never wanted to fail. He came to the platoon quiet but was soon playing a large role in the training and even had the pleasure of serving with a team of drill instructors who have been nominated for the Band of Brothers award.

“The Band of Brothers award is given to the team that is able to work together effectively without confrontation,” said Gill. “We were nominated for always being at work and constantly on the ball.”

With his first cycle of recruits graduated, Santoro plans to become a better drill instructor than he already has proved to be. With almost 12 years in the Marine Corps, he said he is giving back to the organization that made him into the Marine he is today.

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