This Day in Coast Guard – Nov. 10

Monday, November 09, 2009

1775-The Second Continental Congress passed a resolution to create a "Corps of Marines."  Although they were disbanded in 1783 and were not "re-established" permanently until 11 July 1798, the Marine Corps recognizes 10 November 1775 as their official birthday.  Happy Birthday Marine Corps!  The Marine Corps' motto is Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful).  The Corps takes the commemoration of their birthday seriously:  On 21 October 1921, Major Edwin McClellan, Officer-in-Charge, Historical Section, Headquarters Marine Corps, sent a memorandum to Major General Commandant John A. Lejeune, suggesting that the original birthday on 10 November 1775 be declared a Marine Corps holiday to be celebrated throughout the Corps. McClellan further suggested that a dinner be held in Washington to commemorate the event. Guests would include prominent men from the Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Army, and Navy, and descendants of the Revolution.  Accordingly, on 1 November 1921, General Lejeune issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921. The order summarized the history, mission, and tradition of the Corps, and directed that it be read to every command on 10 November each subsequent year in honor of the birthday of the Marine Corps.   To add to the confusion of the Corps' actual "historical" birthday, on 1 July 1797, Congress authorized the Revenue cutters to carry, in addition to their regular crew, up to "30 marines."  Congress directed the cutters to interdict French privateers operating off the coast during the Quasi-War with France and thought the additional firepower of 30 marines would be needed by the under-manned and under-gunned cutters.  It is not known if any "marines" were aboard cutters prior to July 1798.

1975- The Great Lakes ore-carrier Edmund Fitzgerald, caught in an unexpected storm on Lake Superior, sank with a loss of all 29 hands.

(Source: USCG Historian’s Office)

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