The Marine Corps Birthday: Off the Battlefield Benefits

Happy 244th birthday to the United States Marine Corps!

The United States Marine Corps is an extremely elite group of men and women that are willing to give their lives in defense for the country, and the American public could not be more thankful. I guess that it’s fitting to have the birthday the same month as Thanksgiving for this reason.

I have some personal experience with the Marine Corps, though I never served myself. 

My grandfather was a Marine and it shaped who he was after that. He was an amazing man that was always quick to joke. Being a Marine meant a lot to him and it helped shape the man he was. Though he liked to laugh, he was a very serious man that held to a moral code that was created due to his upbringing, his Christian values, and the lessons he learned as a Marine. He instilled those lessons into my father, who has passed them down to my brother, my little sisters and myself. We are all the better for it.

My father-in-law was a Marine as well. He never had sons to share the lessons he learned in his military service with, but he had 2 beautiful daughters that he taught powerful lessons. As soon as I started dating his daughter, my now wife, he jumped at the prospect of passing down his wisdom to me as well. He has taught me a lot in my life, such as his analytical style of attacking a problem and his way of writing and planning things out. 

Both are great men that were shaped by their time in the Marines and they continued their service long after they have retired from active duty. 

There are countless stories like mine. There are just as many about how the Marines have shaped foreign affairs for the better. The real question is, how was the Marine Corps formed?

History of the Marine Corps

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The United States Marine Corps was founded on November 10, 1775. As told on military.com, it was implemented as a naval force for the American resistance during the Revolutionary war. The first recruitment office, and noted birthplace of the Marines, is the Tun Tavern on Water Street in Philadelphia. 

My father-in-law said the birth of the Marines went something like this: “A group of guys were all at the local bar getting liquored up and complaining like politics, a lot like men do today. But this time they realized they needed some militaries to help fight the British rule. One drunk guy yells out, ‘we need an army for the land!’ Another drunk guy yelled out, ‘Yeah! And something to protect us by sea!’ A third drunk guy yells, ‘Oh and someone to protect us by air!’ Everyone stared at him and made fun of him because airplanes hadn’t been invented yet.”

I don’t know how accurate that is, but it’s a funny little story that will help people remember that the Marines were created in a bar. Which I guess is just a fun fact anyway.

After the Revolutionary war, the Marine Corps disbanded because you have to pay your soldiers. At the time, taxes were pretty frowned upon, so there wasn’t a whole lot of spare money to pay soldiers with.

Once the United States started getting in the groove of being a country, they re-established the Marine Corps on July 11, 1798. 

Marine Corps Day, the predecessor to the Marine Corps birthday was celebrated on July 11 every year from 1799 through 1920. In 1921, the Marine Corps birthday took over and was established to be celebrated on November 10th from then on out. 

The Marine Corps Off the Battlefield

I don’t think I need to tell anyone about how important a military is to a country. On top of that, I don’t think I need to really detail the cool works that the Marines have done on the battlefield. If you were ever looking for a list of attributes that equal “not to be messed with” then being a Marine or former Marine is near the top of that list.

The United States Marine Corps does a lot more than just badass military based missions, they do a lot of work off the battlefield. 

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Everyone has heard of Toys for Tots, but not many people realize that it’s run by the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation

The Marines are an amazing military institution because they carry their pride in our country off the battlefield and try to help when they are either retired or no longer active duty. 

They Marines started, and continue to run the Toys for Tots and help millions of people all over the world. 

The story behind the founding is really interesting as well.

It all started with United States Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks. Well, as with a lot of great ideas, it started with his wife. Maj Hendricks’s wife hand made a few dolls and told Maj Hendricks to take them to a charity that would give them to the less fortunate children.

Maj Hendricks reported back that no such charity existed so Mrs. Hendrickson simply said, “So start one.” 

Thus, in the year of 1947 Maj Bill Hendricks and a group of other reserve Marines collected 5,000 toys for the first year of their Toys for Tots adventure. 

The next year the USMC officially adopted the Toys for Tots program since it was ran by reserves anyway. 

Maj Bill Hendricks used his power of his civilian job of being the director of public relations at Warner Bros Studio to get some celebrity backing. The most prominent being that he got his friend Walt Disney, yes THE Walt Disney, to design the Toys for Tots logo, as well as designing the first ever promotion poster.

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The current list of celebrity endorsements is immense, but it has the likes of Ronald Reagan and Bob Hope as well as the First Ladies Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Laura Bush, Michele Obama, and Melania Trump. The endorsements don’t stop there, the website has an immense list ranging from Andy Griffith to William Shatner. 

In 1991 the Marine Corps founded the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation to give the program some more solidified backing. 

The Foundation has since been ranked as one of the greatest charities ever. It gives back 97% of the funds it raises. The last 3% is used for overhead and promoting the brand. 

If you want to help with the Toys For Tots Foundation, there are numerous donation drives all across the United States. A list for the nearest donation to you can be found here.

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Written by Josh Whitworth

A native Texan, I got my bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas in Arlington. I am now a flight attendant by day (unless I get stuck working a red eye) and a freelance writer by night. My dad is a southern baptist pastor and my mom is a teacher. Their upbringing has taught me to be a God fearing man that is always looking to improve and learn. I am also a huge Disney fan, so when I’m not flying or writing, I can be found with my wife visiting the Disney Parks all over the world.

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