5 Facts You May Not Know About the Marine Corps

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The Birthplace of the Marines was at a bar.

As odd as that sounds, many important political discussions were at inns and taverns in Philadelphia during the American Revolution. These discussions included the founding of the Marine Corps when a committee of the Continental Congress met at Tun Tavern to draft a resolution calling for two battalions of Marines able to fight for independence at sea and on shore. The resolution officially formed the Continental Marines on November 10, 1775. Samuel Nicholas, owner of the Tun Tavern, became Commandant of the Marines; Robert Mullan became Nicholas’ first captain and recruiter. The Marine Corps celebrates its birthday on November 10th.

The first man to orbit the Earth was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

John Glenn, a Marine Corps fighter pilot was recruited by NASA and became the first American man to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962. Before he became an astronaut, Glenn had a very long and distinguished career as a Marine. In December 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Glenn enlisted in the military. Glenn flew 59 combat missions as an F4U fighter pilot. He continued to fly planes during the Korean War and it wasn’t until three years after he orbited the Earth that he finally retired from the Marine Corps.

The Marines’ “Ooh Rah” motto was thought to have originated during the Korean War.

So how did “Ooh Rah” come about? According to several Marine historians, the motivational saying goes back to men stationed in Korea in the 1950s. The 1st Amphibious Reconnaissance Company reportedly introduced “Ooh Rah” into the Marines Corps. Recon Marines served aboard a WWII-era submarine retrofitted to carry Navy Underwater Demolition Team and Recon Marines. Whenever the boat was to dive, the 1MC would announce “Dive! Dive!” followed by the sound of a klaxon alarm. Marines who heard that klaxon sound started using it as a means of motivation and began yelling “Ooh Rah!” during runs and physical training.

The oldest Marine to undergo recruit training at Parris Island was 50-years-old.

At the start of World War II, Paul H. Douglas was a middle-aged man teaching college classes. He opposed U.S. intervention in the war but realized isolation would only make countries like Germany and Japan too aggressive. Thanks to a friend, he managed to get recruited by the Marine Corps at the age of fifty. He graduated in 1942 as the oldest man to ever fight. He received two purple hearts during his time in the Marines.

The youngest person to receive the Medal of Honor in the 20th century was a Marine.

Jack Lucas forged his mother’s signature so that he could enlist in the military at the young age of 14, during the Second World War. On February 20, 1945, just six days after he turned 17, Lucas was fighting Japanese soldiers in a trench during the Battle of Iwo Jima. He dived on top of two grenades and pushed them into the beach’s volcanic ash to shield two other soldiers from harm. Because of his bravery, he was given the Medal of Honor, and was the youngest person to receive it.

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