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The Thin Line of Tradition
The traditions of the Marine Corps, its history, its flags, its uniforms, its insignia—the Marine Corps way of doing things—make the Corps what it is [and set it distinctively apart from other military organizations and services].
These traditions give the Marine Corps its flavor, and are the reason why the Corps cherishes its past, its ways of acting and speaking, and its uniforms. These things foster the discipline, valor, loyalty, aggressiveness, and readiness, which make the term " 'Marine' … signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue."
One writer on Marine traditions nailed down their importance in [the following] words: "As our traditions, our institutions, and even our eccentricities—like live coral—develop and toughen, so the Corps itself develops and toughens."
And remember: whenever the Marine Corps is impoverished by the death of a tradition, you are generally to blame. Traditions are not preserved by books and museums, but by faithful adherence on the part of all hands—you especially.
—"The Marine Corps Officer's Guide," 1964 edition
We are sure you have more leatherneck lingo to add to what is listed here or a definition that you think improves on one already listed. By all means send them to us with your sources. If we use the information, we will give you credit next to the definition(s).
A nautical term. When an officer or enlisted Marine receives orders of instruction, the Marine replies, "Aye-aye, sir," meaning: "Yes, I understand the orders I have received and will carry them out." Never permit a subordinate to acknowledge an order by "very well," "all right," "yes" or "OK." "Aye" said by itself means one agrees. Aye-aye is generally supposed to be a corruption of the words yea, yea. The claim is advanced that Cockney (true Londoners born within the sound of the bells of St. Mary Le Bow (Bow Bells), Cheapside, in the city of London) accents changed the Yea to Yi, and from there it was a simple transition to aye.
|above my pay grade||
A reply: "Don't ask me; it is beyond what I'm paid to know."
Assistant drill instructor at a recruit depot or an acting corporal.
This is an old traditional nautical greeting and also is used for hailing other boats. It was originally a Viking battle cry.
|Air Force salute||
To say, "I don't know" by a shrug.
Entire ship's company or unit personnel, including officers and enlisted personnel.
A large, white tablet issued for minor discomfort that is commonly, albeit mistakenly, called an "all-purpose capsule." Former Sergeant, now Dr. H. J. Lewis of Zanesville, Ohio, explained in the January 2002 issue of Leatherneck that APC "was named after its ingredients: aspirin, phenacetin and caffeine."
On the beach, as differentiated from on board ship. Any place off a Marine Corps or government reservation. Go ashore, go on liberty or leave the reservation.
Mildly deranged or eccentric as a result of too much foreign duty, or one who has missed too many boats.
Describing one who has no clue about what's going on. One who is always lazy, in disarray and unsatisfactory.
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MCA: 100 Years of Service
The Marine Corps Association & Foundation remembers the past and honors the present. Review the first one hundred years of MCA via historical photos and film clips of the organization that serves the men and women of the Marine Corps. Click here to watch the video.
Today in USMC History
1775 - Eight Marines escorted payroll; this was the first recorded action of the Continental Marines.
Related Article: Why the American Revoluton By Maj Gregory A. Wynn Marine Corps Gazette (Oct 2008)
Historic Leatherneck Magazine Covers
Leatherneck Staff Artist, Technical Sergeant Robert Fleischauer, felt that our July cover should be commemorative of the Fourth of July. Since the members of the missile units are probably the Corps' best rocketeers, he picked them to perform a standard Fourth of July action. Whether or not the "Honest Johnny" is useful as a combat piece is a matter for debate, but you can't beat it for morale." [July 1957.]
“The Join Up on the Nick” by Major Alex Durr, USMCR, a member of the History Division, Marine Corps University, Quantico, Va.
Hospitalman Daniel T. Bobic, assigned to Headquarters and Service Company, 3d Battalion, Second Marine Regiment, rappelled at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Okinawa, Japan, in late April, 2002.
The oldest post of the Marine Corps, Washington, DC, is celebrating 200 years of excellence. Posed near the Barracks main gate were members of the official Color Guard of the United States Marine Corps (left to right): LCpl Joseph N. Keough, rifleman; Sgt Blake L. Richardson, Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps; Cpl Gerardo A. Guajardo, organizational color bearer; and LCpl Gregory A. Serwo, rifleman.
GySgt Verlando Frazier, East Coast Food Service Management Team, looked ready to dig into some of the new items included in MREs.
This photo by Sgt Earnie Grafton of Marines from Fox Co., 2/4 shows varied emotions as they greeted the coalition forces outside Kuwait city.
A fleet of trucks was needed to transport Dr. Felix de Weldon’s original model of the Iwo Jima flag-raising statue from the sculptor’s home in Newport, R.I., to the grounds of the Marine Military Academy at Harlingen, Texas. After the statue’s arrival, a nearly around-the-clock effort by skilled workmen was required in order to have the memorial reassembled and ready for dedication ceremonies on April 16, 1982.
In April this year (1981), two squadrons of AV-8A “Harriers” sailed for the Mediterranean aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau. Purpose of the cruise was to demonstrate the Navy/Marine Corps team’s capability to augment naval forces in any area of the World on short notice and to provide at-sea training for Marine Harrier pilots.
The cover of Leatherneck’s Bicentennial issue is an oil painting by the late Colonel Donald L. Dickson, USMCR. The painting depicts General George Washington’s Colonial troops at Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, Va., during the French and Indian War.
Sightseeing tours for the men of the Marine Barracks, San Juan, Puerto Rico, include a trip to the El Morro Fortress. San Juan is now retired as a Post of the Corps.
The Marines in Vietnam have found that the programs which work best are those which operate close to the people. Our July cover is a mixed media (acrylic and charcoal) by Art Editor James L. Hopewell. It catches the spirit of Marines who enjoy their relationship with the Vietnamese around them.
In Naples, Italy, Marines are responsible for the internal security of the Headquarters of NATO’s Southern European Command, while the elite Carabinieri Corpa provides external security. PFC Robert M. Mallard’s NATO shield was admired by a Carabiniere as the two men prepared to take up their side-by-side posts at the entrance of the imposing NATO Headquarters, which appears in the background of this cover.
"We've Fought In Every Clime And Place": Stamping out the Caco Insurrection in the Republic d' Haiti.
January 2002: The Marines engraved another mark in the rich history of the Corps when they came from more than 400 miles offshore to establish a forward operating base south of Kandahar in the war on terrorism. The Marine CH-46 helicopter on the cover, photographed by PH1(AW/SW) Greg Messier, USN, fought in the desert sand to land and resupply Marines such as the ones (inset) photographed by Sgt Joseph R. Chenelly.
January 2001: This firefight during the Frozen Chosin Reservoir Campaign of 1950 was painted by “Chosin Few” veteran Jack Cannon, who served with Company B, 1st Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment and resides in the warmer climes of New Mexico. The cover was part of Leatherneck’s 50th anniversary salute to the Korean War veterans.
January 1992: This cover photograph of runners during Marine Corps Marathon XVI in Washington, D.C., was photographed by Sgt Deirdre Hallett.
January 1991: This month’s cover by Ross Simpson captures the Marines’ waiting-but-ready posture in the Middle East.
January 1982: Participants in the Sixth Annual Marine Corps Marathon presented a colorful spectacle as they began the 26-mile, 385-yard run in Washington, D.C., November 1, 1981. The cover photo, by Tom Bartlett, was taken from a bridge overlooking Highway 50 about a half-mile from the starting line.
January 1981: Nearly 7,800 runners participated in the Fifth Annual Marine Corps Marathon held in northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. The oldest finisher was 78; the youngest was 10. Leatherneck staffer Ron Lunn pre-positioned himself near the Nation’s Capitol to photograph runners during their 14th mile of the 26-mile, 385-yard course.
January 1972: This month’s cover, by Marine Combat Artist Peter Gish, shows members of the New Corps sightseeing in the Old World. While on liberty in Athens, Greece, the 3d Bn, Eighth Marines, were able to tour the Erektheon Porch and Cariatides. The water color is from the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Art collection.
Originally Published December 1983 -- Something tells us that we could date the cover without knowing when it was published.
Originally Published December 1972 -- We're not sure what's more interesting, Santa or the old style gas pump.
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This November 1992 article in the Marine Corps Gazette looked at the uniform regulations of 1859 and the attempt to standardize uniforms within the Corps. Read the story and see more pics.
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