Marine Corps Quotes

Leatherneck Online

From Notable Marines

For over 221 years our Corps has done two things for this great Nation. We make Marines and we win battles.

—Gen Charles C. Krulak, 31st CMC, 5 May 1997

Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary.

Gen. A. M. Gray, 29th CMC

A Marine is a Marine.  I set that policy two weeks ago - there's no such thing as a former Marine.   You're a Marine, just in a different uniform and you're in a different phase of your life.  But you'll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico.  There's no such thing as a former Marine.

General James F. Amos, 35th CMC

Gone to Florida to fight the Indians. Will be back when the war is over.

—Commandant Col Archibald Henderson, 5th CMC, on a note pinned to his office door, 1836

On board the GANGES, about 12 mos. ago, Lt. Gale, was struck by an Officer of the Navy, the Capt. took no notice of the Business and Gale got no satisfaction on the Cruise; the moment he arrived he call’d the Lieut. out and shot him; afterwards Politeness was restor’d”

—Signed “Yr obdt. Svt, W. W. Burrows, LtCol Comdt, MC” (2d CMC)

The relation between officers and men should in no sense be that of superior and inferior nor that of master and servant, but rather that of teacher and scholar. In fact, it should partake of the nature of the relation between father and son, to the extent that officers, especially commanding officers, are responsible for the physical, mental, and moral welfare, as well as the discipline and military training of the young men under their command.

—MajGen John A. Lejeune, 13th CMC 1929

We are United States Marines, and for two and a quarter centuries we have defined the standards of courage, esprit, and military prowess.

—Gen James L. Jones, 32nd CMC, 10 Nov 2000

There’s no such thing as a crowded battlefield. Battlefields are lonely places.

—General Alfred M. Gray, 29th CMC

People criticizing the Marines are like the skinny guy trying to kick sand on the muscle guy in a Charles Atlas advertisement.

— Gen Louis Wilson, 26th CMC, Norfolk, Va., 1975

We make generals today on the basis of their ability to write a damned letter. Those kinds of men can’t get us ready for war.

—LtGen Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller

I am They.

—Gen Louis H. Wilson, 26th CMC

I still need Marines who can shoot and salute. But, I need Marines who can fix jet engines and man sophisticated radar sets, as well.

—Gen Robert E. Cushman Jr., 25th CMC, 17 May 1974

Being ready is not what matters. What matters is winning after you get there.

—LtGen Victor H. Krulak to a Marine unit leaving for Vietnam, April 1965

You don’t hurt ‘em if you don’t hit ‘em.

—LtGen Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller 1961

Paperwork will ruin any military force.

—LtGen Lewis B. ”Chesty” Puller 1962

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.

LtGen Thomas Holcomb, 17th CMC, 1943

Son, when the Marine Corps wants you to have a wife, you will be issued one.

—LtGen Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller when asked by a PFC for permission to marry.

Old breed? New breed? There’s not a damn bit of difference so long as it’s the Marine breed.

—LtGen Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller

Don’t you forget that you’re Marines- First Marines! Not all the communists in hell can overrun you!

—Col Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, rallying his 1st Marines near Chosin Reservoir, Korea, December 1950

The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps.

—LtGen A. A. Vandegrift, 18th CMC

The Marine Corps went from 15,000, which its strength was when I was Commandant, to approximately 400,000 when I retired, and more than that afterward, without losing its individual characteristics. It was the same Marine Corps. It was not different in any respect.

—Gen Thomas Holcomb, 17th CMC

If the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eaton, the Japanese bases in the Pacific were captured on the beaches of the Caribbean.

—LtGen H. M. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith 1949

Fleets cannot operate without bases.

—MajGen John A. Lejeune 13th CMC, 13 March 1920

We had generals who were admirals and admirals who wanted to be generals. Generals acting as admirals are bad enough, but it was the admirals who wanted to be generals who imperiled victory among the coral islands.

—LtGen H. M. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith 1949

I selected an enormous Marine Corps emblem to be tattooed across my chest. It required several sittings and hurt me like the devil, but the finished product was worth the pain. I blazed triumphantly forth, a Marine from throat to waist. The emblem is still with me. Nothing on earth but skinning will remove it.

—MajGen Smedley D. Butler

Since I first joined the Marines, I have advocated aggressiveness in the field and constant offensive action. Hit quickly, hit hard and keep right on hitting. Give the enemy no rest, no opportunity to consolidate his forces and hit back at you.

—LtGen H. M. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith 1949

We’re not accustomed to occupying defensive positions. It’s destructive to morale.

—LtGen H. M. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith, Iwo Jima, 1945

The future success of the Marine Corps depends on two factors: first, an efficient performance of all duties to which its officers and men may be assigned; second, promptly bringing this efficiency to the attention of the proper officials of the government, and the American people.

—MajGen John A. Lejeune, 13th CMC

I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to major general. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

—MajGen Smedley D. Butler, 1933

Be kindly and just in your dealings with your men. Never play favorites. Make them feel that justice tempered with mercy may always be counted on. This does not mean a slackening of discipline. Obedience to orders and regulations must always be insisted upon, and good conduct on the part of the men exacted. Especially should this be done with reference to civilian inhabitants of foreign countries in which Marines are serving.

—MajGen John A. Lejeune, 13th CMC 1920

We are all members of the same great family … On social occasions the formality of strictly military occasions should be relaxed, and a spirit of friendliness and goodwill should prevail.

—MajGen John A. Lejeune

Any officer can get by on his sergeants. To be a sergeant you have to know your stuff. I’d rather be an outstanding sergeant than just another officer.

—SgtMaj Daniel Daly 1873-1937

A compliance with the minutiae of military courtesy is a mark of well-disciplined troops.

—MajGen John A. Lejeune, 13th CMC 1919

Come on you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?

—Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly 1918 France.

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