The United States currently has the largest marine force in the entire world. While the Marine Corps works with many other branches of the military and performs a wide range of duties, it started off as a group intended to protect the Navy and provide security services aboard vessels.
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Beginning of the US Marine Corps
The first incarnation of the US Marine Corps was developed to protect naval vessels during the Revolutionary War. This group, called the Continental Marines, was formed in November of 1775. The marine group performed ship-to-ship combat to prevent enemy vessels from destroying or capturing American boats. It also provided on-boat security and enforced discipline aboard ships.
The US Marine Corps During the Civil War
The US Marine Corps did not perform many significant duties during the Civil War. Most of the battles happened on land, so the Marines were not always the best force for a mission. The military branch focused on blockade duty and ship battles.
A Marine detachment did, however, arrest John Brown at Harper’s Ferry after the abolitionist had raided the armory. When Brown would not give up his position, the Marine group broke into the armory and took him into custody.
The US Marine Corps Changes
Over time, the US Marine Corps began to develop a mission outside of the Navy. It began to participate in a wider range of operations and distinguish itself as one of the most highly trained branches of the US military.
Still, the Marine Corps has frequently worked with naval forces throughout the country’s history. In many cases, Marine troops have followed Navy vessels to battles around the world. The group’s unique ability to function on land and water makes it an excellent addition to the Navy. Without Marine assistance, for instance, the Navy would face more difficult challenges reaching land.
The US Marine Corps in the Middle East
The US Marine Corps has played an important role in Middle Eastern conflicts. Marine soldiers were prominent in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2003, it was a Marine unit that invaded the country, opening it up to other branches of the military. After completing its mission, the Marine forces left Iraq during the same year.
In 2004, the US Marine Corps was given responsibility over a large desert area west of Baghdad. While occupying the area, Marines were heavily involved in military operations in Fallujah, Ramadi, and other cities throughout the area.
The Marine Corps ended its occupation and operational duties in Iraq in 2010 as President Obama sought to withdraw more troops from the Middle East. Many of their responsibilities were given to the US Army after their departure.
The Marine Corps has played an important, impressive role in the country’s history. While it has served a variety of functions, including military support for the Navy and self-guided operations in the Middle East, it remains one of the most important segments of the US armed forces and its members are held to the highest codes of honor.