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245 years ago, on November 10, 1775, The Continental Congress authorized the creation of two battalions of Marines. The Marines were disbanded, along with the navy, after victory in the American Revolution, and re-established on 11 July 1798. So, for a century July 11 was celebrated as the Marine Corps birthday. The earlier date was adopted as the official birthday in 1923, placing the Marines properly in the context of our fight for independence.
The brief Continental Congress journal entry for the day reflected a serious group of legislators, of a sort we sorely need in these days. The day’s business was all about military preparations at the strategic level. The marine battalions were part of that preparation, creating needed force structure long before we formally declared independence. The members of Congress understood that there was not time to train from ground zero, so required “no persons be appointed to office, or insisted into said battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea when required.”
A year later, the Continental Congress had a Marine Committee, which published regulations, including a uniform regulation distinguishing the Continental Marine battalions from the Continental Army with its blue coats: