Semper Fidelis

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- During the American Revolution, many important political discussions took place in the inns and taverns of Philadelphia, including the founding of the Marine Corps. 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 was approved on November 10, 1775, officially forming the Continental Marines.

As the first order of business, Samuel Nicholas became commandant of the newly formed Marines. Tun Tavern's owner and popular patriot, Robert Mullan, became his first captain and recruiter. They began gathering support and were ready for action by early 1776.

Each year, the Marine Corps marks Nov. 10 with a celebration of the brave spirit which compelled these men and thousands since to defend our country as United States Marines. The tenth of November is a hallowed day for every Marine. It is the day we celebrate the birth of our beloved Marine Corps.

Last Saturday, the Marine Corps Detachment at Goodfellow Air Force Base celebrated the Marine Corps Birthday. The ball was a wonderful success and I would like to thank everyone from Goodfellow who attended and thank everyone in the 17th Training Wing for their unwavering support to our training mission.

The mission of the Marine Corps has evolved with changing military doctrine and American foreign policy. Owing to the availability of Marine forces at sea, the Marine Corps has served in every conflict in U.S. history. Our theories and practice of amphibious warfare proved prescient, and ultimately formed a cornerstone of the Pacific campaign of World War II. By the early 20th century, the Marine Corps would become the dominant theorist and practitioner of amphibious warfare. Our ability to rapidly respond to regional crises has made and continues to make the Marine Corps an important tool for American foreign policy.

What sets Marines apart from our service brethren is the fact that every Marine is trained first and foremost, regardless of MOS, as a rifleman. After three months of Boot Camp and before training in their specific MOS every enlisted Marine attends four weeks of Marine Combat Training. Further, every Marine Corps Officer attends The Basic School, a six month course that trains every second lieutenant as an infantry platoon commander - even the pilots! Our common understanding of the battlefield, our warrior ethos, and our Corps Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment bind us together.

I have always felt that the greatest strengths of the Marine Corps are the emphasis put on leadership at every level and our ability to build young leaders. Decisions and responsibility are pushed to the lowest level possible, enabling us to train and fight more effectively. These same concepts are applied, I know, by our sister services. So I would like to challenge all of our young Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, as you complete your time here on Goodfellow, to take stock of the progress you have made and think about the kind of leader that you are going to be as you move on to the operating forces. I am challenging you, the next generation, to internalize your service corps values and understand the importance of moral courage and entigrity as a leader. Sooner than you can believe you are going to be running the show.

And finally, on the tenth of November if you pass a Marine, stop and wish him a Happy Birthday.

Semper Fidelis!