Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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The Navy and Marine Corps Team 


Sailors and Marines aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) man the rails and give passing honors to the USS Midway Museum.

Sailors and Marines aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) man the rails and give passing honors to the USS Midway Museum while preparing to pull out of San Diego Bay for deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bill M. Sanders/Released)


The Marine Corps and the Navy trace their origins to the same moment in U.S. history—a series of decisions made in fall 1775. On 10 November of that year, the Second Continental Congress, which represented American colonists in the struggle against British rule, took the momentous step of authorizing two battalions of “American Marines.” 

Yet if the impetus was anti-British, the model was Britain’s own “maritime regiment of foot,” the forerunner to today’s Royal Marines. The American Marines, like their British counterparts, operated on and near the shore—the perilous space between the sea (a Navy’s purview) and the field (an army’s), where the exigencies of coastal warfare created the need for a specialized force. 

With the successful end of the Revolutionary War in 1783, however, the American Marines ceased to exist and did not return (as the “United States Marine Corps”) until the late 1790s, when Congress reestablished the U.S. Navy. Once again, Navy and Marine Corps history converged. 

Since the 1790s, the Navy has done little without the involvement of the Marine Corps. From hanging by the rigging in order to sweep enemy decks with fire in the War of 1812 to storming Japanese strongholds in the Pacific during World War II, Marines have fought alongside and as a complement to Navy personnel. In the last hundred years, the symbiotic relationship between the Marine Corps and the Navy has remade amphibious warfare and lent the decisive advantage to U.S. forces overseas. 

For more information on the shared history of the Navy and the Marine Corps, explore the links, below. 

Infographic on Navy-Marine Corps History



This infographic shares the history of the Navy and Marine Corps Team - a unique expeditionary force whose mission remains essential to the defense of the U.S. to this day. For more history on the Navy and Marine Corps Team. (U.S. Navy graphic by MC1 Dan Garas/Released)


Photo #: NH 52769  Group of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Officers, circa 1866-1867 Note:

These officers are identified in the original captions as: (Seated, left to right): Captain J.R. Madison Mullany, USN; and Commander Henry A. Adams, Jr., USN. (Standing, left to right): Unidentified Lieutenant Commander; Lieutenant Commander Rush R. Wallace, USN; Paymaster Horace P. Tuttle, USN; Lieutenant Commander Alexander S. MacKenzie, USN; and First Lieutenant Richard S. Collum, USMC. (NH 52769)


Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal and operation leaders watch invasion activities from on board USS Eldorado (AGC-11), 20 February 1945.

Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal and operation leaders watch invasion activities from on board USS Eldorado (AGC-11), 20 February 1945. Those present are, from left to right: Secretary of the Navy Forrestal; Lieutenant General Hollamd M. Smith, USMC, Commander Expeditionary Troops; Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner, USN (largely hidden behind Smith), Commander Joint Expeditionary Force; and Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill, USN, Commander Attack Force. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. (Catalog #: 80-G-312260)



Combat Equipped U.S. Marines

Scramble on the flight deck of USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) for awaiting helicopters to embark on an amphibious landing during operation Dagger Thrust, South Vietnam, December 1965. (Catalog #: USN 1114070-A)



Oil painting on canvas by V. Zveg, 1973, depicting Continental Sailors and Marines landing on New Providence Island, Bahamas, on 3 March 1776.

Oil painting on canvas by V. Zveg, 1973, depicting Continental Sailors and Marines landing on New Providence Island, Bahamas, on 3 March 1776. (NH 79419-KN) 



Bougainville Operation, 1943-1944

Bougainville Operation, 1943-1944. USS LST-449 loading equipment and supplies from a Guadalcanal Beach for her journey North to Bougainville, in November 1943, soon after Marines landed there. Note the LST's camouflage and truck in foreground bearing "Cub 9" markings. Photographed by Major W.A. Halpern, USMC. (Catalog #: USMC 79815)



Admiral Fechteler is escorted by Captain William R. Smedberg III, while inspecting Marines aboard the USS Iowa in August 1952, off Wonsan, Korea.

Admiral Fechteler is escorted by Captain William R. Smedberg III, while inspecting Marines aboard the USS Iowa in August 1952, off Wonsan, Korea. (NH 49544)



 U.S. Marine stands by the front of a M-46 tank, which has three North Korean tank kills to its credit, on the Inchon waterfront

A U.S. Marine stands by the front of a M-46 tank, which has three North Korean tank kills to its credit, on the Inchon waterfront. (80-G-423211)


Published: Fri Jun 14 18:08:34 EDT 2019