My Dad the U.S. China Marine

My Dad the U.S. China Marine

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Many Classic Phrases Attributed To Marines: Some Date Many Decades

Many Classic Phrases Attributed To Marines: Some Date Many Decades
Honolulu Star Bulletin: Thursday, November 8, 1945.

“This is where we separate the men from the boys.”

“You won’t get any Purple Hearts in a foxhole.”

If you want to win this war, let’s get the hell up that ridge.”

These are some of the classic phrases you are likely to hear these days as the Marine Corps observes its 170th anniversary Saturday.

Products of World War II, these words uttered in the heat of battle have taken their place in Marine Corps legend along with other famous sayings such as:

“Tell it to the Marines!” “The Marines have landed and have the situation well in hand,” and, “Retreat, hell! We just got here!”

Few people, including Marines, can agree on the origin of most of these utterances, but no less a literary figure than Samuel Pepys is credited as authority for the origin of “Tell it to the Marines!”

The general public’s conception of the term Leatherneck as standing for the toughness of the service is not objected to by the Marines, but a more definite origin exists.

Leatherneck is a title that came to be applied to the Marines in the revolutionary days of wooden ships, when our soldiers of the sea wore leather collars reaching from collar bone to ear for the quite practical purpose of protecting the neck and jugular vein from the boarding pike and cutlass.

A semblance of the early precaution is still retained in the high, tight fitting collar of the Marines blue dress uniform.

The Marines’ other appellation best known to the public –Devil Dogs- is said to have originated in the first world war when German newspapers reported that American Devil Dogs were holding up their progress in Bellau Wood.

The term was well applied for the Devil Dogs not only held up progress, but launched an offensive of their own.

Capt. Lloyd Williams uttered a remark which ranks high among the favorites of the Marines themselves.

French troops were in full retreat when the scanty, untried Marines of the 4th brigade began digging in for a stay at BellauWood.

French officers informed Capt. Williams that the situation was hopeless and ordered the Marines to join in the general retreat.

Capt. Williams stood surprised for a moment, then calmly replied, “Retreat hell! We just got here,:

Several “firsts” are claimed for the report. “The Marines have landed and have the situation well in hand.”

One story dates it to a landing at Panama in 1885 as reported by a British consul.

Semper Fidelis, a Latin motto mean “always faithful” was officially adopted by the Marine Corps in 1926, though it had been associated with the Marines long before. It is above the eagle on the Marine flag and on all printed emblems.

First to fight, often found in references to the Leathernecks, begins the fifth line of the Marines’ hymns –First for right and freedom.

The Marines, since they often are already on foreign soil when trouble breaks, and since they are first ashore to seize and hold enemy bases during a naval offensive, usually make the initial contact with hostile ground forces.

The warning, Don’t Tread on Me, has been lettered on the drums of Marine bands since the first fife and drum corps paraded the streets of Philadelphia in 1775.

The motto is not an exclusive Marine possession, but Marines helped John Paul Jones, who flew the rattlesnake flag on his ships, win all his major victories.

The expression “a Marine never surrenders” is credited to Capt. Gilbert D. Hatfield, who refused an enemy general’s demand to give up with those words.