Marine Corps, United States

Marine Corps, United States,

military corps that forms a separate service within the U.S. Dept. of the Navy. The commandant of the Marine Corps is a member of the Joint Chiefs of StaffJoint Chiefs of Staff,
U.S. statutory agency, created in 1949 within the Dept. of Defense. The chairman is the principal military adviser to the President, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense.
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. During conflicts, the Corps is charged with conducting all land operations essential to the successful prosecution of a naval campaign (see marinesmarines,
troops that serve on board ships of war or in conjunction with naval operation. A British marine corps was established in 1664, and the need for skilled riflemen aboard military vessels brought about intermittent renewal of this organization.
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); during peacetime, its top priority is combat readiness. Famous for its esprit de corps, the Corps emphasizes physical fitness and intensive training. In 1775, the Continental Congress created two federal battalions of marines to serve as naval infantryinfantry,
body of soldiers who fight in an army on foot and are equipped with hand-carried weapons, in contradistinction originally to cavalry and other branches of an army.
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. In 1798, the United States Marine Corps was established and placed under the control of the Secretary of the Navy. Marines have participated in every major war, especially the Mexican WarMexican War,
1846–48, armed conflict between the United States and Mexico. Causes

While the immediate cause of the war was the U.S. annexation of Texas (Dec., 1845), other factors had disturbed peaceful relations between the two republics.
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; World War IWorld War I,
1914–18, also known as the Great War, conflict, chiefly in Europe, among most of the great Western powers. It was the largest war the world had yet seen.
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; World War IIWorld War II,
1939–45, worldwide conflict involving every major power in the world. The two sides were generally known as the Allies and the Axis. Causes and Outbreak
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; the Korean WarKorean War,
conflict between Communist and non-Communist forces in Korea from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel into Soviet (North Korean) and U.S. (South Korean) zones of occupation.
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; and the Vietnam WarVietnam War,
conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. The war began soon after the Geneva Conference provisionally divided (1954) Vietnam at 17° N lat.
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. They have developed expertise in counterinsurgency and guerrilla warfareguerrilla warfare
[Span.,=little war], fighting by groups of irregular troops (guerrillas) within areas occupied by the enemy. When guerrillas obey the laws of conventional warfare they are entitled, if captured, to be treated as ordinary prisoners of war; however, they are
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, as well as in commandocommando,
small, elite military raiding and assault unit or soldier. Although the word was coined in the Boer War (1899–1902), the role is as old as battles themselves. In 1940, when the British organized a number of such units, the term came into wide use.
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 operations and amphibious warfareamphibious warfare
, employment of a combination of land and sea forces to take or defend a military objective. The general strategy is very ancient and was extensively employed by the Greeks, e.g., in the Athenian attack on Sicily in 415 B.C.
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. Marine units are self-sufficient, with their own tankstank, military,
armored vehicle having caterpillar traction and armed with machine guns, cannon, rockets, or flame throwers. The tank, together with the airplane, opened up modern warfare, which had been immobilized and stalemated by the use of rifled guns (see mechanized
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 and other armor, artilleryartillery,
originally meant any large weaponry (including such ancient engines of war as catapults and battering rams) or war material, but later applied only to heavy firearms as opposed to small arms.
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, and air forcesair forces,
those portions of a nation's military organization employing heavier-than-air aircraft for reconnaissance, support of ground troops, aerial combat, and bombing of enemy lines of communication and targets of industrial and military importance.
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See A. Millett, Semper Fidelis (1982); A. B. O'Connell, Underdogs: The Making of the Modern Marine Corps (2012).

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