Marine Corps, 238-years-old Sunday, has served a role in every conflict in the history of the United States.
That’s because the Marines operate on sea, air, and land and — unlike the other services — can respond to a crisis in under 24 hours with the full force of a modern military.
Today, there are more than 200,000 active-duty and reserve Marines.
To celebrate the Corps, we’ve pulled some of the coolest photos from the archives.
Created in 1798, the Marine Corps Band was called 'The President's Own' by President Jefferson during his inaugural ball. Since then, the band has played at every presidential inauguration. Here they are in 1893.
Here, Marines are practicing how to carry a wounded soldier during combat training in western Germany circa 1918. Around 2,400 Marines died in WWI.
Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 triggered America's entrance into WWII. This photo shows a Marine holding a piece of shrapnel removed from his arm following the attack.
In the months following Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces expanded throughout the Western Pacific, prompting deployment of Marines to the tropical island of Guadalcanal. This 1943 photo shows two armed Marines waiting for 'Chow Call,' or mealtime.
Surrounded by a sea of mud, Marines stationed in the South Pacific island of Bougainville haul ammunition to the front line.
Wearing hardly any protective gear, Marine artillerymen plug their ears after launching a 155mm Howitzer in northern Iwo Jima.
This 1944 photo shows a Navy corpsman giving a wounded Marine blood plasma on an island in the Pacific. Marines captured the island in 24 hours with help from the heaviest naval and air bombardment ever at that time.
Iwo Jima was prime real estate for Americans to launch air raids against Japan, but the island was heavily guarded by Japanese forces. Amphibious Marines are seen here battling at the foot of Mount Suribachi.
Marines raise the American flag at the summit of Mt. Suribachi during the battle for Iwo Jima in 1945. This enduring image is actually of the second flag raised on the mountain that day. The first flag was taken down because it was too small to be seen easily.
The North Korean invasion of South Korea prompted American's entry in the Korean War. This photo from 1950 shows both Marine air and ground units supporting this operation.
Meanwhile in America, women began training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island in 1949. Today, all female recruits are still trained and transformed at Parris Island.
Lasting two decades long, the Vietnam War was the next major U.S. conflict. This Marine truck passes under a welcome banner at the entrance of the Vietnamese city Danang back in 1965.
A Marine First Lieutenant takes a minute to converse with a local Vietnamese woman in this photograph from 1965.
Marines scatter as a CH-46 helicopter explodes after it was shot down during combat in Vietnam. At least 13 Marines were reported killed in the crash and another three more badly burned.
Khe Sanh, in southern Vietnam, had the heaviest rocket and artillery attacks from the North Vietnamese troops. Here is a message from a Marine stationed there in 1970.
In 1983 the United States Embassy in Beirut was bombed by Islamic terrorists. It was the deadliest attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission up to that time. This photo shows a U.S. Marine wearing a gas mask while digging through the rubble to find survivors.
Marines cover each other with M16A2 assault rifles as they prepare to enter one of Saddam Hussein's palaces in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
Here, a Marine watches as a statue of Saddam Hussein falls in central Baghdad's Firdaus Square on April 9, 2003.
Marines rush across a danger area in Fallujah in later 2004. Fallujah, the 'City of Mosques,' was the location of the single greatest battle for Marines in Iraq, as several battalions swept through the city. It was the only battle in the history of the Marine Corps in which fliers were dropped to alert the enemy when the Marines would begin their sweep. The fliers were intended to give civilians a chance to make their exodus, as well as to unnerve the enemy.
The 'Darkhorse' Marines in the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit deployed to the Helmand province in southern Afghanistan following the heavy Marine-led assault on Marjah. Here is a photo of them under enemy sniper fire in 2010.
Built in 1861, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, S.C., consists of 8,095 acres of various types of terrain all for the recruits to use as their learning facility. About 20,000 recruits are transformed here every year.
Every recruit recieved at Parris Island is transformed by legendary Marine Drill Instructors like the one pictured here. Marine recruits are typically younger than other sister service branches and each DI wants to guarantee recruits can survive mentally and physically in combat.
Today there are more than 205,000 U.S. Marines serving America by air, land and sea. During the graduation ceremony at the Naval Academy this Marine takes his oath.
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