Seventy-Five years ago today, after months of fighting at Henderson Field and along Edson’s Ridge, Marines on Guadalcanal spent the night of 10 November 1942 planning and preparing. Although the Battle of Guadalcanal would continue for three more months, the plans laid on our Corps’ most sacred day became integral to the amphibious campaigns that followed. Success at Guadalcanal proved to be the turning point that ultimately paved the way for Allied victory in the Pacific. Those warriors defended their positions in brutal conditions against a formidable enemy – and triumphed. Through every major conflict our Nation has seen since the Revolution, Marines performed their duty with utmost courage, devotion, and raw determination. Their valiant deeds in the face of overwhelming challenges give us confidence and inspire us to meet the trials of today. As we pause to celebrate the birth of our Corps this year, we honor the legacy that was passed down to us and we recommit ourselves to carrying those traditions into the future.
This November 10th marks 242 years of warfighting excellence. At places like Trenton, Tripoli, Chapultepec, Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Chosin, Khe Sanh, Fallujah, Sangin, and so many others, Marines have fought with an inner spirit – a spirit that bonds us, binds us together as a cohesive team. It’s that intangible spirit that has formed the foundation of our warfighting reputation for the past 242 years. Now it’s our responsibility to ensure we honor and carry on that legacy. The American people expect a Corps of men and women who are committed, selfless, willing to sacrifice, who epitomize honor, courage, commitment, virtue, and character. We owe our Nation and our predecessors no less.
Today, as we celebrate our 242nd birthday, we must remember who we are, where we came from, and why we’re here. We must remember the past, honor those who are no longer with us, focus on today’s battles, and get ready for tomorrow. We can and will prevail as we always have, in any clime and place. But we must prevail together, united by the unyielding spirit in each of us that makes our Corps unique – that willingness to put our Corps and fellow Marines ahead of ourselves. Victory in battle comes through the integrated efforts of many – teamwork. We value the sacrifices and contributions of every Marine and Sailor, as well as our family members without whose support we would not be able to accomplish our mission. And we remain committed to being our Nation’s Expeditionary Force in Readiness that sets the standard for honor, discipline, and courage. I am proud of each and every one of you. Happy Birthday, Marines!
Robert B. Neller
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps