Selected USMC Slogans:  (excerpt from Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines, copyright 2001 Marion F. Sturkey)

  • First to Fight:  The media in the United States began using this term to describe U.S. Marines during World War I.  And, for once the media was right.  Marines have served in the vanguard of every American war since the founding of the Corps in 1775.  They have carried out over 300 assaults on foreign shores, from the arctic to the tropics.  Historically, U.S. Marines are indeed the first to fight.

  • Once a Marine, Always a Marine:  This truism is now the official motto of the Marine Corps League.  The origin of the statement is credited to a gung-ho Marine Corps master sergeant, Paul Woyshner.  During a barroom argument he shouted, "Once a Marine, always a Marine!"  MSgt. Woyshner was right.  Once the title "U.S. Marine" has been earned, it is retained.  There are no ex-Marines or former-Marines.  There are (1) active duty Marines, (2) retired Marines, (3) reserve Marines, and (4) Marine veterans.  Nonetheless, once one has earned the title, he remains a Marine for life.

  • Gung-Ho:  The Chinese used this term to describe Marines in China around 1900.  In the Chinese language, gung-ho means working together.  That's what the "American Marines" were always doing, "working together," the Chinese explained.  The term stuck to Marines like glue.  Today it conveys willingness to tackle any task, or total commitment to the Corps.

  • Good night, Chesty, wherever you are:  This is an often-used tribute of supreme respect to the late and legendary LtGen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC.  Chesty!  Without a doubt he was the most outspoken Marine, the most famous Marine, the Marine who really loved to fight, the most decorated Marine in the history of the Corps.   Chesty enlisted as a Private.  Through incredible fortitude and tenacity he became a living legend.  He shouted battle orders in a bellow and stalked battlefields as though impervious to enemy fire.  Chesty rose to the rank of Lieutenant General.  He displayed an abiding love for the Magnificent Grunts, especially the junior enlisted men who did the majority of the sacrificing and dying, and utter contempt for all staff pogues of whatever rank.  During his four wars, he became the only Marine to be awarded the Navy Cross five times.  The Marines' Marine!  "Goodnight, Chesty, wherever you are."

  • A Few Good Men:  On 20 March 1779 in Boston, Capt. William Jones, USMC, advertised for "a few good men" to enlist in the Corps for naval duty.  The term seemed ideally suited for Marines, mainly because of the implication that "a few" good men would be enough.  This term has survived for over 200 years and has been synonymous with U.S. Marines ever since.