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Historic United States Marines

Major Samuel Nicholas:Became the first Commissioned Officer of the Continental Marines when he was commissioned as a Captain on November 28, 1775. He is traditionally regarded as the first Commandant

Lieutenant Colonel William Ward Burrows: Officially appointed the first United States Marine Corps Commandant on July 12, 1798

First Lieutenant Presley Neville O'Bannon (1776-1850): After his heroic efforts in the battle for Derne in 1805 during the Tripolitan War, Prince Hamet Karamali presented him the sword that he carried while living with the Mamelukes in Egypt. This sword later served as the pattern for the Mameluke Sword, which is the sword that Marine officers carry today.

Brigadier General Archibald Henderson (1785-1859): First General Officer of the Marine Corps; 5th Commandant of the Marine Corps, he held that position from 1820 until 1859 - a span of over 38 years (longer than any other Commandant), during which he served under 11 different Presidents. He had a total of 53 years of service beginning in 1806. He is known as the "Grand Old Man of the Corps".

Brigadier General Jacob Zeilin: Commandant who adopted The Marines' Hymn and the current Marine Corps emblem and officer's evening dress as well as bringing back the Mameluke Sword for officers in 1875.

John Philip "The March King" Sousa (1854-1932): The most famous leader of the Marine Band, The President's Own, who wrote many famous marches including Semper Fidelis and Stars and Stripes Forever. He was enlisted on June 9, 1868 by his father at the age of 13 for 7 and a half years to prevent him from running away with the circus. Sousa left the Marine Corps after that enlistment but returned in 1880 and served as Director of the Marine Band until 1892. He wrote an autobiography called Marching Along in 1928.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Huntington: Landed his battalion at Guantanamo Bay on June 7, 1898 to become the first U.S. troops to establish a beachhead on Cuban soil.

Lieutenant Alfred A. Cunningham: Became the first Marine aviator in 1912. He was designated Naval Aviator Number 5.

Major General John Archer Lejeune (1867-1942): First Marine officer to ever command an Army division in combat - 13th Commandant who officially made scarlet and gold the Marine Corps colors; superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute from 1929-1937

General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr.: 20th Commandant who also designed the Marine Corps seal

General Alexander A. Vandegrift (1887-1973): Led the U.S. offensive against the Japanese on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands during WWII. First Marine to be awarded both the Navy Cross and the Medal of Honor. 18th Commandant from 1944-1948. First Marine to hold the rank of 4-star General while still on active duty.

Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller (1898-1971) The most decorated Marine of all time being awarded 52 ribbons and medals - he was awarded the Navy Cross an amazing FIVE TIMES - the Navy Cross is the second highest award a Marine can be awarded, it is only out ranked by the Medal of Honor .

Major Gregory R. "Pappy" Boyington (1912-1988) Medal of Honor; commanded the VMF-214 also known as the "Black Sheep Squadron" and was the Marine Corps' top ranking ace of WWII with 28 victories; a television series was created about him and his squadron .

Major Smedley Darlington Butler (1881-1940) The only Marine officer to be awarded the Medal of Honor TWICE - one in Vera Cruz in 1914 and the other in Haiti in 1915. Known as "Old Gimlet Eye" .

Gunnery Sergeant Daniel J. Daly The only enlisted Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor TWICE - one in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 and the other in Haiti in 1915.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Leland "Lou" Diamond Served in France with the famous 6th Marines in World War I and with H Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Division on Guadalcanal and Tulagi at the age of 52 in World War II. Among the many fables concerning his service on Guadalcanal is the tale that he lobbed a mortar shell down the smoke stack of an off-shore Japanese cruiser. It is considered a fact, however, that he single-handedly drove the cruiser from the bay with his harassing near-misses. He was known as "Mr. Marine" and "Mr. Leatherneck".

Sergeant Chuck Mawhinney Marine sniper with the highest number of confirmed kills (103) - he is still alive and in September 1999 was invited to speak at the Scout/Sniper school on Camp Pendleton .

Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. "White Feather" Hathcock Marine sniper with the longest confirmed kill (2500 yards with a .50 caliber Browning rifle) - second highest number of confirmed kills (93)

Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr. As pilot of the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990, Major General Bolden and crew successfully deployed the Hubble Space Telescope while orbiting the earth from a record setting altitude of 400 miles - commander of STS-60, the 1994 Space Shuttle Discovery flight, the first joint U.S./Russian Space Shuttle mission - more than 680 logged space hours - currently Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces, Japan.

General Gerald C. Thomas (1917-1956) Enlisted in WWI; he was operations officer and then chief of staff of the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal, then commander of the same in the Korean War; served as Assistant Commandant from 1952-1954.

Sergeant Major Wilbur Bestwick He was the first Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, holding that billet from May 23, 1957 through Aug. 31, 1959.

Colonel John Herschel Glenn, Jr. (b.1921) Served in the Corps from 1943-1964. He flew 59 missions in WWII and 90 missions in Korea. He was a test pilot from 1954-1959. He became the first American to orbit the earth in his space capsule Friendship 7 in 1962.