37¢ Distinguished Marines
Issue Date: November 10, 2005
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 11 x 10.5
Please note: Due to the layout of the pane, the se-tenant may or may not be provided in Scott Catalogue order.
John A. Lejeune
Lieutenant General John Archer Lejeune (1867-1942) was born at Pointe Coupee, Louisiana. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1888 and became a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1890.
Lejeune served as a young officer during the 1898 Spanish-American War. He fought in campaigns in Panama, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, and he participated in the occupations of Veracruz, Mexico, and Nicaragua.
During World War I, Lejeune received the Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre from the French and Distinguished Service Medals from the U.S. Army and the Navy. He was the first Marine general to command an Army division.
Lejeune was determined to make the Marine Corps into an important amphibious force for expeditionary use by the Navy. As Major General Commandant of the Corps from June 1920 to March 1929, Lejeune emphasized equipping and training the Marines to be instantly ready to support the naval fleet in time of war, in the air, on land, and sea.
Lejeune served more than 40 years with the Marines. He is often called “the greatest of all leathernecks.” Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, is named in his honor.
Lewis B. Puller
Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell Puller (1898-1971), born in West Point, Virginia, enlisted in the Marines in 1918. Placed on inactive reserve duty at the end of World War I, Puller immediately enlisted in the regular Corps. He led native troops against bandits in Haiti and Nicaragua, where he won two Navy Crosses – the second-highest award for combat heroism.
Puller earned a third Navy Cross on Guadalcanal in World War II. In one action alone, his Marines killed 1,400 hostile troops, held ground until reinforcements arrived, and suffered fewer than 70 casualties.
Puller’s fourth Navy Cross was awarded for action on Cape Gloucester, New Britain, in 1944. When the leaders of two battalions were wounded, he took over and moved through heavy fire to command their units.
The fifth and final Navy Cross Puller earned was in the Korean War during the bitter Chosin Reservoir battle. Although surrounded, he led the Marines out, fighting continuously in sub-zero weather, bringing fallen and wounded men and vital equipment with them. Puller served 27 years overseas and earned more than 50 decorations. When he was retired in 1955, Lieutenant General Puller was the most decorated man in Marine Corps history.
Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone (1916-45) was born in Buffalo, New York, and raised in Raritan, New Jersey. At 18, he joined the Army and served three years before being honorably discharged. In 1940, with World War II on the horizon, he joined the Marines.
In the 1942 battle of Bloody Ridge on Guadalcanal, Basilone commanded two machine-gun emplacements defending an airfield. When the Japanese attacked and one gun crew was wiped out, Basilone rolled back and forth over the ground, firing first one gun, then the other. When ammunition got low, he went back through enemy fire for more. Basilone saved Henderson Airfield by valiantly holding off an advancing Japanese regiment until reinforcements arrived.
Basilone was awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty. He returned home a hero, but refused a commission and asked to return to the Pacific to rejoin his men.
When the Marines landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945, Basilone single-handedly destroyed a Japanese blockhouse, allowing his unit to capture an airfield. Minutes later, an enemy shell killed him. On his left arm was a tattoo that read “Death before Dishonor.” Basilone was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.
Daniel J. Daly
Sergeant Major Daniel J. Daly (1873-1937) was born in Glen Cove, New York. In 1899, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and was sent to the Asiatic Fleet.
One evening in August 1900, Daly and his captain defended a barricade in the city of Peking, China, during the Boxer Rebellion. As night fell, the captain left to get reinforcements. Daly held the position through relentless attacks until reinforcements arrived. For his brave conduct, Daly was awarded the Medal of Honor.
During the Mexican-American War in 1914, Daly saw action in Haiti. His patrol of 35 Marines was ambushed by approximately 400 rebels. Daly received the Medal of Honor for fighting off the rebel ambush against overwhelming odds.
Sgt. Daly is often remembered for his unflinching charge against German soldiers at the World War I battle of Belleau Wood in France. Outside the village of Lucy le Bocage, outnumbered, outgunned, and pinned down, Daly ordered an attack, leading his men. “Do you want to live forever?” he yelled. He and his small group of Marines surged forward and captured the town.
Major General John A. Lejeune, former Commandant of the Marine Corps, described Sergeant Major Daniel Daly as the “outstanding Marine of all time.”
Founding Of The U.S. Marine Corps
The forerunner of the United States Marines was established on November 10, 1775, in the midst of the American Revolutionary War.
The earliest American Marines served with the British in the 1730s. Some 3,000 American colonists were recruited to serve with Admiral Edward Vernon’s fleet for service off the coast of South America. When hostilities there ended, the Colonial Marines were disbanded. They were recalled to service several times in the ensuing years and by the start of the Revolutionary War, there were still some 4,500 Americans serving in the Colonial Marines.
At the start of the revolution, the Continental Congress was hesitant to form a navy, as they feared fighting the world’s strongest fleet. But it soon became apparent that the revolution would have to include a naval war. In the early months of the war, there was no Continental Navy. Colonies had their own navies and Marines, but the responsibilities of each weren’t clearly defined.
In October 1775, John Adams and other members of Congress pushed for a Continental Navy. It was formed on October 13 with a squadron of four merchantmen and two smaller ships. The Continental Congress met again on November 9 and spoke with the Naval Committee about launching an amphibious expedition to Halifax, Nova Scotia. They hoped to send Marines to fight at sea before pushing ashore and destroying the military base there, as well as securing supplies if possible. The next day, on November 10, the Naval Committee was instructed to raise two Marine battalions.
Samuel Nicholas was charged with recruiting the two battalions. A Philadelphia native, he set himself up in a local bar (either the Tun Tavern or the Conestoga Waggon) to recruit able men with experience at sea. Men flocked to the bar both for the cold beer and the chance to serve in the new Marines Corps. The Marines were officially resolved when Nicholas was commissioned a captain on November 28. Some 2,000 enlistees and 131 officers served with the Marines during the Revolution, aiding America in its victory over the British. In spite of this, the Marines and the Navy were disbanded after the war ended in 1783.
Conflicts arose in the following years and the Navy was eventually re-established in May 1798. Interestingly, the man that called for the establishment of the Continental Marines years earlier was now President and making a similar request. On July 11, President John Adams signed legislation establishing the Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the Department of the Navy.
The US Marines first fought in the Quasi-War with France and against the Barbary pirates of North Africa. They went on to fight in every major war in which the US participated. During over 240 years of service, the Marines have made over 300 landings on foreign shores.
Though the Marines have the fewest active duty soldiers in the US armed forces (less than 190,000), they are some of the world’s most elite military forces, able to launch major operations anywhere in the world with just two weeks’ notice.