Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Marine Corps Emblem & Henry Clay Cochrane

How old is the emblem of the United States Marine Corps? Well, since 1868, our Marine Corps emblem with its eagle, globe, and anchor has symbolized our Warrior Ethos.

To show you what was going on and put this into perspective, let's look at what else was taking place that year:

On March 20th of 1868, the James Gang robbed a bank in Russelville Kentucky of $14,000.

On May 22nd, what became known as the Great Train Robbery took place - where the 7 members Reno Brothers Gang made off with $98,000 in cash.

On May 30th, the first Memorial Day observance took place when 2 women in Columbus Mississippi placed flowers on both Confederate & Union graves.

It was the year that Alvin J Fellows patented the Tape Measure; the first use of tax stamps on cigarettes, the U.S. Congress formed Wyoming Territory which included Dakota, Utah, and Idaho; the 14th Amendment of the Constitution was ratified granting citizenship to ex-slaves.

By November 27th of that year, the Washita Massacre in Oklahoma took place. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer leads an early morning attack on a band of peaceful Cheyenne living with Chief Black Kettle.

The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor

The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor is the official emblem and insignia of the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Corps emblem traces its roots in the design to the early Continental Marines as well as the British Royal Marines.

The present emblem, adopted in 1955, differs from the emblem of 1868 only by a change in the eagle. Before that time many devices, ornaments, and distinguishing marks followed one another as official badges of the Corps.

In 1776, the device consisted of a fouled anchor (tangled in its rope) of silver or pewter. Changes were made in 1798, 1821, and 1824.

In 1834, it was prescribed that a brass eagle be worn on the cover, the eagle to measure 3.5 inches from wingtip to wingtip.

An eagle clutching a fouled anchor with thirteen six-pointed stars above was used on uniform buttons starting in 1804. That same insignia is used today on the buttons of Marine dress and service uniforms, with the six-pointed stars changed to five-pointed stars. 

During the early years, numerous distinguishing marks were prescribed, including "black cockades", "scarlet plumes", and "yellow bands and tassels".

In 1859, the first version of the present color scheme for the officer's dress uniform insignia appeared on an elaborate device of solid white metal and yellow metal. The design included a United States shield, half wreath, a bugle, and the letter "M."

In 1868, the Commandant, Brigadier General Jacob Zeilin, appointed a board "to decide and report upon the various devices of cap ornaments of the Marine Corps."

On November 13, 1868, the board recommended the modern insignia. It was approved by the Commandant four days later, and by the Secretary of the Navy on November 19, 1868.

Henry Clay Cochrane

So now you may be asking, what does this have to do with a man by the name of Henry Clay Cochrane? Well, Henry Clay Cochrane was born on November 7, 1842, and died on April 27, 1913. He was an officer in the United States Marine Corps during the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th century. And yes, he definitely saw some history while in the Corps.

As a newly minted 2nd Lieutenant, he participated in the American Civil War. It is a fact that during the Civil War, Lieutenant Cochrane actually had the duty of accompanying President Abraham Lincoln as a member of his guard. And yes, he was there with President Lincoln at the dedication ceremony for the new Gettysburg Battlefield Cemetery when President Lincoln delivered his famed Gettysburg Address.

As an old Marine Detachment Marine, I can appreciate the fact that as a Captain serving as the Fleet Marine Officer onboard the sloop-of-war USS Lancaster, Flagship of the European Station, Captain Cochrane was present at the bombardment of Alexandria, Egypt, by the British Fleet in July 1882. During the operation, he accompanied a landing party along with Lieutenant Littleton W. T. Waller consisting of a mixed bluejacket and Marine force to suppress looting and to protect the U.S. consulate.

The Naval landing force of sixty-nine sailors and sixty-three Marines was formed, with Lieutenant Commander Charles Goodrich in command and Captain Cochrane as executive officer. Two companies comprised the force, the sailors under Navy Lieutenant Frank L. Denny, and the Marines under Lieutenant Waller.

The timely arrival of the ships of our European Squadron and their landing forces gave protection to the American consulate and to American citizens and interests caught up in the fighting and also afforded a refuge for the citizens of other nations who had been displaced from their homes or businesses. And yes, that operation sounds vaguely familiar to what has taken place in many places throughout the world ever since then.

Advancing cautiously through the burning and rubble-strewn streets, the Americans reached the Grand Square of Mehmet Ali, the heart of the city. The American Consulate was here, and it became the headquarters of the force.

Although the French troops had abandoned the city and cautiously returned to their ships, the Marines secured the Grand Square and began to patrol the streets of the European Quarter, as the international business and consular area were called.

Cochrane, Waller, and their Marines were assigned to Lord Charles Beresford’s British force for the protection of the European Quarter. The anticipated rebel counterattack never came, and a ten-day standoff ended with the arrival of the four thousand-man British relief force.

According to the Times of London: "Lord Charles Beresford states that without the assistance of the American Marines he would have been unable to discharge the numerous duties of suppressing fires, preventing looting, burying the dead, and clearing the streets."

Believe it or not, a year later, U.S. Marine Henry Clay Cochrane was present at the coronation of Czar Alexander III in Moscow in May of 1883.

Later on in 1898, as a Major, he was appointed second in command of the 1st Marine Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Huntington and participated in the landing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during the Spanish American War. Actually, he served as Executive Officer of the 1st Marine Battalion during the 1898 landing at Guantanamo Bay. By 1900, he commanded the 1st Marine Regiment as part of the China Relief Expedition - and participated in the Boxer Rebellion. As I said, he lived a great deal of Marine Corps history.

So what does he have to do with my beloved Marine Corps emblem?

Henry Clay Cochrane
Well, he is probably not known by very many Marines today but should be. You see, in the latter part of the 19th century, Henry Clay Cochrane became an ardent advocate for reform within the Marine Corps.

It had become antiquated in many ways, and it needed to catch up. Among other things, Henry Clay Cochrane's recommendations changed the Marine uniform, which had not been updated in 12 years. And yes, he is partly responsible for the adoption of the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor as the new Marine emblem in 1868.

Yes, he's the man that many look to for being responsible for our beloved emblem. 

Henry Clay Cochrane retired from active duty as a Colonel in 1905, bringing to an end 42 years of service in the Marine Corps. But in 1911, he was promoted to Brigadier General on the retired list. General Cochrane died on April 27, 1913, at the ripe old age of 71 in Chester, Pennsylvania.

As for the Marine Corps emblem?

Well, it is said that the general design of the emblem was probably derived from the Royal Marines' "Globe and Laurel" -- but frankly, no one knows. 

The United States Marine Corps emblem recommended by the 1868 board consisted of a globe intersected by a fouled anchor and surmounted by a spread eagle. On the emblem itself, there is a ribbon, clasped in the eagle's beak, bearing the Latin motto "Semper Fidelis" which is Latin for "Always Faithful." The uniform insignia omit the motto ribbon. The globe shows the continents of the Western hemisphere. Some believe that represents the Monroe Doctrine. Most agree the globe on the U.S. Marine emblem signifies the Corps' readiness to serve in any part of the world. The eagle represents the United States. The anchor, which dates back to the founding of the Corps in 1775, acknowledges the naval tradition of the Marines and their continual service within the Department of the Navy.
Officer and Enlisted Dress Emblems
There are some differences between the uniform insignia for enlisted Marines and that of officers: the enlisted Marines' insignia is die-struck from a single sheet of brass, while the officers' insignia is assembled from four parts: a globe with an eagle, anchor, rope, and continents. 

The insignia on enlisted Marines' blue Dress uniform is bright brass, while the globe, eagle, and cable on the officers' are silver and the anchor and continents are gold plated.

Interestingly enough, the officers' insignia does not include the island of Cuba - this does not have any historical significance but is simply due to the manufacturing difficulties posed in attaching such a small item to the globe.

The insignia which all Marines wear on the green Service uniform is painted flat black.

As for the seal of the United States Marine Corps?

Well, in 1954, the Commandant, General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., requested the design of an official seal for the Corps. The new seal included the traditional Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblem in gold, with the Globe and anchor rope in silver.

The eagle is depicted with wings displayed, standing upon the Western hemisphere of the terrestrial globe, and holding in his beak a white ribbon bearing the Marine Corps motto "Semper Fidelis" with the hemisphere superimposed on a fouled anchor.

An American Bald Eagle replaced the Crested Eagle depicted on the 1868 emblem.

The emblem is displayed on a scarlet background encircled with a blue band bearing the phrases "Department of the Navy" above and the "United States Marine Corps" below in white letters, the whole is edged in a gold rope rim.

President Eisenhower approved the design on June 22, 1954. The emblem as shown on the seal was adopted in 1955 as the official Marine Corps emblem.

We Marines love our emblem, yes we do!

The reason is that unlike America's other branches, to become a Marine is to earn the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.

It takes everything that one has to give, then when they feel they have nothing more to give -- they reach deep down and bring out what it takes to be among the few and the proud.

In the earliest years of the Corps, training was performed by the individual Marine barracks where the individual was recruited before being assigned to a permanent post.

Marine non-commissioned officers were responsible for instructing privates in discipline, drill, weapons handling, and other skills.

Around 1808, Commandant Franklin Wharton established a formal school for recruits at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.

It is said that those in Washington in July of 1861 were hastily formed into a battalion and drilled as they marched on their way to the First Battle of Bull Run.

In 1911, Commandant William P. Biddle standardized a mandatory two-month recruit training schedule which included drill, physical exercise, personal combat, and intensive marksmanship qualification with the recently-adopted M1903 Springfield rifle. He set up four depots at Philadelphia, Norfolk, Puget Sound, and Mare Island as Recruit training facilities.

In 1915, the Norfolk depot was shifted to its current location at Parris Island, while the Philadelphia and Puget Sound depots were closed and merged with the two remaining depots.

As the United States entered World War One, the number of recruits being trained surged from 835 at any given time to a peak of 13,286, while follow-on training was provided at Quantico, Virginia, and then in France.

During the summer of 1923, the West Coast recruit depot was moved from Mare Island to its current location in San Diego. It was then that the Marine Recruit training program was modified to include three weeks of basic indoctrination and three weeks on the rifle range, and the final two weeks were occupied in bayonet training and drill, guard duty and drill, and ceremonies and drill. 

After Congress authorized an increase in manpower in September 1939, the syllabus was halved to four weeks to accommodate the influx of recruits. Some say this was in preparation for World War II. But really, who knows if that's true or not.

After standards and marksmanship plummeted as a result of the cutback, the seven-week schedule was returned, and additional training was given at Camps Lejeune or Camp Pendleton for Marines, based on specialties, before being assigned to a unit.
During the Korean War, training was shortened from ten weeks to eight but returned afterward to ten.

In 1956, the Ribbon Creek incident led to scrutiny and reform in recruit training, such as an additional layer of command oversight and the distinctive campaign cover being adopted for Drill Instructors.

The Vietnam War shortened boot to nine weeks and again saw infantry recruits attend follow-up training at Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton. Toward the end of the Vietnam War, the Marine Corps started a thirteen-week program that is still in place today.

The United States Marine Corps Recruit Training, commonly known as "boot camp", is a 13-week program of initial training that each recruit must successfully complete in order to join the United States Marine Corps. All enlisted individuals entering the Marine Corps, regardless of eventual active or reserve duty status, must undergo and successfully pass recruit training at one of the two Marine Corps Recruit Depots (MCRD) to claim the "Eagle, Globe, and Anchor" of a Marine. It is achieved and not simply handed out.

Marines hold to the belief that their recruit training is the most physically and mentally difficult amongst America's Uniformed Military Services. Marines are proud of the rigorous training that is in fact longer than the other branches, require a more demanding Physical Fitness Test, and have the strictest demands for both physical and mental fitness. Furthermore, only the Marines require 500-yard marksmanship qualification, while others require significantly less.

The Corps makes Marines. They win our nation's battles. They develop quality citizens. Those are the promises the Marine Corps makes to our nation and to our Marines. Those promises are the reasons for the Corps' demanding recruit training process. They form the Corps reputation as America's force in readiness and are honored through the reciprocal commitment, between the Marine and Marine Corps, expressed in our motto: "Semper Fidelis" which is Latin for "Always Faithful."

As we Marines see it, there is no better symbol for the purpose we serve than the emblem every Marine earns: the "Eagle, Globe, and Anchor." 

The eagle represents the proud nation we defend. It stands at the ready with our coastlines in sight and the entire world within reach of its outstretched wings. The globe represents our worldwide presence. The anchor points both to the Marine Corps' naval heritage and its ability to access any coastline in the world. Together, the "Eagle, Globe, and Anchor" symbolize our commitment to defend our nation -- in the air, on land, and at sea.

Many of my readers have written and asked about the Marine Corps emblem.

A lot of folks have seen them on car windows and are curious, so they wrote asking why it looks the way it does? So now, as Paul Harvey used to say, you know the rest of the story of the Marine Corps emblem.

As with all former Marines, I'm proud to say that our beloved Eagle, Globe, and Anchor has stood the test of time.

Henry Clay Cochrane's concept of the Corps' Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, is symbolic of our Nation, our Naval Traditions, and of the Corps' World Wide Service since 1775.

For those who earn the emblem, they join a Corps that takes on the missions of protecting the lives of our citizens and the interests of our nation all over the globe. No one knows where the next conflict or crisis will emerge. Ridding the world of threats requires a lightweight, nimble force that not only can respond rapidly -- but also takes control when it gets there.

When unexpected threats arise, it is the Marine Corps that is best prepared to face them down. From humanitarian relief efforts to combat operations, from the air, on land, and sea in every clime and place, Marines answer our nation's call.

Few have what it takes to become Marines, and our emblem, the "Eagle, Globe, and Anchor," is a symbol of the entire Corps, its history, its legacy, traditions, valor, and self-sacrifice.

Our emblem bonds us together as Marines. No matter our age difference, or our wars, or even when we went through boot camp because it is earned, the right to wear the Marine Corps emblem is something that no one can take away from a Marine -- it is ours forever.

Semper Fi!

Tom Correa

1 comment:

  1. A very good read. Thanks for putting that all together Tom. It's too bad this info isn't taught in boot.

    Semper Fi bro!


Thank you for your comment.