Washington’s Marines: A History of the Marine Corps
Most Marines know the history of the Marine Corps from boot camp or Officer Candidate School. These raw recruits or officer candidates shout “Tun Tavern” and “Samuel Nicholas” at screaming drill instructors. But, what happened at Tun Tavern in 1775? Who was Samuel Nicholas? Most Marines do not know that he was technically not the first commandant. In this podcast interview, General Jason Q. Bohm (Maj. Gen., USMC) tells the definitive story of the Marine Corps’ origins.
General Bohm is the author of a recently published book entitled Washington’s Marines The Origins of the Corps and the American Revolution 1775- 1777. In this interview, we discuss why and how the Marine Corps was founded on November 10, 1775. General Bohm explains that General Washington did not initially support the Marines. However, the Marines played a pivotal role during the “Ten Crucial Days.” This was the period from December 25, 1776, through January 3, 1777. It included key battles at Trenton, Assunpink Creek, and Princeton. The Marines’ heroic actions and fighting spirit helped General Washington during one of the lowest points of the Revolutionary War. Furthermore, it firmly established the Marines’ reputation as America’s premiere fighting force.
- The Marines were supposed to be used for a naval campaign against the British in Halifax, Nova Scotia. General Bohm tells us why it never happened.
- Samuel Nicholas. We know him as our first commandant. Was he really commandant though? Who was this Philadelphia Quaker?
- Recruiting and retention. Who were the young men that came to Tun Tavern? And why Tun Tavern?
- The first Marine Corps deployment was to the Bahamas. Sounds like a nice deployment! But did the Marines know anything about amphibious operations in March 1776?
- The New York campaign and the events that led to the Continental Armies’ low point in December 1776.
- The “Ten Crucial Days” included the Battles of Trenton, Assunpink Creek, and Princeton. The Marines played a critical role in helping Washington’s army snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
- Implications for the current Marine Corps. What lessons can we learn from our Marine forefathers?
General Bohm’s book is a must-read for all Marines to learn about the history of their Corps. For Americans, it is an important reminder of the courage and sacrifice of the Revolutionary War heroes, who fought for America’s independence.
About the Author
General Jason Q. Bohm (Mag. Gen., USMC) is a Marine Corps infantryman with over 30 years of experience. General Bohm has served at every level from platoon commander to commanding general. His past assignments include strategic planner with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Director of the Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfighting School (EWS). He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing as well as master’s degrees in military studies and in national security studies. General Bohm has written award-winning articles for the Marine Corps Gazette. He is also the author of From the Cold War to ISIL: One Marine’s Journey (Naval Institute Press, 2019). Get the book on Amazon.
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