Commandant of the Marine Corps'
2003 Birthday Message
year we celebrate the 228th anniversary of the founding of our Corps.
As always, it is an occasion for remembrance, proud traditions, and
joyful camaraderie. The events of the past year have called for great
sacrifices from many Marines and their families. While the Global War
on Terrorism will continue to demand the best from each of us, it is
important that we join with our fellow Marines, families and friends to
celebrate our Corps' special culture and unique warrior ethos.
This past year, Marines demonstrated once again that
they are the most important entity on any battlefield. Lethal weapons
and advanced technologies provide us unique advantages, but educated
warriors ultimately determine victory in combat—not machines. During
Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM, our small-unit leaders'
skills, adaptability and flexibility produced victory on uncertain and
at times chaotic battlefields. We proved once again the power of
integrated ground-air-logistics teams as well as the importance of
every Marine being first and foremost a rifleman.
Our special spirit is evident not only in battle; it
is evident in the faithful performance of demanding duties by countless
Marines at home and abroad. Every Marine makes a vital contribution to
the ability of our Corps to project and sustain credible combat power.
Moreover, the willingness and readiness of all Marines to accept and
accomplish any mission is central to our success and a hallmark of our
The culture that defines the Marine Corps is nurtured
by our traditions. In celebrating our heritage, we strengthen the
linkage to a glorious history and recommit ourselves to upholding the
standards and values given to us by past generations.
In commemorating our 228th anniversary, remain true to
the spirit of the occasion. Reflect on our fallen with deep respect,
observe our traditions with justifiable pride, take care of one
another, and of course, celebrate those special bonds that exist among
United States Marines.
Birthday Marines, Semper Fidelis, and keep attacking!
M. W. Hagee
General, U.S. Marine Corps