General Knowledge

Marine Corps Emblem

The basic design of the emblem was officially adopted in 1868. It is a symbolic representation which Americans, both civilian and military, immediately identify as "Marine". Prior to 1868, the Marines wore various emblems based mainly on the spread eagle and fouled anchor. In 1868, the seventh Commandant, General Zeilin, decided on a single, distinctive emblem centered around the globe.

The emblem represents what we stand for, our past, and our future. There are three basic components of the Marine Corps emblem:

Anchor. The first part of the emblem is the anchor. It is not just a plain anchor but a "fouled" anchor. The anchor emphasizes the close ties of the Marine Corps with the U.S. Navy.

Globe. Emphasizing the close ties between the U.S. Marine Corps and the British Royal Marines, the idea of a globe as part of the emblem was borrowed from the emblem of the Royal Marines. However, the Royal Marines' emblem shows the Eastern Hemisphere, whereas the U.S. Marine Corps' emblem shows the Western Hemisphere. This was only natural since the United States is located in the Western Hemisphere and many of the early Marine combat operations and noncombatant duties were in the Western Hemisphere. Today, of course, the globe can also symbolize the "global" Marine Corps commitments and area responsibilities which have evolved in the 20th century.

Eagle. The third part of the emblem is the eagle. The eagle is the national symbol of the United States, and is the one part of the emblem which readily identifies the Marine Corps with the United States. The eagle proudly carries a streamer in its beak which bears the motto of the Corps, "Semper Fidelis."

Marine Corps Seal On 22 June 1954, President Eisenhower signed Executive Order 105.38 "Establishing a Seal for the United States Marine Corps". General Lemuel C. Shepard, Jr., 20th Commandant designed the seal which consists of the Marine Corps emblem in bronze, the eagle holding in its beak a scroll inscribed, "Semper Fidelis," against a scarlet and blue background, encircled by the words, "Department of the Navy - Unites States Marine Corps."