Principles & Values

Honor, courage and commitment are the values that guide us—Semper Fidelis is the motto that bonds us.
To guard our nation is to guard its principles, becoming not only an elite warrior, but also a noble one.

Semper Fidelis

Semper Fidelis distinguishes the Marine Corps bond from any other. It goes beyond teamwork—it is a brotherhood that can always be counted on. Latin for "always faithful," Semper Fidelis became the Marine Corps motto in 1883. It guides Marines to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to country, no matter what. Becoming a Marine is a transformation that cannot be undone, and Semper Fidelis is a permanent reminder of that. Once made, a Marine will forever live by the ethics and values of the Corps. In addition to Semper Fidelis, Marine Corps Officers also embrace the phrase Ductos Exemplo, "to lead by example," the motto of Officer Candidates School (OCS). Instructors look for candidates who display self-reliance, discipline and responsibility. Desire and motivation to lead Marines are deciding factors in an officer's success.

Between Marines

In the Marine Corps, traveling the path of selflessness is not a journey made alone. Once a Marine, Always a Marine means those who earn the Eagle, Globe and Anchor are forever connected to our family of warriors—while in uniform or long afterward. Starting the day young men and women first earn our title and the right to call themselves Marines, they take their place in an extremely proud heritage, and will remain part of it forever. Ours is a family that looks after its own in every way. Your title is your membership into a brotherhood of warriors. Those who stand by you in battle will never leave your side. Semper Fidelis means always faithful, and always able to count on your fellow Marines—while in the Marine Corps and for a lifetime. 

To Marines

Every Marine makes a commitment to our nation. In return, the Marine Corps makes an equal commitment to every Marine: we will protect our own by continuing to improve the quality of life for our Marines and their families. Those who earn our title also earn our commitment. Marines are superbly trained for the missions that define the Corps. Off the battlefield, the Marine Corps provides financial support and educational opportunities to help Marines achieve the American Dream they help to defend. Semper Fidelis is a pact that has no expiration. As much as service in the Marine Corps ensures the future of our nation, it also creates a better future for those who serve. 

To our Nation

The Marine Corps exists to ensure the future of our nation. Therefore, we must not only build outstanding warriors, but upstanding citizens as well. We make Marines capable of making a difference—for our nation and themselves. While in uniform and while in the community, Marines live by our core values—honor, courage and commitment. For those who wish to serve their country and their communities, the path of honor beckons brightly. From Fortune 500 Company CEOs to famous public figures and prominent members of society everywhere, many attribute their success to the solid foundation instilled in the Marine Corps. The courage, self-confidence and leadership gained in the Marine Corps have a lasting effect on our Marines and the communities they serve.

 

Core Values

Honor, courage and commitment, the core values of the Marines, define how every Marine in the Corps thinks, acts and fights. Throughout the austere battlefields of the 21st Century, every Marine in the Corps must be confident they can rely on each other to think, act and lead. In the chaos of battle, character matters.

Commitment to the Corps

Commitment to the Corps

 

Marines pledge themselves completely to the Constitution of the United States. From the day they first raise their hand and throughout their honorable service, the oath every Marine takes is a promise and a reminder of their commitment to defend our nation and its interests.

I, [Name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Orders of the Officers appointed over me, according to the regulations and the uniform code of military justice.  So help me God.

Marines pledge themselves completely to the Constitution of the United States. From the day they first raise their hand and throughout their honorable service, the oath every Marine takes is a promise and a reminder of their commitment to defend our nation and its interests.

I, [Name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which i am about to enter. So help me God.

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Honor

A code of personal integrity, honor guides those who do the right thing when no one is looking. It is not only a duty, but also a distinction, as those who possess honor are held in honor. It's found in one's beliefs, but exhibited through one's actions. Marines are held to the highest of standards, ethically and morally. Marines are expected to act responsibly in a manner befitting the title they've earned.

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Courage

When other principles are tested, it's courage that prevents them from crumbling. It isn't ignoring fear, but being stronger than fear. Courage is the guardian of all other values. It is there when times are toughest, when difficult decisions have to be made.  It takes the form of mental, physical and ethical strength, and is found in the backbone of every Marine.

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Commitment

Commitment is the spirit of determination found in every Marine. It is what compels Marines to serve our nation and the Corps, and to continue on when others quit. Commitment doesn't take breaks and it cannot be faked. It measures and proves one's desire, dedication and faithfulness. Becoming a United States Marine represents the highest level of commitment.

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Ductus Exemplo

Marines put honor, courage and commitment to the test with Ductus Exemplo, Latin for "Lead by Example." These core principles aren't just taught at recruit training—they're embodied everyday by Marine leaders. On and off the battlefield, absolute trust in Corps leadership helps all Marines decisively and effectively face down the threats of our time.