Symbols

Our emblem, our flag, our swords and our uniforms are symbols that represent our illustrious history and our elite warrior class. These symbols connect today's Marines to the entire lineage of warriors who have earned their place among the Few.

EAGLE, GLOBE AND ANCHOR

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.

The Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem has been part of the Marine uniform since 1868 and became the official emblem of the Marine Corps in 1955.

MARINE CORPS FLAG

Marines have carried several different flags since the American Revolution, but today's scarlet standard has been flown since January 1939. The Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem is rendered in gray and gold over the scarlet background. The ribbon flowing from the eagle's beak bears the motto, " Semper Fidelis," and the words "United States Marine Corps" are found on the scroll below. Scarlet and gold were established as the official colors of the Corps as early as 1925, and the Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem has appeared as part of Marine Corps iconography since 1868. In addition to being flown at ceremonies and installations and presented by the All-Marine Color Guard, the Marine Corps flag hangs in the offices of the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

THE SWORD

The oldest weapons still in service in the United States Armed Forces belong to Marines. Today, the swords Marines carry represent the Marine Corps' rich heritage as America's original defenders. Officers carry the Mameluke Sword, which was originally given to Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon in 1805 by a Mameluke chieftain in North Africa. Lt O'Bannon and his Marines marched across 600 miles of North African desert to rid the "shores of Tripoli" of pirates and rescue the kidnapped crew of the USS Philadelphia. By 1825, all Marine Officers carried the Mameluke sword in recognition of this historic battle—the Marine Corps' first on foreign soil.

Adopted in 1859, the NCO Sword is carried by Marine Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs) and Staff Noncommissioned Officers (SNCOs). Used for ceremonial purposes, the M1859 NCO Sword was bestowed to NCOs and SNCOs by the 6th Commandant, Colonel John Harris, in recognition of their leadership in combat.