Principles & Values

Throughout our proud history, the Marine Corps has filled its ranks only with those who held themselves to the highest of standards of character. Guiding every action, assisting every decision, these are the principles and values every Marine embraces.

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.


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.


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.


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.

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.