Happy 243 Birthday, U.S. Marine Corps!
For the past 243 years, the United States Marine Corps has protected our Nation on both land and sea. Semper Fidelis, often shortened to Semper Fi, is the motto for the Marine Corps. The phrase, which means always loyal, serves as a constant reminder of their bravery and loyalty to our country. Since their first raid in the 1700s, the Marine Corps has exemplified bravery and honor. As we celebrate their birthday, we also recognize some of the brave Marines who have been awarded our Nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor.
Second Lieutenant John Bobo served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Bobo and his company were planning an ambush when they were suddenly overtaken by a North Vietnamese enemy troops. The North Vietnamese were armed with automatic weapons and mortar fire. Second Lieutenant Bobo immediately organized a quick defense and moved throughout the site to check on his Marines. He soon found a rocket launcher and organized a launcher team. They directed fire towards enemy forces. Sadly, Second Lieutenant Bobo was hit by a mortar shell and his leg was severed below his knee. Refusing to be airlifted, he insisted on being put in a firing position to cover his men as they attempted to move to a better location. Second Lieutenant Bobo’s efforts led to his men finding a protective position where they continued to fight the enemy. While in his firing position, Second Lieutenant Bobo was mortally wounded. He gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country and his Marines safe. For his brave actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1967.
Private First Class Douglas Jacobson fought in one of the bloodiest battles in American history: the Battle of Iwo Jima. Jacobson and his platoon were immediately under attack as they landed on the island but they fought towards the summit of Hill 382 to reach the heart of the Japanese defense. When his platoon was halted, he first destroyed two hostile machinegun positions and then attacked a large blockhouse, completely neutralizing the fortification before dispatching the five-man crew of a second pillbox and exploding the installation with a terrific demolitions blast. He kept moving forward, killing enemy soldiers and making sure that American forces occupied the strong point of the hill. Ultimately, Private First Class Jacobson killed 75 enemy soldiers and destroyed 16 enemy positions. His brave actions led him to the Medal ofHonor in October 1945.
Private First Class James Anderson Jr. joined the Marines after a short time in junior college. He was quickly reassigned to undergo special training thatwould prepare him for his time in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, Private First Class Anderson’s company was advancing into a dense jungle in an effort to extract a heavily besieged reconnaissance patrol. His company had only advanced 200 feet when they found themselves under heavy fire. The platoon came together and returned fire. They advanced as best they could and found themselves less than 70 feet from the enemy position. As the fight continued, several men were wounded by the assault. Suddenly, a grenade was thrown into the group of men moving forward. Without hesitation, Private First Class Anderson grabbed the grenade and pulled it towards his body as it went off. His heroism saved countless soldiers from injury and death. For his heroism, valor and extreme self-sacrifice, Private First Class Anderson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He was the first African-American Marine to be awarded this extreme honor. In addition to the Medal of Honor, an acquired ship was named after Private First Class Anderson in 1983 to honor and recognize his service and sacrifice.
These brave men are just three of the over 300 Marines who have received the Medal of Honor, and only a fraction of the thousands of men and women who have served our country in the United States Marine Corps. Today we recognize all Marines and the entire Marine Corps organization for their commitment to the safety of our country and for putting service above self.