Gen. David H. Berger

Gen. David H. Berger, 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps.

This year, the Marine Corps celebrates 244 years of warfighting excellence and uncommon valor. United States Marines define the world's image of elite warrior-citizens. We take great pride in the legacy built by those who came before us and in carrying that legacy into the future. Capabilities, battlefields, and adversaries change, and Marines continue to adapt to every challenge - prepared to fight and win wherever and whenever our nation calls. What does not change is the Marine spirit- a warrior spirit rooted in our core values.

The strength of our Corps is our Marines. Our success depends on all Marines embodying the values in which our Corps was founded; it requires leveraging the talents and ingenuity of every Marine to strengthen our Corps. Since 1775, courageous Marines have answered the call to fight for freedom and shaped our reputation as the most feared fighting force the world has seen. Marines from each generation approached every battle with a lethal combination of versatility, perseverance and adaptability that has allowed us to prevail in any clime and place.

Throughout the 244-year history of the Marine Corps, our nation has required Marines to adapt capabilities and fighting styles to defeat adversaries in all domains. The Marines who took to the seas with naval counterparts to combat the Barbary Pirates solidified our role as a naval expeditionary force in-readiness. World War I saw Marines fighting sustained land campaigns and returning from those battles to immediately begin redesigning how to go to war. Those innovations laid the foundation for the amphibious landings of World War II. Combat operations in Korea and Vietnam brought harsh climates and unforgiving terrains that again forced Marines to adapt and overcome. In Iraq and Afghanistan, urban battlefields and counterinsurgency tactics demanded innovations in warfighting strategies and capabilities. Today, we find ourselves once again facing new and evolving threats in different operational environments. Like our predecessors, we will move forward with the lessons learned from past conflicts while redesigning the force and innovating for future conflict with any adversary who dares to fight.

Marines, congratulations on 244 years of excellence. Like the first birthday message published by 13th Commandant General John Lejeune in 1921, this message serves as a reminder of the legacy we are charged with upholding. Today is our day to celebrate our heritage and to honor the sacrifices of those who fought before us. It is also a day to recommit ourselves to our core values and resolutely pursue the strength of character that defines United States Marines. And it is a day to look toward future battlefields, to prepare to uphold the distinguished warfighting legacy of our predecessors wherever our nation calls.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

David H. Berger

General, U.S. Marine Corps

Commandant of the

Marine Corps