When Samuel Nicholas was tasked with raising two battalions of Marines in Philadelphia, he knew just where to go: a bar.
Nicholas headed to Tun Tavern that fateful Nov. 10 in 1775, and — so the traditional story goes — the Continental Marines were born.
Two hundred forty-eight years later, Tun Tavern is gone, but the Marine Corps is still around.
Happy birthday, Marines. Before you head out to your local birthday ball, celebrate with this roundup of some of the great things Marines have done since turning 247.
Marines step up in malls, embassies and Chick-fil-As
In December 2022, Marine recruiter Staff Sgt. Josue Fragoso and applicant Scott Elliott were going through paperwork in a California mall when they heard glass shattering. They proceeded to nab two suspects who apparently were in the middle of a smash-and-grab heist of the mall’s jewelry store.
In April, three Marines who had recently graduated from Marine embassy security training at Quantico, Virginia, broke up a fight during a lunchtime excursion to a nearby Chick-fil-A. One of the Marines, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Dural, managed to break an alleged assailant’s knife in half.
Then Dural went to get a haircut — and didn’t tell his barber what had just happened.
“I try to be as humble as possible,” he told Marine Corps Times.
Speaking of Marine security guards: Lance Cpl. Eduardo Galicia used his medical training to save the life of a local guard in Georgetown, Guyana, who was suffering from an apparent heart attack in July.
Lance Cpl. Joshua Diaz in May used his own medical training to save a woman and her three children after he happened upon their crashed car in North Carolina.
Marines honored by Navy secretary for Sudan evacuation
When deadly fighting broke out in Sudan on April 15, 12 Marine security guards stationed in the capital of Khartoum sprang into action. Over the ensuing week, they worked long hours keeping the embassy staff safe and preparing for the ensuing evacuation.
“All the Marines, we took care of each other that entire (time),” Sgt. Alonzo Longstreet told Marine Corps Times. “All of us made sure that we had a sense of humor. We were always there for each other. Some of us were cooking meals for each other. It was a full-team effort.”
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro in May personally awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal to detachment commander Staff Sgt. Derek Ferrari, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals to the remaining 11 Marines.
Marines in space
Lt. Col. Jasmin Moghbeli, originally a AH-1 Super Cobra pilot, made her first trip into space as a mission commander of SpaceX Crew-7 in August.
Moghbeli’s trip to the International Space Station came just months after Col. Nicole Mann returned to Earth from a stint at the station.
“Having that foundation as a Marine to know, you can physically push through, you can mentally push through, that’s really prepared me for all this training that I have at NASA and preparing for a flight into space,” Mann, who started out as an F/A-18 Hornet pilot, said in an interview with Marine Corps Times in August 2022.
Obstacle course is no obstacle for 4-foot-7-inch Marine
The 4-foot-7-inch Pfc. Nathaniel Laprade made it through boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, in September, becoming possibly the shortest U.S. service member ever.
Many of the obstacles in the obstacle course were taller than Laprade, but he made it over without much trouble. He just had to jump a little higher, he said.
Laprade said of his peers in boot camp, “I think they kind of looked up to me in a way. I had one recruit, now a Marine, who told me that I was his motivation.”
During his enlistment process, Laprade heard from recruiters about Richard Flaherty, a 4-foot-9-inch Green Beret who became known as the “Giant Killer” for his service in Vietnam.
“The main part that inspired me was that he was Army and 4 foot 9 inches,” Laprade said. “If I go Marines when I’m 4 foot 7 inches, I will beat him in two ways.”
18 Marines become citizens aboard a battleship
Eighteen Marines from 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, became citizens of the country they serve in a December 2022 naturalization ceremony on a decommissioned battleship in North Carolina.
The Marines hail from 14 different countries across five continents, according to the Marine Corps.
“They have already raised their hands and committed to defending this nation, without even being U.S. citizens,” Lt. Col. William Kerrigan, the Marines’ commanding officer, said. “Now that they have earned their citizenship, I’m excited to see where it takes them.”
Corporal gives impromptu speech, gets impromptu promotion
Then-Cpl. Peyton Nott, a motor transport Marine, was already having a whirlwind of a day.
While in the field at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in July, he received an unexpected Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal from the then-acting Marine commandant.
Then, when Gen. Eric Smith asked Nott to say some words to the Marines from his battery, Nott more than delivered. He gave an off-the-cuff speech about the importance of looking out for each other and leaving behind a good legacy, because “we’re all going to be six feet down one day.”
“You never really understand the true meaning of life unless you understand that you can plant strong roots without ever sitting under the shade of that tree,” Nott recalled telling the Marines.
Smith was so moved by Nott’s speech and accomplishments that he promoted the corporal to sergeant on the spot.
“I’m all out of words now,” the newly promoted sergeant told his Marines.
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.