Marine Corps Slogans

Semper Fi

The Marine Corps adopted the motto "Semper Fidelis" in 1883. Prior to that date three mottoes, all traditional rather than official, were used. The first of these, antedating the War of 1812, was "Fortitudine." The Latin phrase for "with courage," it was emblazoned on the brass shako plates worn by Marines during the Federal period. The second motto was "By Sea and by Land," taken from the British Royal Marines "Per Mare, Per Terram." Until 1848, the third motto was "To the shores of Tripoli." Inscribed on the Marine Corps colors, this commemorated Presley O'Bannon's capture of the city of Derne in 1805. In 1848, this was revised to "From the halls of the Montezumas to the shores of Tripoli."

"Semper Fidelis" signifies the dedication that individual Marines have to "Corps and country," and to their fellow Marines. It is a way of life. Said one former Marine, "It is not negotiable. It is not relative, but absolute...Marines pride themselves on their mission and steadfast dedication to accomplish it.

Ooh Rah

Ooh Rah is a battle cry common in the United States Marine Corps since the mid-20th century. The term means "charge". It is comparable to hooah in the US Army and hooyah in the US Navy and US Coast Guard. It is most commonly used to respond to a verbal greeting or as an expression of motivation.

Leathernecks

In 1776, the Naval Committee of the Second Continental Congress prescribed new uniform regulations. Marine uniforms were to consist of green coats with buff white facings, buff breeches and black gaiters. Also mandated was a leather stock to be worn by officers and enlisted men alike. This leather collar served to protect the neck against cutlass slashes and to hold the head erect in proper military bearing. Sailors serving aboard ship with Marines came to call them "leathernecks."

Use of the leather stock was retained until after the Civil War when it was replaced by a strip of black glazed leather attached to the inside front of the dress uniform collar. The last vestiges of the leather stock can be seen in today's modern dress uniform, which features a stiff cloth tab behind the front of the collar.

The term "leatherneck" transcended the actual use of the leather stock and became a common nickname for United States Marines.

Devil Dogs

In the Belleau Wood fighting in 1918, the Germans received a thorough indoctrination in the fighting ability of the Marines. Fighting through supposedly impenetrable woods and capturing supposedly untakeable terrain, the persistent attacks, delivered with unbelievable courage soon had the Germans calling Marines "Teufelhunde," referring to the fierce fighting dogs of legendary origin. Ooohhh Raaah!

Jarhead

A slang term used by sailors as early as World War II to refer to members of the Marine Corps, drawing the term from the resemblance of the Marine dress blues uniform, with its high collar, to a Mason jar.