Today is the 245th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. In honor of this anniversary, we present five legendary Marines and their awesome quotes.

Dan Daly: Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?

Standing about 5’ 6” tall and weighing maybe 135 pounds, Dan Daly didn’t necessarily look the part of a badass. But Daly was one of only nineteen men (including seven Marines) to have received the Medal of Honor twice. He joined the Corps in January, 1899, expecting to see action during the Spanish-American War, but the war ended before he had finished his training. He was awarded his first Medal in1900, during the Boxer Rebellion in China, when he single-handedly defended his position against repeated attacks, and inflicted casualties of around 200 on the attacking Boxers. Fifteen years later, he received his second Medal of Honor came fifteen years later while fighting in Haiti to support the government there. On the night of October 24, 1915, in the Battle of Fort Dipitie, Daly was part of a group of around 40 Marines ambushed by a force of approximately 400 insurgents. Daly almost one a third MOH in World War I for his part in a counterattack against the enemy in the famous Battle of Belleau Wood. It was during that firefight that he supposedly shouted his immortal words.

John Basilone: “Never fear your enemy but always respect them”

On the night of October 24, 1942, in the jungles of Guadalcanal, then-Sgt. John Basilone was commanding two heavy .30-caliber machine gun sections from First Battalion, Seventh Marines, tasked with holding a narrow pass at the Tenaru River.

Suddenly a Japanese regiment numbering 3,000 men attacked the small group of Marines hammering them with grenades and mortar fire. When one of the machine guns was disabled from enemy fire, Basilone ran to the silenced gun pit covering about 200 yards, killing enemy soldiers with his Colt. 45 pistol – and all while carrying about 90 pounds of weaponry and ammunition. During the height of the battle, Basilone lost his asbestos glove, forcing him to barehand the searing barrel of his machine gun. By the time reinforcements arrived, only Basilone and two other Marines were left standing. Basilone used his crews’ machine guns, his pistol and a machete to kill at least 38 enemy soldiers by himself. Basilone returned to battle in February 1945, to storm Red Beach on Iwo Jima, leading his gunners up the steep black sand. Just minutes after destroying a Japanese blockhouse, Basilone and four members of his platoon were killed when an enemy artillery shell exploded. He was just 28 years old.

Chesty Puller: “We’re surrounded. That simplifies things.”

Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller was one of the most decorated Marine in history, and the only Marine to receive five Navy Crosses. He led Marines in some of the bloodiest battles of World War II, including Guadalcanal and Peleliu. It was during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War when he made the famous statement: “We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. That simplifies things.”

Puller coined a number of excellent phrases including his personal motto “Lead by example.” There were no officers’ messes in Puller’s outfit and he fell in line with the privates, carrying his own mess gear. Puller’s leadership style is one of the reasons Marine Corps officers in the field to this day never eat until the enlisted men have been served.

Smedley Butler: “There are only two reasons why you should ever be asked to give your youngsters. One is defense of our homes. The other is the defense of our Bill of Rights and particularly the right to worship God as we see fit.

Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, nicknamed “Old Gimlet Eye”, served in several major world conflicts, including the Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War, the Boxer Rebellion, and World War I. During his time in service, Butler became known for his bravery and relentless leadership in battle. He received his first Medal of Honor during the Spanish-American War, and his second as Commanding Officer of detachments of Marines and seamen of the USS Connecticut in repulsing Caco resistance on Fort Riviere, Haiti. During World War I, he commanded the 13th Regiment in France. For exceptionally meritorious service, he was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, and the French Order of the Black Star. After 33 years of service, Butler retired and in 1935 wrote a scathing exposé of the military-industrial establishment titled “War Is A Racket.” His words seem particularly timely even 65 years later.

Kyle Carpenter: “Circumstances may be bad, but you are not your circumstances, and the way you choose to ride them out will set the tone for everything that follows.”

Kyle Carpenter is the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient. He earned the award in Marjah, Afghanistan on Nov. 21, 2010, when he jumped on an enemy grenade that was hurled onto his rooftop security position, saving the life of another Marine by absorbing most of the blast. Carpenter spent five weeks in a coma, and endured 71 different procedures through 41 different surgeries. He lost his right eye and had to relearn how to stand, walk, and put on his own socks. But Carpenter not only survived, he has survived. He has run marathons, jumped out of planes, and written a book. In these crazy times, Kyle Carpenter is the inspiration we all need. Kyle once told a journalist, while others may look at life and ask, “Why me?” it’s healthier to look at life and say, “Thank God for today.”

And thank God for the United States Marine Corps!

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