The 7 Most Badass Marine Corps Mottos

History
U.S. Marines with Lima Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, stretch out after physical training on the flight deck of the USS Essex (LHD-2) off the coast of San Diego March 19, 2015.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Elize McKelvey

Marines take pride in our heritage. Every Marine knows the Corps’ motto: Semper Fidelis, and we’re all quick to correct someone when they call us soldiers or sailors.


Nobody ever calls us airmen.

Related: 8 Unbelievable Stories From The Second Battle Of Fallujah »

This pride in the Corps extends to individual units and shows up in crests, unit coins, nicknames, and in unit mottos.

Here are the 7 most badass Marine Corps unit mottos. Prepare to be motivated.

Balls Of The Corps.

3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, also called “The Thundering Third,” is an infantry battalion stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, was a company commander with the unit in 1978.

Retreat Hell.

With a combat record stretching back to World War I, the Camp Pendleton-based 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines is the most decorated battalion in Marine Corps history. The unit’s motto comes from the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I. When a French officer told Capt. Lloyd Williams that his unit should retreat from the defensive line he replied: “Retreat? Hell, we just got here!”

Make peace or die.

Another infantry battalion with 5th Marines, the battalion has served in every single major conflict the United States has been involved in since it was formed in 1914.

God fights on the side with the best artillery.

While the motto for 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines is officially “Semper Flexibils,” a play on the Corps motto and meaning “Always Flexible,” the artillery unit’s insignia bears the fitting phrase: “God fights on the side with the best artillery. God fights with Third Battalion.”

1/6 HARD.

The Camp Lejeune, North Carolina-based infantry unit, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines served in World War I at the Battle of Belleau Wood, fought at Guadalcanal and Tarawa during World War II, and served in the Global War on Terror, seeing combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mors Ex Tenebris: Death From Darkness.

Known as “the bats,” Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, or VMFA(AW-242), is  based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. When the unit began fielding F/A-18D Hornets, which specialize in night attacks, this gave way to the motto, “death from darkness.”

Always faithful, always forward.

A fitting motto for the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, which bestowed the moniker of “Marine Raider” on its subordinate combat units in commemoration of the legendary Marine Raiders of World War II.

In this June 16, 2018 photo, Taliban fighters greet residents in the Surkhroad district of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan. (Associated Press/Rahmat Gul)

While the U.S. military wants to keep roughly 8,600 troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban's deputy leader has just made clear that his group wants all U.S. service members to leave the country as part of any peace agreement.

"The withdrawal of foreign forces has been our first and foremost demand," Sirajuddin Haqqani wrote in a story for the New York Times on Thursday.

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U.S. soldiers inspect the site where an Iranian missile hit at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province, Iraq January 13, 2020. (REUTERS/John Davison)

In the wee hours of Jan. 8, Tehran retaliated over the U.S. killing of Iran's most powerful general by bombarding the al-Asad air base in Iraq.

Among the 2,000 troops stationed there was U.S. Army Specialist Kimo Keltz, who recalls hearing a missile whistling through the sky as he lay on the deck of a guard tower. The explosion lifted his body - in full armor - an inch or two off the floor.

Keltz says he thought he had escaped with little more than a mild headache. Initial assessments around the base found no serious injuries or deaths from the attack. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, "All is well!"

The next day was different.

"My head kinda felt like I got hit with a truck," Keltz told Reuters in an interview from al-Asad air base in Iraq's western Anbar desert. "My stomach was grinding."

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A U.S. military vehicle runs a Russian armored truck off the road in Syria near the Turkish border town of Qamishli (Video screencap)

A video has emerged showing a U.S. military vehicle running a Russian armored truck off the road in Syria after it tried to pass an American convoy.

Questions still remain about the incident, to include when it occurred, though it appears to have taken place on a stretch of road near the Turkish border town of Qamishli, according to The War Zone.

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.

Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.

Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.

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A cup of coffee during "tea time" discussions between the U.S. Air Force and Japanese Self-Defense Forces at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 14, 2018 (Air Force photo / Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

Survival expert and former Special Air Service commando Edward "Bear" Grylls made meme history for drinking his own urine to survive his TV show, Man vs. Wild. But the United States Air Force did Bear one better recently, when an Alaska-based airman peed in an office coffee maker.

While the circumstances of the bladder-based brew remain a mystery, the incident was written up in a newsletter written by the legal office of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on February 13, a base spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose.

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