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Congress, be Semper Fi: Why the Navy Department needs a new name

chicagotribune.com

April 5, 2010

Here are four of the military services in which a patriotic American can enlist: Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Here is a list of the branches whose highest-ranking officers compose the Joints Chiefs of Staff: Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

And here is a list of the Executive Departments representing those service branches: Army, Air Force, Navy.

Notice anything missing?

The Marines never get overlooked when it's time to fight a war. But somehow they got left at the dock when the Department of the Navy was christened.

There's a reason for that: Though they operate as a separate branch of the military, the Marines began as naval infantry aboard ships during the Revolutionary War, and they still fall under the jurisdiction of the Navy Department.

There's nothing wrong with this policy as a matter of governmental organization. But it is hard to understand why the departmental name omits a service that is over 200,000 strong and plays such a central and risky role in conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just as important as what the measure would do is what it would not do. It would not change anything in the structure of the services. It would not give the Marine Corps greater autonomy or more money. It would not affect the outcome of the Army-Navy game.

Updating the name is all the legislation would accomplish. That's reason enough. As Jones says, "It is about showing the nation the true meaning of the Department and recognizing the overall importance of the Marine Corps to our national security."

Marines live by the credo "Semper Fidelis," Latin for "always faithful." Congress, here's your chance to return the pledge: Americans have always taken great pride in the Corps. This name change would be a great way to show that.

To view the above article on the Chicago Tribune website, click here.

   



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