The Marine Corps League was founded by Major General Commandant, John A. Lejeune, in 1923 and chartered by an Act of Congress on August 4, 1937. Its membership of nearly 50,000 is comprised of honorably discharged, active duty and Reserve Marines with 90 days of service or more, and retired Marines. It includes officer, enlisted, male and female members.
The Marine Corps League is headed by an elected National Commandant, with 14 elected national staff officers who serve as trustees. Day to day operations are under the control of the Chief Operations Officer who supervises the day-to-day performance of the national headquarters staff, located at 3619 Jefferson Davis Hwy Suite 115, Stafford, VA 22554
The prime authority of the League is derived from its charter and from its annual national convention held in August in different major U. S. cities throughout the nation. The National Commandant has operational control over the National Headquarters staff and the National Board of Trustees, who in turn coordinate the efforts of 45 department, or State entities, and the activities of over 780 community-based detachments located throughout the United States and overseas.
The League is classified as a military service organization and was formed for the purposes of promoting the interests of the U. S. Marine Corps; to provide camaraderie and assistance to Marines, as well as to their widows and orphans; and to preserve the traditions of the U. S. Marine Corps. It is a not for profit organization within the provisions of Internal Revenue Service Code 50l(c)4, with a special group exemption letter which allows for contributions to the Marine Corps League, its Auxiliary and subsidiary units, to be tax deductible by the donor.
League members participate in:
The Veterans Administration Voluntary Service Program, an assistance program for hospitalized veterans, A national service program, which provides assistance to veterans in a wide area of matters relating to their military service.
The League also:
- Awards scholarships
- Sponsors a National Youth Physical Fitness Program.
- Provides membership incentives.
- Participates in patriotic functions and provides representation to the U. S. Congress in legislative matters affecting the U. S. Marine Corps, national security and veterans benefits through its National Legislative Committee and its National Legislative Officer.
Incorporated by an act of Congress in 1937, the Marine Corps League perpetuates the traditions and spirit of ALL Marines who proudly wear or who have worn the eagle, globe and anchor of the Corps.
The mission of the Marine Corps League is to promote the interest and to preserve traditions of the United States Marine Corps; strengthen the fraternity of Marines and their families; serve Marines, FMF Corpsmen, and FMF Chaplains who wear or who have worn the Eagle, Globe and Anchor; and foster th ideals of Americanism and patriotic volunteerism.
Marine Corps League - What's That?
The League is an organization of U.S. Marines. It is composed of Marines and former Marines with Honorable service. It aims to perpetuate the traditions and spirit of the U.S. Marine Corps through the continuous association of Marines who served under the Globe and Anchor at any time, in war or peace.
The only membership qualification is honorable service, in excess of 90 days in the Marines. This means that, regardless of rank held, regardless of when or where a Marine served, regardless of what division or wing he may or may not have served with, that Marine male, or female is welcome in the Marine Corps League.
A common trait of League members is the spirit of Semper Fidelis, the spirit of being “always faithful” to the Country, The Corps, and to their fellow marines, inservice and out. So deep is this ingrained in members that, long after most have hung up the uniform for the last time, they still dare to call each other “Marine”. Each seems to hold the League slogan as a personal truth, that of “Once a Marine-Always a Marine.”
Being a Marine is what it’s all about. John A. Lejeune, who founded the Marine Corps League in 1923, put this first above all else. Although he was the Major General Commandant of the Corps, a decorated hero of the First World War, and the former Commanding General of the victorious Second Army Division, he said his first claim to fame was, ” I am a Marine!” All his other attainments came farther down the list. There was nothing more important to him.
The U.S. Congress felt that the purposes of the Marine Corps League were so valid that in 1937 it granted the League a federal charter.
League members know a special bond of comradeship unique to those who have worn the Marine Emblem. The members look after one another and assist the widows and orphans of their Marines. They observe national holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans day, and days of special interest to Marines like “the Birthday,” the landing at Guadalcanal, Inchon, and DaNang, the anniversary of the flag raising at Iwo Jima, and the day the Fourth Marine Brigade entered Belleau Wood.
Auxiliary members help carry out the purposes of the League. Their members as well as Leaguers may be seen almost any day in the wards of our veterans hospitals, visiting the sick and wounded under their volunteer program. Both assist our veterans with rehabilitation work, too, and their trained service workers often assist Marines in obtaining their veterans rights.
Perhaps the Marine Corps League performs its most important service on the local level through programs of benefit to the communities. Many detachments, recognizing the need, embark on special programs to help advance their towns and cities. Others have adopted on the League’s national youth programs, the Young Marines, or the Youth Physical Fitness. These programs seek the mental, moral, and physical development of our youngsters.
The Marine Corps has continuously stood in the forefront or our country. The Marine Corps Leagues stands at the forefront, too serving in our hospitals, helping our communities, working with our youth, and assisting our Marines and veterans. Its members realize some of the greatest rewards of life, those of friendship and the sense of individual and group fulfillment.
Should you join the Marine Corps League? If you’re a Marine, the answer is “Yes!” because you are needed in the ranks.
League Membership Entitlements
- Subscription to the Marine Corps League Magazine, "Semper Fi"
- MCL lapel pin
- Participation in League affairs
- Vote at the national conventions
- Representation in legislative matters
- Unique “gung-ho” merchandise
- That those now serving in the Marine Corps and those who have been honorably discharged or retired, together in fellowship, may effectively promote the ideals of American freedom and democracy.
- That, by fitting acts, they observe the anniversaries of historical occasions of peculiar interest to Marines, such as the Marine Corps birthday and decoration of Marine Graves.