Toward the end of my career, while I was serving at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, one of our Corps’ premiere, showcase installations, we hosted an official visit by the Commandant of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Marine Corps. It’s no secret that the ROK Marines closely emulate their US comrades in arms, and have since the dawn of their existence in 1949. The ROK Marine Commandant had come to San Diego to observe recruit training. In particular, he had come to witness the transformational innovations implemented by our 31st Commandant, General C.C. Krulak—a Carolina Marine. Our guest was visibly impressed. As he witnessed “the Crucible,” the physically, mentally, and emotionally grueling ordeal, the culminating challenge our recruits were surmounting in order to earn the title, Marine, he was intrigued by the willingness of these young Americans to put themselves to such a test. But the absolute highlight of his visit occurred as the ROK Marine Commandant toured our command museum and observed our recruits eagerly imbibing the history, customs, and courtesies of an organization older than the nation these young Americans had pledged to defend. At this point, our guest was more than impressed, he was moved to tears. “We are a young Marine Corps,” he observed. “Our history is not as long or illustrious as yours. It is clear that these young men, so deeply inspired by the examples of those who have gone before them, are conscious of the obligations that come with the privilege of serving as Marines. This is a beautiful thing to witness. My wish for our Marine Corps is that we will one day celebrate our proud history as meaningfully and respectfully as you do yours.”
That is why we are committed to building the Museum of the Marine, a monumental labor of love, lest we forget, lest we lose sight of the many extraordinary sacrifices and contributions of the Carolina Marines and their Sea Service comrades to the success of our Corps in the defense of our nation since the Second World War. Ours is an inspiring story told nowhere else. Ours is a magnificent, focused subset of a larger story spanning over two centuries. The many significant innovations and achievements of the Carolina Marines, in peacetime and in war, are truly legendary. And the stories of the host communities that have stood by their Marines and Sailors and their families are every bit as inspiring.
Borrowing from the Korean Commandant, our sincere commitment is that our Museum of the Marine will one day celebrate the proud history of the Carolina Marines as meaningfully and respectfully as they deserve. We invite you to join us in this quest. Long Live the Legends!
John B. Sollis
Chairman, Board of Directors