The following provide a brief library of information about the roots of what has made for the history and traditions of the United States Marine Corps. Not surprisingly a number of them are derived from seafaring sources and would, therefore, also be of interest to our naval readers.

Henry Zeiger's

History of Chase
in Acrobat

"The Seizing of the Santa Maria," copyrighted in 1961, provides Henry Zeiger's detailed reporting of the terrorist pirating of the passeger liner "Santa Maria" by Portugese Army officer Humberto Galvoa, committed in protest of Portugal's then dictatorial regime.

The leftist media of Portugal and others have since been inclined to project Galvoa as something of a patriot and have done much on the internet to provide a very different image of events of the time, now more than fifty years ago.

The United States naval and marine forces taking part in the capture of his terrorist forces, the ship and its 900 passesengers and crew have a very differnt picture of the events as they unfolded.

Thus, only Chapter five [pages 83 through 116] of the text entitled “The Chase” is herewith provided. If interested in reading the full version, paperback addtions are available and recommended.


Excerpts from

Galvao's Text

"Santa Maria: My Crusade for Portugal" was written by Humberto Galvao and provides both elaborate detail of and the rationalizations for his pirating of the "Santa Maria."

As his lengthy explanations are not related to U. S. Naval and Marine Corps history, and given the purpose of this website, only pages reflective of our interests [172-185] are provided. They describe Galvao's emotional and intellectual reactions, his behavior and the tactical actions taken by him and his forces when surrounded by United States naval forces just off the coast of Brazil in early 1961, as well as his negotiations with the U.S. Navy's Admiral Smith.

Those wishing to read more about the episode from Humberto Galvao's perspective and of his pretensious explanations for an act of political terrorism, are directed to purchase a copy of the text.


The Fall of

Barbary Pirates

"Invasion Force Tripolitania" is about an event like Tarawa and Belleau Wood commonly emphasized in our recruit training as being representative of the Corps' long historical role and befitting "Old Corps" labeling.

Much was made of the barbary pirates, First Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon's leadership, the bravery of all concerned against overwhelming odds and O'Bannon's receipt of the Mameluke Sword. It was but one of the many grand presentations conveyed through a booming, baritone voice proclaiming "My name is Staff Sergeant Irons. And I'm here to give you your first lecture on Marine Corps History and Traditions...." OoooRAH!

Well, there was a GREAT deal more to the story and more than a few surprises than you've heard or perhaps have read of before. And, your invited to learn of it and them in this piece written by Ed Shea, in 2006.

Read, learn and enjoy.


Chapter Six

Fighting Temeraire

"The Mutinous Temeraire" is chapter six, pages 131-150, of "The Fighting Temeraire" written by Sam Willis.

The H.M.S. Temeraire, one of Britain`s most illustrious fighting ships, is known to millions through J.M.W. Turner`s painting masterpiece. The ship was the second in the Royal Navy to carry the name. The first, a French warship captured and commandeered by the British in 1759, served with distinction during the Seven Years' War before being sold off in 1784. The second Temeraire, named in honor of her predecessor, was a prestigious three-decked, 98-gun warship that broke through the French and Spanish line directly astern of Nelson`s flagship Victory at Trafalgar in 1805, saving the Vice-Admiral at a crucial moment in the battle.

Chapter six deals with mutinous activities aboard the Temeraire from December 1801 through February 1802 and the role the [Royal] Marines played in the aborted plot. Perhaps what might be of greatest to both sailor and marine alike are the really important differences in perspectives, duties and perceptions of sailors and how they, to this day, impact upon relations between the two organizations.



White Jacket

"White Jacket" is a novel by Herman Melville published in 1850, based upon his experiences in 1834-44 as an ordinary seaman aboard U.S. frigate United States.

The acclaimed novel won political support for its stand against the use of flogging. Though no direct link has been established, after members of Congress received copies of the novel, during a Congressional debate over the issue, flogging in the U.S. Navy was abolished. Subtitled The World in a Man-of-War, the novel depicts life aboard a typical frigate, the Neversink, and describes the conditions aboard vessles of the time and tyrannies to which ship's officers subjected ordinary seamen.

He also elaborated upon the role of marines aboard naval vessles, the reasons for the friction between sailors and marines, and the promotion of that friction by officers of both forces believing it essential to discipline.



70's Discipline

"1970's Discipline Problems" became overwhelming, as antiwar sentiment developed in the country and widespread drug usage insinuated itself into all classes of society and age groups. The problems extended to military service personnel, at home and abroad. Morale and discipline declined. As troops rotated, they brought 'in country" problems stateside. Then came an end to the draft and the advent of an all-volunteer force in 1973.

A world of hurt had come down on the Marine Corps. A crisis was threatening the 200 year-old Corps. The need for "keeping up the numbers" led to the recruitment of society's misfits and still more problems.

Finally, the Twenty-sixth Commandant, General Lewis H. Wilson, took office. He'd earned the Medal of Honor on Guam during WW II and was a strict disciplinarian. This was on 1 July 1975: A new beginning.



Banana Wars

"Guns of the Banana Wars" is a pairing of two articles retrieved from the December 2012 and January 2013 issues of the NRA's American Rifleman magazine and written by Kenneth Smith-Christmas.

Smith-Christmas reiterates many of the same things learned about the Corps' legendary figures during our recruit training and too the battles they fought from 1898-1934 in Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic; but with an emphasis placed on the weapons common to combat at the beginning of the 20th Century and leading up to WWII.

Learn about the origins of the Lewis, Thompson, BAR and M1917 water-cooled machine gun, the M1903 Springfield rifle, the M1911 pistol and the role they played in the "Banana Wars" of the Caribbean and Central America.



War is a Racket

"War is a Racket," as proposed by twice Congressional Medal of Honor decorated Smedley Butler, was a much publicized and controversial subject in 1934...and beyond. This ten page speech and summary of his thesis was the foundation for the somewhat longer booklet of about 150 pages later published and available for purchase on the internet.

Though the cited costs for the presumption of military readiness are profoundly outdated, the prospects for and realities of continued abuse and disproportionate influence by American industry, in determining our strategic foreign policies, remain intact.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, when stepping down as President on 17Jan61, reiterated with perhaps less anger but no less enthusiasm, the impacts and inherent abuses of the Pentagon-Industry relationship in his "Military-Industrial Complex" speech.

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments please contact Ed Shea. To proceed to Home page.