The Marines Hymn (Second Marine Aircraft Wing Band)

Performing Ensemble: Second Marine Aircraft Wing Band, Cherry Point, NC
Lyricist: L.Z. Phillips
Publisher: MENC
Notes: Taken from cd entitled: "Sing America."
From the halls of Montezuma, To the shores of Tripoli...

The "Marines' Hymn" has an engaging history. Its tune originally came from the "march" section of Jacques Offenbach's comic opera Genevieve de Brabant. First presented as a melodramatic work in 1859, Offenbach's material was subsequently reshaped into a comic opera that opened in Paris in 1867. To that production the composer added the "march of the men of arms."

The Marines Hymn (Second Marine Aircraft Wing Band)

  Listen -- MP3
  Listen -- MP3 (U.S. Marine Band)

It is not known when the first words of the "Marine's Hymn" were added to the Offenbach music, nor by whom. One, or possibly two, early verses have been traced to Colonel Henry C. Davis who wrote them during the early part of the twentieth century.

The hymn's lyrics reflect the Corps values, pride and the various campaigns in which the U.S. Marine Corps has participated. For example, "From the halls of Montezuma" refers to Marine participation in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), during which the Marines fought their way from Veracruz to Mexico City under the leadership of General Winfield Scott.

"To the shores of Tripoli" refers to Marine participation in the war against the pirates of the Barbary States (1801-1805), during which they marched across 600 miles of Libyan desert with a group of Navy men and others, to capture the port city of Derna, Tripoli.

The first version of the song was copyrighted, published and distributed in 1919 by The Leatherneck - a Marine Corps magazine printed in Quantico, Virginia.
On November 21, 1942, the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps approved a slight change in the words of the first verse, to read "In air, on land, and sea" instead of the earlier "In the air, on land, and sea."


From the halls of Montezuma 
To the shores of Tripoli,
We will fight our countrys battles 
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom 
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title 
Of United States Marine.

Our flags unfurl'd to every breeze 
From dawn to setting sun.
We have fought in every clime and place 
Where we could take a gun. 
In the snow of far-off northern lands 
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job - 
The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps 
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life 
And never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy 
Ever gaze on Heaven's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded 
By United States Marines.

Marine Drummer
Marine Drummer

Credit for some: Library of Congress, Music Division.