The History Of The Marine Barracks In D.C. Reaches Back To Days When Thomas Jefferson Would Visit

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You may have seen the story from last weekend about Marines from the Marine Barracks at 8th and I Streets in Washington, D.C., rushing into a burning building near the barracks and helping to save several of the elderly and handicapped in that building.

This video is about the history of Marine Barracks in D.C. and the kind of Marines who are stationed there.

The current site of the Marine Barracks was chosen by President Thomas Jefferson and Lt. Col. William Ward Burroughs the Commandant of the Marine Corps in the year 1801. The Marine Corps was established at a meeting held in the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia on November 10, 1775. Those Marines began proving their valor, their discipline and their value to the nation from the very beginnings of this country. But now they would have a permanent home, near the President, in the center Capital of Washington, D.C.

Source: U.S. Marines
The Marine Corps Color Guard dips the battle color of the Marine Corps as the national anthem plays during a ceremony for the Brigadier General Select Orientation Course


The newly established Marine Barracks would be the Headquarters of the Marine Corps for the next 100 years. It was from these barracks that Marines would be sent into action in both the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

The main house at the Marine Corps Barracks became the residence of the Commandant of the Marine Corps in 1806, and continues to be so used today by the current commandant of the United States Marine Corps, General Robert B, Neller, who spoke to the Khe Sanh Veterans at our reunion in Washington, D.C., this past August. It is said to be the oldest public building still in use in Washington, D.C.

Source: U.S. Marines
Crowd educators with Marine Barracks Washington D.C. interact with guests during a Friday Evening Parade at Marine Barracks Washington D.C.


The Marine Barracks is the home of the U.S. Marine Corps Band, which was established by Thomas Jefferson in 1798 as “the Presidents own.” In the late 1800s, John Phillip Souza was the commander of the Marine Corps band and wrote many of his famous marches there. The Marine Corps Barracks also houses the Marine Drum and Bugle corps, the Marine Color Guard, the Silent Drill Platoon, as well as two companies of battle-ready Marines.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
U.S. Marines with the Marine Band practice military movement and turning drills during a rehearsal for the presidential inauguration parade at Marine Barracks Washington in Washington, D.C.

You will get a clear sense of the character of the Marine Corp and its discipline as you watch the hand-picked Silent Drill Platoon go through its 10-minute silent drill and rifle inspection all done without a single spoken command. And you will also see the great precision and dignity with which the Color Guard carries out its ceremonial duties at Arlington National Cemetery.

Watch the video below for a closer look.

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When you are done watching this, you may have an even clearer sense of why the Marines stationed there did what they did for those elderly and handicapped people in that building fire last weekend.

OooRah Marines.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.
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