The Marine Corp Logo – Eagle, Globe, and Anchor

Marine Corp Logo

Some of the most important pieces of United States Marine Corps history are shown through its logo, seal, and uniform. The emblems, and ornaments that decorate and represent the US Marine Corps was influenced by the designs of the Continental Marines and the British Royals Marines. It’s widely believed that the Marine Corps logo, also known as the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, has kept its design since 1868. However, there were a few more design changes that were put into effect in the early- to mid-1900s, until it finally came to be design that you see today. The Marine Corps logo itself has a long and sordid history. It is the basic design of the Marine Corps flag, seal, branch-of-service insignia, and many other pins and logos.

Evolution of the Marine Corp Logo Design

U.S. Marines Seal
U.S. Marines Seal

When it was first designed in 1776, the US Marines logo was a silver or pewter fouled anchor. A fouled anchor is an anchor in which the chain is wrapped around one or more times. Further elements and details were added and taken away from this design in the years of 1798, 1821, as well as 1824.

In 1804, the insignia that was worn on the Marine Corps uniform was an eagle perched on an anchor with thirteen stars (each with six points) above and around it. This emblem is still worn on the dress uniform and service uniform buttons but with five-pointed stars instead of the six-pointed ones of the previous years. The six-pointed stars can still be seen on the logos of various organizations, such as the Marine Corps History Division. This design is the oldest military symbol that is continuously used in the United States.

The history of the Marine Corps symbols, along with the USMC logo, has to do with the insignia that was displayed on the Marines’ caps. In 1812, particularly during the War of 1812, there was the development of the nineteenth century Marine cap insignia. The emblem was made of brass and was similar to the logo used by the US Army during the same period. The version that was used by the Marines showed the eagle grasping a ribbon that read “Fortitudine” (“with courage”). The eagle stood on the fouled anchor surrounded by devices of war, such as cannons, cannon balls, drums, flags, etc.

The eagle was officially added to the Marines emblem in 1834. It was a crested eagle, a species that is seen around the world. This design was worn by the Marines on its hats, with the eagle measuring three and a half inches across the wingspan of the eagle.

Throughout the period of the 1850s to the 1890s, many different emblems and logos were used by the Marine Corps, including laurels and wreaths, horns, shields emblazoned with the stars and stripes, and more.

Design modifications from 1868 to the present

U.S. Marines logo progression from 1868 through to the present.
U.S. Marines logo progression from 1868 through to the present.

Brigadier General Commandant Jacob Zeilin assembled a group in 1868 “to decide and report upon the various devices of cap ornaments of the Marine Corps.” A new Marine Corps logo was designed. This new emblem had the globe added over the anchor. Commandant Zeilin approved the design himself, and it was then approved on November 19, 1868, by the Secretary of the Navy.

Various design modifications of  Marine Corps logo were made and worn throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s. These variations included the shape and angle of the eagle’s wings, the detail shown on the geography of the globe, and how the chain was wrapped around the anchor.

A new version of the Marine Corps logo was approved on May 28, 1925. This version showed the eagle facing to the side holding the middle of a banner that read “Semper Fidelis” (as opposed to the end of the banner in today’s version). The globe also included the curved latitude and longitude lines. In 1936, this version was slightly altered to include vertical latitude lines and to change the position of the eagle’s wings and head.

One more major change was made to the Marine Corps logo in 1954-55. On June 2, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved an updated designed for the US Marine Corps. The design that was put forth for approval replaced the crested eagle with the American bald eagle. This design was adopted in 1955 as the official USMC logo and seal. Today, it is still held as the Marine Corp logo.

The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor

There was a lot of thought and symbolism that went into the designing of the Marine Corp logo. It’s often referred to as the eagle, globe, and anchor. The eagle (now that it has been switched to the American bald eagle) represents the strength of the United States of America. The globe represents the service that the United States Marine Corp offers throughout the whole world. Finally, the anchor symbolizes the Marine’s naval traditions. It is also said that the three main features of the Marine Corp logo are representative of the areas in which the Marines serve: “On Land, In Air and Sea.”

The Marines emblem is often shown with the eagle holding a ribbon in its beak that reads “Semper Fidelis,” the Marine Corps motto, which translates to “always faithful.” However, the pins worn on uniforms usually do not include this ribbon.

The Marine Corp logo is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world today because of how long it has been used and the many different versions that have been created. The main images (the eagle, globe, and anchor) have remained consistently, even through the many changes made to details of the emblem.


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