This is a great speech by RADM J. Stark, USN, President of the Naval War College. He presented this in Newport, RI on 10 Nov 1995.
(Could have been my Thursday Thirteen, but that's below...)
The first reason I like Marines: They set high standards for themselves and those around them, and will accept nothing less.
I like the way Marines march.
I like the way Marines do their basic training whether it's Quantico, Parris Island, or San Diego.
I like the idea that Marines cultivate an ethos conductive of producing hard people in a soft age.
I like the fact that Marines stay in shape.
I like the fact that the Marines only have one boss - the Commandant. And I like the directness of the Commandant.
I like the fact that Marines are stubborn.
I like the way Marines obey orders.
I like the way Marines make the most of the press.
I like the wholehearted professionalism of the Marines.
It occurred to me that the services could be characterized by different breeds of dogs.
The Air Force reminded me of a French Poodle. The poodle always looks perfect...sometimes a bit pampered and always travels first class. But don't ever forget that the poodle was bred as a hunting dog and in a fight it's very dangerous.
The Army is kind of like a St. Bernard. It's big and heavy and sometimes seems a bit clumsy. But it's very powerful and has lots of stamina. So you want it for the long haul.
The Navy, God bless us, is a Golden Retriever. They're good natured and great around the house. The kids love' em. Sometimes their hair is a bit long...they go wandering off for long periods of time, and they love water.
Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean or skinny and mean. They're aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They've got really short hair and they always go for the throat. That sound like a Marine to me!
So what I really like about Marines is that first to fight isn't just a motto, it's a way of life. From the day they were formed at Tun Tavern 221 years ago, Marines have distinguished themselves on battlefields around the world. From the fighting tops of the Bonhomme Richard, to the sands of Barbary coast, from the swamps of New Orleans to the halls of Montezuma, from Belleau Wood, to the Argoone Forest, to Guadalcanal, and Iwo Jima, and Okinawa and Inchon, And Chosin Reservoir and Hue City and Quang Tri and Dong Ha, and Beirut, and Grenada, and Panama, and Somalia and Bosnia and a thousand unnamed battlefields in godforsaken corners of the globe. Marines have distinguished themselves by their bravery, and stubbornness and aggressive spirit, and sacrifice, and love of country, and loyalty to on another.
They've done it for you and me, and this country we all love so dearly. They asked for nothing more than honor of being a United States Marine. That's why I like Marines!