Latin for “Always Faithful,” Semper Fidelis is the motto of every Marine—an eternal and collective commitment to the success of our battles, the progress of our Nation, and the steadfast loyalty to the fellow Marines we fight alongside. Established in 1883, this motto distinguishes the bond developed and shared between Marines. It goes beyond words that are spoken, as it is a warriorhood that is lived.
It is the fighting spirit of every Marine that can make the promise to win our Nation's battles. This promise is proclaimed in our motto, Semper Fidelis, and it means that we are always faithful to those on our left and right, from the fellow Marines we fight alongside, to those in our communities for which we fight.
Semper Fidelis is used as a greeting, a motivation, and an expression that unites past and present Marines. During war or peacetime, Semper Fidelis speaks volumes. It represents tradition and responsibility—beginning the moment a young man or woman commits to earning the title of U.S. Marine. See the stories below to witness Semper Fidelis in action.
After hard-fought, substantial victories in Pacific battles such as Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, and Peleliu, American Marines set course for Iwo Jima in February of 1945. What the world would soon find out is that the American spirit would show its full force in the fighting spirit of Marines, carrying the resolve of our entire Nation. By remaining faithful to their critical mission, to their country, and to each other during the darkest days, Marines were able to will each other to overcome enormous challenges to fight and win the Battle at Iwo Jima in 1945. "Every square inch of beachhead was under methodical, deadly fire—like a giant sponge, every hole a separate hell."—Historian Bill D. Ross