10 Things You Didn’t Know About Being a Marine with Vernon David Sears Jr.

Vernon David Sears Jr.
3 min readJan 4, 2021


If you’re considering a career in the United States Marine Corps, there are a number of things you should know, says veteran Vernon David Sears Jr. While it’s one of the most honorable careers out there, it’s also steeped in tradition. As a former marine himself, Vernon David Sears Jr. knows all about the quirks and history of the marines.

Vernon David Sears Jr. knows firsthand the challenges and rewards that come with a career in the corps. For him, it was what helped him grow and sharpened him into the best possible version of himself. Knowing exactly what the corps has to offer, Vernon David Sears Jr. has dedicated himself to promoting and advocating for the corps’ many benefits since his honorable discharge in 1997. Now, he offers new hopefuls ten useful facts to help them on their journey to becoming a U.S. Marine themselves and get ahead of the game.

  1. Waste no time

The United States Marines mean serious business and they waste no time. For example, says Vernon David Sears Jr., the corps’ first amphibious raid was conducted only weeks after the creation of the corps. Marines successfully stormed a British weapons cache in the Bahamas. So, be prepared to get down to business because there is no dillydallying in the corps.

  1. Ambition

The marines are not short on ambition, says Vernon David Sears Jr. In fact, you may notice that many marines often pin their next promotable rank onto their uniforms in inconspicuous locations like under a pocket flap or in their cover. They use it as motivation to do their best every day and remind themselves of the next step in their careers.

  1. Boot Camp

Depending on which side of the Mississippi you hail from, you will either attend boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego or the MCRD Parris Island. The depot at Parris Island was the first established. Recruits from Parris Island have nicknamed those training at San Diego the “Hollywood Marines”, says Vernon David Sears Jr.

  1. License Plate Trivia

A fun little tidbit of information you are expected to know as a U.S. Marine is that the license plate of the Commandant of the Corps always reads “1775”, which happens to be the year the corps was founded.

  1. Tradition in Dress

Even the smallest details are honored by the corps, says Vernon David Sears Jr. Take for example the dress code. In 1798, the corps began issuing black leather guards for marines to wear around their necks. It was meant to protect them during sword fights. Now, the standing collar on the uniform is a vestige to this tradition from centuries ago.

  1. Excellence Beyond Military

Believe it or not, many of famous celebrities also served in the marines. Take for example comedian, game show host, actor, and singer, Ed McMahon who served in the corps for many years. Or actor and comedian Drew Carey, who served for six years in the 1980s. The corps promotes excellence in whatever you do, says Vernon David Sears Jr.

  1. The Birthplace of the Corps

The very first marines enlisted at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia during the American Revolution. The tavern sadly burned down near the end of the revolution but is remembered fondly as the birthplace of the marines. It’s even commemorated by a Tun Tavern-themed restaurant at the U.S. Marine Corps National Museum in Virginia.

  1. The Marines’ Hymn

The music for the Marines’ Hymn originates from the 1867 composition by Jacques Offenbach. The lyrics of the song were added some years later but their writer remains unknown. In 1929, the popular song was adopted officially by the corps, making it the oldest anthem of any U.S. military service.

  1. Through Adversity

President Andrew Jackson, who served in office from 1829 to 1837, actually wanted to abolish the Marine Corps, believing it was no longer necessary. But the marines serve many functions, explains Vernon David Sears Jr. In fact, there are over 336 job types in the corps, including positions from avionics to linguistics.

  1. Take the Cake

On the marine corps’ birthday every year, a cake cutting ceremony is held in celebration. The first three pieces are presented to the guest of honor, the oldest, and the youngest marines present. Even in battle, if possible, the marines will try to uphold this tradition.



Vernon David Sears Jr.

Former US Marine, here to share some of my stories and articles. Highlighting why I loved serving my country and the Brotherhood I stood proud with.