A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 01, 2013
“Once a Marine, always a Marine”

The United States Marine Corps was founded in 1775. Once someone has earned the title “Marine” that person is a Marine for life: there are (1) active duty Marines, (2) retired Marines, (3) reserve Marines, and (4) Marine veterans. “Once a Marine, always a Marine” is a popular bumper sticker slogan.

“Once a Marine, always a Marine” has been cited in print since at least 1907. Paul Woyshner (1894-1970), a member of the Publicity Bureau who contributed drawings for in 1917, is usually—incorrectly—given credit for the slogan. According to The Leatherneck in 1952:

“Once while listening to a Marine celebrating his discharge and bellyaching about the Corps, Woyshner remarked, ‘Aw nuts...once a Marine always a Marine.’ After that he used the slogan on posters and match covers in his duty as a publicity man.”

However, the “Once a Marine, always a Marine” had already been at least a decade old by 1917.

“There are no ex-Marines” has been cited in print since at least 1929.


Wikipedia: United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States. The Marine Corps is a component of the United States Department of the Navy, often working closely with naval forces for training, transportation, and logistics; however, the Marine Corps is a separate branch.

Captain Samuel Nicholas formed two battalions of Continental Marines on 10 November 1775 in Philadelphia as naval infantry. Since then, the mission of the Marine Corps has evolved with changing military doctrine and American foreign policy. The Marine Corps has served in every American armed conflict and attained prominence in the 20th century when its theories and practices of amphibious warfare proved prescient and ultimately formed the cornerstone of the Pacific campaign of World War II.

14 April 1907, Galveston (TX) Daily News, “Uncle Sam’s Marines,” pg. 23, col. 7:
The veteran marine, who has grown gray in the service, is just as loyal to the corps as the newly-enlisted recruit, and their sentiments are tersely expressed in the slogan: “Once a marine, always a marine.”

23 February 1917, The Evening Star (Washington, DC), pg. 4, col. 2:
FORMER MARINES LOYAL.
Many Answer Call to Re-Enlist and Others Obtain “Rookies.”
“Once a marine always a marine” is the loyal answer of hundreds of former “soldiers of the sea” in response to the recent telegrams from Marine Corps headquarters asking their return to the colors.

Hathi Trust Digital Library
March 1917, The Recruiters’ Bulletin, pg. 6:
“ONCE A MARINE ALWAYS A MARINE” Is Proven By Ex-Marines
Pg. 11:
FROM A FORMER RECRUITER. (Nathan Lawrence—ed.)
Rochester, N. Y., January 2, 1917.
(...)
Of course you know the old saying “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

Hathi Trust Digital Library
The Lost Naval Papers, by Bennet Copplestone [pseud.]
By Frederick Harcourt Kitchin
London: John Murray
1917 (First edition October 1917—ed.)
Pg. 209:
Once a Marine, always a Marine,” replied Dawson, who felt happier now that the Admiral had recognised him.

Chronicling America
14 March 1919, The Mahoning Dispatch (Canfield, Mahoning County, OH), pg. 3, col. 3:
Once a marine always a marine, applies to the spirit of the heroes of Chateau Thierry.

Google News Archive
11 March 1924, Crawfordsville (IN) Review, “‘Once A Marine, Always A Marine’ Says Maj. Denby” by The Associated Press, pg. 1, col. 1:
Washington, March 10.—Edwin Denby surrendered his navy portfolio today but retained a connection with the naval establishment of which he had been chief for three years.
(...)
Members of the Marine band also were greeted and Captain Stantelmann, director of the band, excalimed as he grasped Mr. Denby’s hand:

“Once a marine, always a marine.”

Google News Archive
20 February 1931, Schenectady (NY) Gazette, ‘Butler Makes 2 Speeches in Philadelphia” (AP), pg. 1, col. 5:
(Major General Smedley D. Butler—ed.)
“I’ve announced that I’m retiring from the corps,” he said, “but I’m not getting out. Once a marine, always a marine.”

Google Books
The Leatherneck
Marine Corps Institute
Volume 15
1932
Pg. ?
Recruiting is in full swing at the Armory and from the number of ex-soldiers, ex-sailors, and former Marines (I say former Marines because there are no ex-Marines; you know, once a Marine always a Marine) who are applying for membership, it looks as though we will have our companies well filled with former service men.

5 February 1941, Springfield (MA) Daily Republican, “Marine Corps League Fetes Veteran, Honors Rookie Just Entering Corps,” pg. 4, col. 6:
Mr. Burke asserted there are no ex-marines, recalling the expression, “Once a marine, always a marine.”
(Nicholas J. Burke, then the oldest marine in Western Massachusetts—ed.)

Google News Archive
29 July 1946, Eugene (OR) Register-Guard, “Marines’ Part In War Told,” pg. 5, col. 4:
‘There are no ex-marines,” Major General Larkin told assembled marines and their wives at the Osburn Hotel Saturday night. “Once a marine, always a marine—that’ our motto!”

Google Books
The Leatherneck
Volume 35
1952
Pg. 45:
Master Sergeant Paul Woyshner of the Depot of Supplies, Philadelphia, now lays claim to being the senior enlisted man in the Marine Corps. “To the best of my knowledge the retirement of MSgt. Harry Bartley qualifies me for the distinction of being the senior enlisted man in the Corps”, says the 57-year-old Woyshner, who first enlisted in the Marine Corps on February 17, 1916, at New York City.

The Russian-born Marine already had a claim to fame. Once while listening to a Marine celebrating his discharge and bellyaching about the Corps, Woyshner remarked, “Aw nuts...once a Marine always a Marine.” After that he used the slogan on posters and match covers in his duty as a publicity man. The saying, later made popular by General John A. Lejeune, is now the slogan of the Marine Corps League. The man to whom Woyshner made this this remark came back to the Corps, received a commission and became officer in charge of Woyshner’s section.

Google Books
The Leatherneck
Volume 36
1953
Pg. 59:
Paul Woyshner, who has 37 years of active duty to his credit, says that he is out to beat MSgt. Harry Bartley’s 44-year record. (...) His best known contribution, however, came as an off-hand remark in 1917, when he overheard a discharged Marine loudly proclaiming his good fortune. Woyshner laconically remarked: “Once a Marine—always a Marine.” The newly-invented and now-famous slogan appeared on Marine recruiting posters the following day.

Heritage Press International
elected USMC Slogans:  (excerpt from Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines, copyright 2001 Marion F. Sturkey)
(...)
Once a Marine, Always a Marine: This truism is now the official motto of the Marine Corps League.  The origin of the statement is credited to a gung-ho Marine Corps master sergeant, Paul Woyshner.  During a barroom argument he shouted, “Once a Marine, always a Marine!” MSgt. Woyshner was right.  Once the title “U.S. Marine” has been earned, it is retained.  There are no ex-Marines or former-Marines.  There are (1) active duty Marines, (2) retired Marines, (3) reserve Marines, and (4) Marine veterans.  Nonetheless, once one has earned the title, he remains a Marine for life.

(Trademark)
Word Mark ONCE A MARINE, ALWAYS A MARINE
Goods and Services IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: General feature magazine in the field of matters relating to the United States Marine Corps, issues relating to veterans, issues relating to employment, military history, and matters of interest to U.S. Marines and veterans; General feature magazines; Newsletters in the field of matters relating to the United States Marine Corps, issues relating to veterans, issues relating to employment, military history, and matters of interest to U.S. Marines and veterans. FIRST USE: 19480917. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19480917
Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Serial Number 85410274
Filing Date August 30, 2011
Current Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition February 7, 2012
Registration Number 4131975
Registration Date April 24, 2012
Owner (REGISTRANT) U.S. Marine Corps, a component of the U.S. Department of the Navy n/a agency of the united states government UNITED STATES Room 4B548 3000 Marine Corps Pentagon Washington D.C. 203503000
Attorney of Record Philip J. Greene
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Monday, April 01, 2013 • Permalink