By: Ed Creamer
Scene: Tun Tavern, Philadelphia
Date: November 1775
Time: Early Evening
Marine Lt. Riley O’Bannon is sitting at a candle-lit table with a feather pen and an open ledger. He was charged earlier in the day with recruiting the world’s first U. S. Marine Detachment.
The first potential recruit, whose name has been lost in antiquity, walks up and asks, “What’s the deal?”
O’Bannon answers, “Sign this book, and I’ll give you $5, which is your first month’s pay, a bottle of whiskey and you’re a U.S. Marine.
“Is that it?” asks the potential recruit.
“Well, you have to have your own musket”, O’Bannon answers.
The recruit mulls it over for a while, thinks about the $5 and the bottle of whisky, and says, “OK. I have a musket. Where do I sign?”
“Beside your name is my ledger,” replied O’Bannon, handing over the $5 and bottle of whisky. “Now take a seat in the back room and wait for my further instructions”, orders O’Bannon.
Thus, this unknown patriot became the USA’s very first Marine recruit.
A few minutes later, a second potential recruit walks up and asks, “What’s the deal?”
O’Bannon says, “Just sign this book, and I’ll give you $5, which is your first month’s pay, a bottle of whiskey and you’re in. Of course you have to have your own musket.”
Looking sad, the second recruit says, “I’d really like to be a Marine, Sir, but I don’t own a musket.”
To which O’Bannon replies, “Don’t worry about it, son, we’ll find you one.”
(which meant he was going to steal one from the Army)
So the second U. S. Marine recruit signed on, and walked to the back room with his $5 and bottle of whiskey.
The first Marine looked the second Marine over, took a pull on his bottle, and asks, “So what was your deal?”
The second Marine says, “Well, I got $5, a bottle of whiskey and a musket.”
The first Marine thought on it for a while and finally said: “Yeah. It figures. You know, back in the Old Corps, you had to bring our own musket.”
And that’s how it all began.