Membership with the USMCHC
The United States Marine Corps Historical Company (USMCHC) does not actively recruit new members. However, we do at intervals accept applications from individuals that exhibit a persuasive and exceptional interest in preserving the history, traditions, heritage, and values of our Corps. Although the majority of our staff and members are current or former Active Duty Marines we have and do accept people from other services and from the civilian community to help tell the Marine Corps story. Even so, this is not a place for the casual hobbyist. We are not looking for those that merely wish to “dress up” in a period uniform. Our full time members need to be skilled generalists and educators in Marine Corps history. They also need to be willing a capable to function in rolls behind the scenes, dealing with program research and development, logistical planning and implementation, and administrative management. Although the USMCHC often uses living history techniques of presentation, our members primary task is to train and mentor young active duty Marines brought on board to fill the roll of period Marines functioning as demonstrators and interpreters. Our full time members also function as subject matter specialists, narrators, and principle educators in front of the public.
If you are truly interested in becoming a part of our educational team you should know who and what we are, and what we are not.
- We are above all an educational organization, dedicated to preserving the history, traditions, and heritage of the Marine Corps and its people. We accomplish this in a wide variety of venues.
- Research and development, primarily focusing on Marine Corps materiel history and the “human element”.
- Development of training programs and material, and providing courses in Marine Corps history, program development and teaching presentation techniques.
- Providing consultation and support to the film and television industry for Marine Corps related programs.
- Providing direct support and training to Marine Corps Bases, Commands, agencies, and museums in the presenting their own historical education programs.
- Developing and presenting our own historical / educational programs both to the American public at historic sites around the country, and to our active duty Marines at bases and commands throughout the Corps.
- It is these last facets of our operations where our active members become most involved. When using living history presentation techniques, we primarily use active duty Marines from local commands in period uniforms to act as our demonstrators. Our staff and members, functioning both in modern clothing and period uniforms, where qualified, act will as an instructor cadre, and as principle narrators, and facilitators.
- As stated previously, the USMCHC staff and active members are made up primarily of active duty, retired and former active duty Marines of all ranks and military skills, all with a common love of our Corps and its history. We augment and support these Marines with a highly select group of historians who understand and accept the very special nature of our Corps, and the very unique sense of pride and honor shared by Marines. Mission is first priority, and everyone contributes to meeting the mission.
- The USMCHC is a Not-for-profit educational team. All funds received through grants, donations, services, and other methods are infused back into the corporation to pay for operational, support, and administrative activities, and to maintain and develop our inventory of uniforms and artifacts. This includes providing meals, housing, and clothing and equipment to our members at all programs.
To avoid any confusion – a few words about what we are not.
- We are not a reenactment or “living history” group. If that is your principle interest, there are many other organizations out there which would better suit your goals, and we encourage you to pursue them.
- We do not present or participate in “opposing forces” battles and reenactments.
- Although our programs may include historically uniformed participants for living history presentations, this is only one of the many presentation techniques in our interpretive tool box. We do not use living history (especially “total immersion”, and “first person”) techniques as a stand alone presentation method. Depending on the scope of the program, some or all of our staff and members will function in contemporary clothing, both as interpreters, and behind the scenes in a logistics and support roll.
- Although all of our members gain a great deal of satisfaction from their own, and the team’s accomplishments, this is not a social club. We do not accept or retain anyone that is not willing to meet the commitment and responsibility of membership, and are willing to do what is required to meet the needs of the team and the mission.
If accepted, all new members serve a minimum one year probationary period. During this time the new member attends programs, functioning in contemporary clothing, filling a support roll while receiving “on the job” training and experience. Each member will also attend formal classes in program development and presentation skills, as well as Marine Corps History of all eras. If they complete the probationary period satisfactorily, they may apply for certification as a Historical Interpretive Specialist. If you would like to read further details please scroll down to “Member Requirements.” If becoming an active member with the USMCHC is not something that you would be interested in but you would still like to help support the continued development and presentation of Marine Corps history please click “Support the USMCHC.”
If you are interested in becoming an active volunteer member and feel you are up to the commitment and challenge, please contact the Directors office at [email protected] with a cc to [email protected] , or call: (301) 662-3141 for application information.
Active Volunteer Membership Requirements and Considerations
If you are interested in becoming an active volunteer with the USMCHC you will need to be aware of what you are entering into and the level of commitment we expect. The Historical Company is an agency run by Marines for the Marine Corps, and mission is first priority. Although the majority of our members are current or former Marines we do accept people from other services and from the civilian community to help tell the Marine Corps story. However this is not a place for the casual hobbyist. We do not actively solicit members and only accept those that understand the organizational mission and are willing to commit the time, effort, and dedication required to meet our educational and historical goals.
The USMC Historical Company is a not-for-profit educational corporation structured and operated as a professional agency specifically developed to support the United States Marine Corps, and Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. Our tasks are two fold:
- First is to provide outreach and traveling historical educational programing focused on telling the Marine Corps Story.
- Second is provide consultation, logistical, and material support to other agencies in providing Marine Corps historical programing.
Our objective is to educate both Marines and the public, and function as a high profile public relations tool for the U.S. Marine Corps. Through ongoing research and development supporting the use of interactive historical interpretive programming and exhibit development we strive to objectively present the contributions of past Marines, uphold the image of the present day Marine Corps, highlight the relevance and impact of their actions on today’s society, and enlighten and motivate this and future generations to the importance of the Marine Corps and its mission.
As a prospective member of the United Sates Marine Corps Historical Company you should be aware of the level of responsibility that we will be asking, and you will need to accept. As a professional educational organization representing the U.S. Marine Corps the USMCHC has exacting standards and requires a high level of commitment from its personnel. It must be emphasized that all new members will spend their probationary period, in modern clothing (issue polo shirt and khakis) as contemporary interpreters, learning presentation skills and becoming versatile as “generalist” Marine Corps historians, able to intelligently talk about any era of the Corps history.
Foremost of these standards are knowledge and skill, both in Marine Corps history and how to present it. The knowledge you will learn and present will go far beyond basic Marine Corps historical statistics and dates. You will gain an understanding of who these Marines were, how they shaped our current Corps, and how they influenced our society. You will delve into the material history and acquire an understanding of the “tools of the trade” that each generation of Marines had at their disposal. After completing probation, if you endeavor to qualify as a living history Interpretive Specialist you will learn and become proficient in the military skills, tactics, weapons and equipment of the Marines of past eras and be able to demonstrate and utilize these abilities to a live audience. As a contemporary interpreter this same knowledge and skill will be essential when explaining the use of a particular tactic or piece of equipment, and its relevance, to the public.
The United States Marine Corps Historical Company has four Divisions, the Programing Division, the Research and Development Division, the Material Division, and Administrative Division. All volunteer Members belong to, and comprise the body of the Program Division, filling all positions from basic interpreter to principle narrator. There will be scheduled classes and courses in period military and interpretive skills and general history that you will be able to attend, but much of your initial training will be “on the job.” During your probation you will be teamed with a senior member who will act as your mentor. You will receive USMCHC training materials and instructional guides to help you along. You will be expected to study and practice on your own. Just as any Marine knows, it takes commitment and dedication to achieve and maintain the skills of his trade, so it is with each of our members in becoming proficient as historians and interpreters. The following lists the basic levels of membership that you may progress through.
Probationary members are newly approved applicants to the Program Division serving a period of training and orientation with the USMCHC. The probation allows both the applicant and the organization to see if he/she fits in, and allows the new member time to gain the skills and qualify as a basic Instructor/interpreter.
A member of the Programing Division that has met all of the requirements of probation, and demonstrated that they are skilled Generalists in Marine Corps History and presentation. Further, Active Members must annually demonstrate that they have the time, dedication, and commitment to meet the Active Member requirements. Active Members routinely function in modern clothing, filling whatever role necessary to meet the mission objectives for a particular program. Active Members may periodically be asked (if qualified) to function in a living history role only if necessary to meet program needs, usually functioning as an instructor and mentor for program participants, and/or as a principle interpreter, instructor, or narrator.
Living History Interpretive Specialist
This is a special category of presentation techniques which entails interpretive personnel dressing in historical uniform to represent a member of the Marine Corps of a particular era. Although this is an often applied technique with in Historical Company programs, no member is automatically qualified to participate in a living history role. Living history slots are often filled primarily by Active Duty Marines brought on board for a specific program, with USMCHC staff and members functioning in an instructor/mentor roll. Members specifically wishing to function in a living history role must apply and qualify on a program by program basis. Selection will be based on program needs, available slots, and the applying member’s ability to meet those requirements listed, which includes the historic character profile and all physical and military skill requirements necessary to emulate Marines of the specific era in history they wish to represent.
It is USMCHC policy that “all personnel be actively involved in some form of fitness program.” In addition to historical and education skills and knowledge, your appearance and conduct are essential to your, and the organization’s credibility. This is especially true if you wish to eventually qualify to function in historical uniform, utilizing living history techniques to emulate Marine Corps personnel of the past. To be selected to fill this specialty position, you must annually obtain a minimum acceptable level of physical fitness in order to present an accurate and credible image of those Service men and women. The required physical fitness standards are not only important from a physical appearance and historical standpoint, but as a safety and liability issue as well. As a uniformed interpreter, striving to portray a Marine of the past, you will ultimately be involved in real world activities that are physically demanding. These activities may range from climbing cargo nets during an amphibious assault training demonstration, or standing formation in a 19th century wool uniform in 90 degree plus weather, to presenting extensive field exercises in extreme temperature and weather conditions. The minimum basic target fitness standards for those wishing to qualify as a USMCHC Uniformed Living History Interpretive Specialist are:
- Pull-ups: ………………… minimum of 3
- Push-ups: ……………….. minimum of 25
- Sit-ups: ………………….. minimum of 35 within two minutes
- Balance Beam: ………… walk 4 inch wide beam 20 ft. Long and return
- Casualty Carry: ……….. pick up and carry 100 lb. weight 100 ft. Without stopping
- Endurance: ……………… complete a 1 ½ mile run within 15 minutes
or complete a 5 mile march with 25 lb. pack, within 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Improving your fitness to improve your appearance will also improve your day-to-day health and well-being as well. This holds true for all of our personnel, regardless if you function as a contemporary interpretive specialist or delve into utilizing living history techniques. We will make every effort to look after your safety and assist you if needed, but it will be up to you to take the initiative to get in shape.
As a new applicant you do not have to be concerned with any major purchases. The Historical Company will make available any assets that you will need to function as part of the interpretive team. This is done to allow both you and the Company time to determine if your area of involvement is right for you before you make any financial investment. After probation you may eventually wish to purchase some of your own clothing and/or equipment, but the Company will normally issue you any uniforms and equipment, on a program-by-program basis, you may need. If you do eventually desire to obtain your own clothing the Company will provide you with approved sources and listings of what you will need, and assistance in procurement through the USMCHC Materiel Division.
These standards may seem daunting, They are. But with commitment and dedication they are very obtainable. You won’t be alone in getting there; you’ll be part of a team. The reward is the satisfaction that comes with achieving and constantly building on these initial goals. It is the personal pride and self confidence that comes with being part of a Marine Corps team, presenting some of the highest quality historical programs today. It is the knowledge that you are doing your part in preserving and passing on the legacy of one of the finest organizations in the world. As representatives of the United States Marine Corps, our goals are to preserve the proud history, traditions, and values of the Corps, and educate the American public about the many sacrifices that have been made by the men and women of the Corps throughout America’s history – sacrifices that helped earn and preserve the freedom and privileges we now enjoy. Through these preservation and educational efforts we can thus honor those who went before us, highlight the role of the modern Corps, and help prepare our younger generation for what the future may bring. Preserving history through active interpretation is one of the most rewarding ways to learn about, and pass on to others, our past.
Regardless of your roll, or amount of time you commit, what is important is the quality of your performance, dedication and loyalty to the team. As with any Marine, Semper Fidelis will become more than just words to you. “Always Faithful” will become the nucleus of a set of values to live by.
We hope you will accept the challenge and join the team. If interested in pursuing a position as a volunteer member of the USMCHC please contact the Directors office at [email protected], or call: (301) 662-3141.