In it’s current form the Starfleet Marine Corps is the culmination of generations of military history dating as far back as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on Earth. Within that history, the influences of a dozen worlds and species is sprinkled in, with the heaviest influences being that of Earth – the central hub of the entire Federation, and of Starfleet.
Ex Astris Scientia – “From the Stars, Knowledge.”. Starfleet is interested in exploration, discovery and enlightenment of the mind. It is, at its very core, a pacifist organization and, were it possible, it is presumed that they would carry no weapons at all. But, despite the Utopian aspirations of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets, not every other species in the galaxy shares those ideals. Thus, Starfleet has armed its vessels, drafted binding accords to limit those military technologies that might do harm to others as well as the galaxy at large, and otherwise done only as much as was needed to defend themselves against those that might seek to take advantage of their curiosity or lack of aggression.
The SFMC is the antithesis to much of what Starfleet stands for as the knowledge sought from the stars is applied to combat, instead of diplomacy and expansion. Acquired knowledge is used to test themselves, to push the limits of their capabilities and in turn prepare the Corps for the next conflict. The SFMC is without question, a military organization whose sole purpose and existence is to protect the Federation from all enemies both foreign and domestic. Unlike their counterparts in Federation/Starfleet Security, who function as law enforcement within the Federation and Starfleet, the SFMC is primarily focused on combat. Their main function is to bring military conflicts to an end through aggressive combat action.
For most of Earth’s modern history, the major powers of the world maintained their own military forces and within those forces were a variety of sub-branches. Yet, across all of these respective militaries one force was constantly present in varying forms: Marines. Units such as France’s Commandos Marine, Great Britain’s Royal Marines, and the United States Marine Corps – the largest Marine force in the history of planet Earth.
These military organizations served their respective countries through every major conflict they were engaged in, up to and through the final major conflict in Earth’s history before the formation of the United Earth Government in 2150, followed by the founding of the United Federation of Planets in 2161.
At the end of World War III, following the victory of the North American and European Alliances over the Eastern Coalition, the United States and Great Britain stood as two of the only major world powers still fully standing; though the former in greater numbers than the latter. Within that, the USMC still boasted a robust force though nowhere near what it had been at its peak at the start of the war.
While Earth began to drift away from geographical governments in favor of the new United Earth Governments, these regional military organizations remained intact in some fashion or another. The smaller, less organized units disappeared first, leaving the larger and more robust branches to survive alone. The United States Marine Corps and Great Britain’s Royal Marines were a few of the last branches to survive, attached to their respective Naval organizations.
With the need for regional governments fading after the formation of the Federation, the remaining armed forces of Earth were either disbanded, or rolled into different organizations such as MACO or the Federaton Naval Patrol. Both the Royal Marines and the United States Marine Corps were absorbed by this new military service organization (the FNP), bringing with them their extensive history and combining traditions.
As the largest of the two services combining into the FNP, the USMC brought forth the majority of the traditions and formats for service, however since the USMC was built based strongly on the Royal Marine tradition at its inception, a great many of their traditions were similar. Some notable traditions that remained from the USMC are terms such as: Leatherneck, Devil Dog, and their creed – Semper Fi. From the Royal Marines, the ubiquitous Green Beret’s (something completely lacking in the USMC) became a part of the standard UFMC uniform.
By the end of the first quarter of the 23rd century, it was becoming evident after suffering conflict after conflict that Starfleet needed a military option more powerful than the Starfleet Security departments could muster. While certainly not the most popular decision, with the might of the Klingon’s and Romulan’s to counter, Starfleet reluctantly chose to take action and absorbed the Federation Marine Corps, which served under the Naval Patrol, into Starfleet.
The absorption of the Federation Naval Patrol Marine units into the new Starfleet Marine Corps was the next evolution, but by no means signalled a renaissance in terms of military might. Starfleet was ever wary of the Marine Corps, and as pacifists determined to always find the peaceful solution, they kept the service at arms length and only deployed the Corps when absolutely needed. Despite the constant snubbing, the Marine Corps maintained its principal values and doubled down on its training and preparations for the next conflict. The Corps’ leadership was determined to be the absolute best in the galaxy, and to prove it when Starfleet and the Federation needed it most.The SFMC clung hard to its tenets of: Every Marine a Rifleman and a Force-in-readiness.
The 23rd century brought with it major conflicts with the Klingon’s and Romulan’s, all of which tested the power of Starfleet, the Federation, and more importantly, the SFMC. After each engagement, the SFMC swelled its ranks, amended its tactics and otherwise bettered themselves for the future. It was a tradition that they continued despite Starfleet’s lack of attention. Had the Corps followed the suggestion of Starfleet’s brass and not fought for their own funding, research and equipment, they would have been a shell of the organization that they are now. Something Starfleet would have regretted in the late 24th century for one specific reason.
The Dominion War.
The Federation Alliance quickly found itself outgunned and outmanned by the superior numbers and strength of the Dominion forces with only the Romulan and Klingon forces to commit to ground operations outside of the SFMC. Despite centuries of apathy and a general lack of interest in their ‘militaristic’ branch, Starfleet turned to its own to help defend the Federation and its fledgling alliance. Thanks to the SFMC leadership, they had never succumed to the same apathy as their Starfleet counterparts nor ever once shirked their responsibility to keep the SFMC a potent fighting force – despite their relative size (10-1 Starfleet-Marine ratio).
The SFMC jumped to the defense of the Federation with staggering results – success in nearly every major engagement, despite the general losses suffered by the Fleet at large and the lack of personnel. The Corps was doing the job better than Starfleet anticipated they would – had they not, the losses would have been even more severe.
Morale was low among the Fleet, among the Federation and amongst their allies but the morale among the SFMC was high. They had proven to Starfleet what they had known all along – that their presence in any major engagement was invaluable. The SFMC may not have won the engagement for Starfleet, or defeated the Dominion single-handedly, but their fierce opposition and well-executed tactics had saved them from even greater defeats. Had Starfleet listened to the SFMC Commanders in decades past and allowed for a more robust organization, it is possible the outcome of a great many battles would have been different.
After the close of hostilities, the Starfleet brass changed their tune’s completely. Having seen first hand the devastation wrought by the Dominion as well as the effectiveness of their Marine Corps cousins, Starfleet doubled-down on the organization and gave them the due’s they been deserved for centuries and in the few years after the wars completion, the SFMC’s ranks swelled past any levels seen before, reducing their 10:1 ratio (Starfleet to SFMC) to as much as 4:1, ensuring that the next time that there was an enemy at the gate the SFMC would not only have the skill, but the manpower to repel them.
Currently, the Starfleet Marine Corps stands at the ready to defend the Federation with military might. They have proven themselves in the crucible of combat and while the Federation and its citizens enjoy the Federation’s Utopia, the SFMC is ready to defend it with their lives yet again.