Like the US Army, the US Marine Corps (USMC) dates back to 1775 when the first battalions of men were formed under the command of Samuel Nicholas (1744-1790). US Marines operate as part of the United States Navy and form the "sea-borne infantry arm" of the US war machine - primarily assaulting enemy positions through amphibious means. The USMC has participated in every major conflict since the inception of the United States of America including the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the American Civil War, World War 1, World War 2, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, Somalia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. US Marines saw extensive service in the Pacific Theater during World War 2 to which their actions solidified their modern image as one of the best and toughest group of soldiers anywhere in the world.
As in other US military branches, the ranks in the USMC consist of Enlisted personnel, Warrant Officers and Commissioned Officers. Unlike other branches of service, the USMC does not maintain a Five-Star General rank. Compared to the USN, USAF and US Army, the USMC is numerically the smallest of the services and, like the US Army, the USMC maintains a mixed collection of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft to fulfill their defined mission scope. Equipment and arms selection are comparable to the standard-issue items found in the US Army inventory and includes the M1 Abrams MBT, HMMWVs (Humvee), M16 assault rifle / M4 Carbine automatic weapons, AH-1 "SuperCobra" and MV-22 "Osprey" tilt-rotor transport helicopters, AV-8B Harrier II STOVL strike aircraft and F/A-18 Hornet multirole platform.