The purpose of this essay is to define and identify Customs and Courtesies of the United States Marine Corps. In order to do so most accurately, I will draw from both Naval and Marine Corps references used to teach and reteach customs and courtesies to recruits and Marines.
A custom is a way of acting, a way that has continued consistently over such a long period that it has become like a law. An example of this is the tradition of providing the proper greeting of the day to a higher ranking individual. Another example is the tradition of the most junior Marine walking left and abreast of the senior Marine when walking in pairs. I was unable to find an order that defined the Marine Corps customs and courtesies. So, we are ultimately left with what we are taught and shown from our time in boot camp to our senior leadership setting examples. Certain procedures are clearly outlined, such as the appropriate distance to salute officers, and the appropriate honors to render to the flag.
Customs are regular, expected actions. They have been repeated again and again and passed from one generation to the next. Customs are closely linked with tradition, and much esprit de corps of the United States Marine Corps service depends on their continued usage and maintenance. A custom has the force of law; usage is merely a fact. It happens because it is expected and required, uniquely with no official order or instruction. If not for their continued usage and upkeep and maintenance by United States Marine Corps Staff Noncommissioned and Noncommissioned Officers the customs that govern our day to day lives and interactions would cease to exist, and a state of social anarchy would ensue without a codified code of customs to adhere to.
A custom is a usual way of action in a set of given circumstances. It is a practice so long established that is has become a kind of law. An example of this is that there is no official instruction...