History Division
Marine Corps University Logo
Marine Corps University
Quantico, Virginia


History Division's (HD) primary task is to research and write the Marine Corps’ official history. HD also provides reference and research assistance; preserves personal experiences and observations through oral history interviews; and deploys field historians to record history in the making.

HD is organized into four branches:

1. Historical Branch: Prepares a wide variety of official publications that tell the Marine Corps story as accurately and comprehensively as possible. Publications include: articles, monographs, occasional papers, and definitive histories. 

2. Historical Resources Branch: Provides historical research and reference services and historical analysis. In addition, the Branch supports specific programs: Unit Lineage and Honors, Commemorative Naming, Marine Corps Flag Manual, and Marine Corps Chronology.

3. Field History Branch: Deploys Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) Detachment historians to collect historically relevant material (oral history, written/electronic plans, operation orders, maps, overlays and artifacts) for use as reference material. The Branch also consists of a Mobilization Training Unit (MTU) whose members support HD with specific projects.

MCO P5750.1H - Manual for the Marine Corps Historical Program provides the description, scope and authority for the Marine Corps History Division. That Order is provided here in PDF format for viewing or download.


For more than a century, the History Division's primary task has been to preserve and promulgate the official record of the Marine Corps in peacetime and in war. In doing so, its archivists collect and maintain research materials (official documents, special collections, maps, oral histories, photos, and film/video) so that its historians might research and write official accounts on operational, institutional, and doctrinal topics and events; unit histories and lineage; and the establishment and lifecycle of Marine Corps bases/stations. Because of its focus, the History Division is not staffed to retrieve materials from our archival holdings, make copies of research materials, or research general queries for the public. We can, however, provide you advice and guidance on how to conduct your own research. Our intent for the future is to provide the general public access to our holdings though a state-of-the-art online website. Until then, access to the majority of our holdings is by way of in-person visits only. Queries from Headquarters Marine Corps, Marine Corps units and commands, Department of Defense organizations and agencies, and other government agencies will, however, continue to be our priority.

For visiting researchers (military and civilian), the History Division is located in a secured facility with controlled access. All researchers must request an appointment at least a week in advance when visiting. Appointments can be made through We are located on the campus of the Marine Corps University on board Marine Corps Base Quantico in Northern Virginia, a secure military reservation. Please review the base’s access instructions on the Marine Corps Base Quantico website at

For immediate assistance, we ask that you visit our website at and search our current digitized collections. To expedite your research, consider the following:

  1. Search our Archives Branch at to see where the information you are looking for is held. If you think the document is held by the History Division, go into the research tools area at the left of the webpage to see if it is listed in one of the finding aids.

  2. Check our Frequently Requested Topics page to see if we have already posted an answer to your question.

  3. Check our online bookshelf at to study and to see if you can glean the information from materials we have published.

  4. For researchers seeking historical photos, please visit our Flickr page at or contact the National Archives in Washington, DC.

  5. Contact the Marine Corps Association and Foundation at or call (866) 622-1775 for access to past articles featured in the Marine Corps Gazette and/or Leatherneck and that provide insight into the Marine Corps and its history.

  6. Another source to consider for general Marine Corps history is your local library. Many of the most basic and even the most detailed questions about the Marine Corps can be answered with standard reference materials or by requesting specialized literature through interlibrary loan. Local libraries are one of our nation's most valuable resources and should be the first stop for anyone interested in pursuing research in Marine Corps history.

  7. Commonly requested topics often misdirected to the Marine Corps History Division center on awards, casualties, and service records. If you have queries on these topics, please follow these instructions:

a. AWARDS: For information on military awards (personal, unit, and service/campaign), please contact the Marine Corps Awards Branch, Headquarters Marine Corps at

b. CASUALTIES: For information on casualties and casualty cards, please submit a FOIA request at The request will be routed to Marine Corps Casualty Assistance Branch. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call HQMC FOIA  at 703-614-4008. 

c. SERVICE RECORDS: For information on obtaining service records, please contact either Manpower & Reserve Affairs (M&RA) or National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, MO. 

d. MAPS: For maps ranging from World War II to Vietnam, please use the go to the Library of Congress website and the associated map repository or the Vietnam Center and Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University at

e. UNIT AND COMMAND RECORDS (KOREA AND VIETNAM): For command chronologies and battle reports on Marine Corps units and commands during the Korean War and Vietnam War, please see Records of War at

  1. CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES: If you are inquiring from the office of a member of Congress, please direct your question to the Congressional Liaison Service, Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs.

  2. LOCATOR SERVICES: For information on finding living veterans or a veterans' group, please contact the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  3. DONATIONS. For anyone wishing to make a donation to the Marine Corps History Division, we consider archival donations on a case-by-case basis and only when the donations are of historical relevance (e.g., official documents, personal papers and special collections, maps, photos, film/video, and select Marine Corps history and doctrinal books) and research value. For material donations, such as Marine Corps uniform items, medals, and equipment, please contact the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

We thank you for your patronage, understanding, and support.


For Research Appointments, Archival Requests, Command Chronologies, Lineage and Honors, Streamer Requisitions, and General Historical Inquiries, please email us for assistance.


US Marine Corps History Division
2044 Broadway Street
Quantico, VA  22134


(703) 784-4685 (DSN:  278)




(8) Marine Corps History Division (@CorpsHistory) / X (



Open Monday--Friday, 0800--1600

(Closed on all federal holidays)


Operational Records of Marine Corps Units
The official record of activities of Marine units. 

Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF)
The official records of a Marine’s service in the Corps. 

Monthly Accounting of Personnel Records
Muster rolls (1798–1949) and unit diaries (1950–present). These records list the names of the U.S. Marines assigned in the unit down to the company level by month. 


The Marine Corps History Division holds a vast collection of historical materials that researchers may access. Click here for more information on what the Historical Resources Branch (archival records, personal papers, oral histories, Marine Corps University student papers, photographs, and more) holds and how to access the materials on site or remotely. 


Frequently Requested Topics

Research Tools, Facts, and Figures

Key Personalities in Marine Corps History

Select Brief Histories


For more than 100 years, History Division has been dedicated to preserving, promoting, and publishing the history of the U.S. Marine Corps. History Division accomplishes its mission by writing or contracting commemorative battlestudies, or full-length monographs on a variety of topics from the long history of the Corps.

To order a copy of an official history publication in the main catalog of books by topic, send an email with your name, address, and the title of the book to

To order from the warehouse of official histories, click HERE to choose from these select titles. 

Heroic Deeds, Heroic Men
The U.S. Marine Corps and the Final Phase of the Meuse-Argonne Campaign, 1-11 November 1918
David J. Bettez

The Mobility War
Marine Corps Helicopter Operations in Vietnam, 1962-1975

Adam Givens


General History General History: People General History: Units  General History: Humanitarian Operations
 Revolutionary War  Steam Navy  War with Mexico Civil War
 Banana Wars World War I World War II  Korean War 
 Cold War Vietnam War Gulf War  Iraq War 
 Afghanistan War      

Historical Branch

The Historical Branch records the official institutional and operational history of the Marine Corps. It prepares a wide variety of publications, ranging from pamphlets, monographs, and occasional papers to case-bound histories, for distribution within the Marine Corps, the Department of Defense, other Federal agencies, and to the general public. Publications produced by the branch are written works that provide an account of the planning, operational, logistical, developmental, and/or administrative activities of a specific unit, event, or period in Marine Corps history. 


In accordance with Marine Corps Order 5750.1H, the Histories Branch is responsible for recording the official institutional and operational history of the Marine Corps. Located in the Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons Marine Corps History Center on the Marine Corps University campus, the branch reports to the director of the History Division. It executes the director’s mission of preparing works that offer historical perspective and precedents to be used in decision making for policies, plans, doctrines, and techniques, and to support professional military education. Its historians are subject matter experts on the service’s history and prepare publications for distribution to the Marine Corps, the Department of Defense, other Federal agencies, and the general public. In service of this mission, the History Division and the writers in Histories Branch produce a variety of publications, including battle studies, monographs, and definitive histories. These works provide an objective and thorough account of the planning, operational, logistical, developmental, and administrative activities of a specific unit, event, or period, thus fostering esprit de corps and ensuring that the history of the Marine Corps is available for practical study.


The origins of what would become the Histories Branch dates to the months after World War I, when Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels directed the Navy and Marine Corps to prepare institutional histories of their wartime experiences. On September 8, 1919, Major General Commandant George Barnett established the Historical Section, Adjutant and Inspector’s Department at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, in Washington, D.C. In the subsequent decades, the History Division made several organizational changes, creating the Histories Branch and its three sister branches within the division, as well as a number of moves, from the Navy Annex at Arlington, Virginia to the Washington Navy Yard and finally to Marine Corps Base Quantico. Throughout, the mission to preserve and promote Marine Corps history has remained.

Types of Works

To find our entire catalog and stay up to date on the most recent publications, please go to the History Division's Publications page, which you can find here

Since the division was founded in 1919, its writers have been recording history that is applicable to Marines but appeals to other Federal agencies, scholars, and a general audience. The office produces a variety of publications of varying length in the fulfillment of its mission. These fall into three categories traditionally:

Historical Studies

The first are historical studies that reflect discussions occurring inside the Marine Corps and inform those responsible for making decisions that will shape the future of the service. These works can be three types:

Battle Studies: Short case studies of single battles or campaigns involving the Marine Corps. Their length can range from 15,000 to 40,000 words.

Reference Pamphlets: Concise narratives on narrow topics in the recent past, these are intended to keep Marines informed and to provide answers to the public. Authors generally have been Marine officers. Pamphlet length can range from 12,000 to 20,000 words.

Occasional Papers: Any product that is considered of intrinsic worth to the study of Marine Corps history but is not intended for mass publication. Design work is minimal and print runs are small. They can range from 10,000 to 190,000 words. 


The second are works that commemorate important events in Marine Corps history. They are derivative works written for a popular audience and are of one type:

Commemoratives: These short books (15,000-50,000 words) serve as History Division’s main contribution to Department of Defense efforts to commemorate major wars, in particular World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.  They focus on a specific campaign, operation, or theme of significance to the overall war effort.

Official Histories

The third category is official histories of the major wars that the Marine Corps has fought. In the production of these official histories, the office has followed an identifiable pattern for the last forty years:  

Anthologies: These are the first stage of official history and intended as an interim reference until there has been sufficient historical distance from the event. They are a compilation of articles, interviews, after-action reports, and other sources related to the study of a major topic in Marine Corps history. Primary material from the History Division’s Reference and Oral History Branches are also often included. They range from 70,000-160,000 words.

Monographs: These are the first draft of an official history and are the most common History Division publication. They are book-length studies of campaigns and operations of considerable duration (6-12 months) and can range from 15,000 to 150,000 words. The division also produces thematic monographs on topics such as African-Americans in the Marine Corps and women in the Marine Corps. 

Definitive Histories: These are the most comprehensive and highly detailed accounts of all aspects of Marine Corps operations during a major conflict that the History Division produces. They are the final stage in the process of producing official history, and use information from the anthologies and monographs. They draw on all available sources, from archives, oral histories, and secondary works. Definitive histories are usually divided into multiple volumes of 110,000 to 600,000 words each. 


As part of Marine Corps University and Education Command, the History Division and Histories Branch support MCU/EDCOM in the mission of preparing leaders to meet current and future security challenges and inform the public of the service’s role in national defense by preserving, presenting, and promoting the history of the Marine Corps. As the service’s institutional memory, the Histories Branch and its publications supply historical perspective and precedents to MCU students in their professional military education and encourage study and research on subjects relevant to Marine Corps history. This supports the MCU/EDCOM strategic plan of advancing the legacy of the Marine Corps’ warfighting excellence through a forward-thinking military academic institution.

In Marine Corps University Strategic Plan 2017-2022, Goal 5 focuses on university outreach: Leverage MCU’s scholarship, research, publishing, stewardship, learning opportunities, and conferencing capabilities in order to strengthen the MCU brand and to support the Marine Corps, the broader national security audience, and the public. Histories Branch helps achieve this goal through its publications but also by ensuring that its subject matter experts assist faculty and students in researching, writing, and publishing on a variety of topics that relate to national security, thereby promoting a greater understanding of the Marine Corps’ role in U.S. and world history. The branch therefore assists MCU in honoring the Marine Corps’ past while embracing the challenges of educating and training students to succeed in uncertain and unpredictable security environments.


Archives Branch

The Historical Resources Branch (formerly known as History Division Archives) collects, preserves, and provides access to primary source documentation pertaining to the history of the United States Marine Corps. It supports Marine Corps University, the United States Marine Corps, and civilian researchers.

Materials range in dates from 1773 to the present, and include a wide variety of formats. Holdings are comprised of:

  • Personal papers collections of Marines of all ranks

  • USMC command chronologies

  • Marine Corps University materials

  • Selected USMC records, documents and publications

  • Maps and drawings


The Historical Resources Branch processes and answers inquiries from military personnel, government agencies, scholars, veterans, and the general public. Currently the archive’s holdings are not accessible online. Requests for information about the branch and its holdings can be submitted by email, phone, letter, or in person. However, email is preferred. Requests should be submitted using the following contact information:


Phone: 703-784-4685

Address:  Director, Marine Corps History Division
                 Attn: Archives-Reference
                 2044 Broadway Street
                 Quantico, VA 22134

Archives staff will do limited research to answer questions; however, for extensive research projects we encourage users to visit the archive.


Per MCO 57150.1H, the Historical Resources Branch is the designated repository for all USMC command chronologies. Units are to submit their command chronologies to the archives using the reporting periods designated in MARADMIN 509/14.

Unclassified command chronologies should be sent to the following address:

Director, Marine Corps History Division
Attn: Historical Resources Branch
2044 Broadway Street
Quantico, VA 22134

Submissions can be made electronically if they (1) are in PDF format and (2) include the signed cover page and all listed supporting documents. A hard copy will not be required if the above requirements are met. Unclassified electronic submissions sent via email or AMRDEC Safe are acceptable. Please send them to this email:

For any questions concerning generation of, submission of, and access to command chronologies, please call 703-784-4685 or email


Personal Papers Collections
More than 5,000 collections of correspondence, diaries, photographs, drawings, scrapbooks, and other personal items created and collected by Marines ranging from corporals to commandants.

USMC Command Chronologies
Original versions of Marine Corps command chronologies submitted between 1976 and present. Electronic versions of units deployed between 1965 and 1975.

Marine Corps University Materials
Student papers from Marine Corps University schools. Select syllabi, reading lists, course requirements, and instructors’ and professors’ research materials.

USMC Records, Documents, and Publications
Select after-action reports, bulletins, manuals, orders, studies, tables of organization, and tables of equipment.

Maps and Drawings
Maps and overlays from Marine Corps campaigns and operations. Schematic drawings of early amphibious landing craft and historic facilities.


The Historical Resources Branch welcomes donation offers of personal papers. Personal papers are comprised of, but not limited to, correspondence, memoirs, diaries, scrapbooks, albums, maps, plans, and photographs pertaining to the history of the Marine Corps generated and/or collected by individuals.

The Historical Resources Branch may not be able to accept all of the items offered for donation. Offers are handled on a case-by-case basis and evaluated by and decided on by archives staff using established criteria.

For any questions concerning donation offers, please call 703-784-4685 or email

Film and Video History

From the First World War to the present, the proud history of the Marine Corps is captured on film and videotape.

The History Division collection of moving image media includes some 20,000 films and 12,000 videotapes. While the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the official repository of Marine Corps footage depicting combat, heads of state, commandants, there are additional copies of some of those films at the History Division. In addition to the copies, our collection primarily preserves behind-the-lines support and planning. This includes combined arms, inter-service, and joint international training exercises, as well as interventions and humanitarian missions. We have a solid collection of recruiting and MOS videos, 1990s videos of over 200 embassies, and MC birthday messages that date back to WWII. Also represented in our collection are changes of command, ceremonial events, bands and drill teams, all significant memorials for the Corps.

We digitized most of the History Division collection. All of the films and videos are accessioned in a searchable database, which supplants the need for finding aids that go out of date quickly. Security protocols prohibit outside access to the database, but requests for information will be handled by the professional historians at the History Division. Better results are obtained with a conference between the requestor and the historian, either in person or by phone. Media that is already digitized can usually be forwarded via a link on a cloud based system.

To visit our YouTube site, click here


The History Division is supported by two reserve organizations, together which form the Field History Branch of the History Division (HD). While their missions are similar, each is composed of a different category of reservists: first, the IMA Detachment, is composed of members of the Selected Marine Corps Reserve (SMCR), who attend drill once a month, or in back-to-back “stacked” drills, and Annual Training Duty for two weeks each year. Members of the IMA Det are at a higher level of training and readiness for mobilization and deployment. The second reserve organization, MTU DC-7, is composed of members of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) who do not meet regularly for drill, but who may complete up to 27 days of Reserve Counterpart Training (RCT) orders per year; additionally, MTU members can earn points without pay throughout the year assisting HD with various tasks. Members of both organizations are also available for mobilization to complete the History Division's wartime task, overseas as well as at HD’s Quantico location. The administration of both organizations is the responsibility of the History Division Director, the IMA OIC, and the MTU OIC--assisted by the Quantico Reserve Support Unit (RSU).


The mission of the Field History Branch is to assist the Director of Marine Corps History Division in his responsibilities to "record, preserve, and disseminate the cumulative, operational, and institutional experience of the Marine Corps." The detachment accomplishes this task through a variety of activities: (1) collection of oral history, documentary, visual (photography and combat art), and artifactual history of the Marine Corps, accomplished by deployed field historians and combat artists with Marine Corps operational forces and joint service commands; (2) performing research and writing on historical subjects as assigned by the director; (3) creating artworks reflective of Marine Corps operations and historical subjects as assigned by the Director; and, (4) cataloging documents and other materials into the History Division archives.


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