Oral History


The Oral History Section of the Marine Corps History Division manages the oral history program.  Its mission is documenting Marine Corps historical events and developments through the spoken word.  The oral history program began in 1965 as the Marine Corps became heavily involved in Vietnam. The focus was, and remains, interviewing Marines involved in current operations, or field histories. 

As a result, the program has produced a large collection of field interviews that capture Marine perspectives and experiences in operations and developments from 1965 to the current time.  The collection also contains interviews with veteran Marines who speak of events and activities as far back as the Spanish-American War. 

Another priority mission of the oral history program is collecting career-length interviews of ranking Marine leaders, and other distinguished Marines.  The transcripts produced from these interviews are fully transcribed, edited, indexed and bound to produce a valuable and useful reference product. 

The oral history section also accepts donations from individuals or organizations that interview Marines, or others’, whose interviews add to the accumulated knowledge of Marine Corps history.  We do require that donated interviews be of good quality and provide useful historical information.  We also ask that individuals who wish to donate to the Marine Corps oral history collection follow our guidelines and processing procedures (see below). 

In recent years a large scale digitization effort has been in effect.  As a result most of our oral history products are now in a digital format.  Because of the various collection activities, the oral history collection consists of approximately 35,000 interviews that cover the spectrum of historical events in which Marines have been involved throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. 

As noted we welcome interviews from outside individuals and organizations.  Please review the Oral History Primer for specific instructions and requirements.

Distinguished Marine Career Interview Transcripts

These interviews reflect the opinions of the individual Marines interviewed and do not represent the official position or opinions of the United States Marine Corps. Interview transcripts may contain mature language.

Career Interview Catalog

Since 1965 the Marine Corps History Division has conducted extensive and in-depth oral history interviews with distinguished Marines and influential leaders of the Corps.  This is the third revised edition of the catalog listing these interviews.  All of the interviews listed in this catalog are available through the Oral History Office at the U.S. Marine Corps History Division. 

Vietnam Interview Catalog

The U.S. Marine Corps Oral History Program began in 1965 when the Commandant, General Wallace M. Greene, ordered that field interviews be conducted in Vietnam to better document the war and provide “living history.”  This established the top priority for the History Division’s Oral History Program, interviewing active duty Marines involved in current and historically significant operations.  Over 10,000 interviews were collected in Vietnam with Marines of all ranks and MOS’s during that war.  A catalog of most of these interviews is displayed here.  The interviews listed are available through the Oral History Office at the U.S. Marine Corps History Division.

For inquiries contact history.division@usmcu.edu or call (703) 784-3844, (703) 436-4611.