Bill that Adds ‘Marine Corps’ Name to Department of Navy Advances in Senate
Sen. Johnny Isakson Becomes Newest S. 504 Co-sponsor
Washington D.C. – April 12, 2010 – Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia has become the newest co-sponsor of S. 504, a bill that would change the name of the Department of the Navy to the “Department of the Navy and Marine Corps.”
Isakson, who serves on the Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, has been an ardent supporter of military issues—voting in recent years to increase voting rights for overseas military spouses and to improve educational assistance for veterans.
The senator said it was finally time to give the Marine Corps equal recognition with the Navy.
“This bill is not about creating a separate department or giving the Marine Corps special status,” said Isakson, a Georgia Air National Guard veteran. “This bill is simply about paying our respect to a branch of the military that truly deserves it. I look forward to supporting its passage.”
For over two centuries, the Marine Corps has been part of the Navy. However, the branch is not mentioned at the department level or even in the letterhead of condolence letters sent to the parents of fallen Marines.
S. 504 was introduced in 2009 by Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas. The proposed legislation is a companion bill to HR 24, introduced by Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina. Jones has attempted to enact the name change for eight years, but for the first time his efforts have paid off in two stand-alone bills.
HR 24 appears poised to pass the House this year, with 395 co-sponsors. However, the process has just started in the Senate.
The ability to get near full support in the House is largely due to the Marine Corps League, the nation’s largest Marine veterans’ association, which decided in 2009 to back the issue with a grassroots legislative campaign. Since then, the movement has gained supporters including:
- Actor R. Lee Ermey, “Gunny”, star of Full Metal Jacket, and current spokesman of Marine Corps Identity Cause
- Gen. Anthony Zinni, former commander of U.S. Central Command
- Gen. Alfred Gray, commandant of the Marine Corps from 1987 to 1991
- Lawrence Garrett, former Secretary of the Navy
Ermey says the simple act of honorable mention would be appreciated by all Marines.
“When senators look at this bill, it’s important for them to remember that my beloved Marine Corps isn’t even mentioned in the letterhead of a condolence letter,” Ermey said. “Properly honoring our Marines, who have been shedding blood overseas for centuries, is one of the few things I think we all can agree on. It’s time to finally get this done.”