Marine Corps League Logo

History of the Marine Corps League

The Marine Corps League preserves the traditions and spirit of ALL Marines and Navy FMF Corpsmen, who proudly wear or have worn the eagle, globe and anchor of the Corps. It takes great pride in crediting its founding in 1923 to World War I hero, then Major General Commandant John A. Lejeune.

It takes equal pride in its Federal Charter, approved by An Act of the 75th Congress of the United States of America, and signed and approved by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 4, 1937. The League is the only Federally Chartered Marine Corps related veterans’ organization in the country.

Since its earliest days, the Marine Corps League has enjoyed the support and encouragement of active duty and Reserve establishments of the U. S. Marine Corps. Today, the League boasts a membership of more than 62,000 men and women, officer and enlisted, active duty and reserve Marines, honorably discharged Marine Veterans and qualified Navy FMF Corpsmen and Chaplains. Moreover, the Marine Corps League is one of the few Veterans Organizations that experiences increases in its membership each year.

Marine Corps League Charter and FDR
Marine Corps League Charter and FDR

It takes equal pride in its Federal Charter, approved by An Act of the 75th Congress of the United States of America, and signed and approved by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 4, 1937. The League is the only Federally Chartered Marine Corps related veterans’ organization in the country.

Since its earliest days, the Marine Corps League has enjoyed the support and encouragement of active duty and Reserve establishments of the U. S. Marine Corps. Today, the League boasts a membership of more than 62,000 men and women, officer and enlisted, active duty and reserve Marines, honorably discharged Marine Veterans and qualified Navy FMF Corpsmen. Moreover, the Marine Corps League is one of the few Veterans Organizations that experiences increases in its membership each year.

Major Bernard Francis Hickey: USMC

Major Bernard Francis (B.F.) Hickey

Bernard Francis Hickey was born on Jan. 16, 1883, in Syracuse, NY. He was appointed midshipman on July 10, 1903, from New York and commissioned in 1908. He resigned from the Navy in 1911, after having served as a submarine commander. He then joined the U.S. Marines Corps, where his promotions came rapidly.

Read About Major Hickey's Service History
  • Appointed a 2nd Lieutenant on June 23, 1911, at Washington, D.C., he reported to Marine Officers School on September 2, 1911.
  • Absent on temporary tropical shore service from May 25, 1912, Major Hickey joined Co. C, 1st Regiment, 1st Provincial Brigade Marines at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He then rejoined Norfolk on August 6, 1912. Hickey was awarded the Certificate of Proficiency, Marine Officers School, No. 1. And detached from Norfolk on September 18, 1912, where he proceeded to join Marine Barracks, Annapolis, MD, on September 20, 1912, for duty with a Marine detachment being assembled for WYOMING.
  • He was then detached on September 27, 1912, to the USS WYOMING and joined on September 27, 1912 as a junior officer and embarked with the detachment on the MONTANA.
  • Hickey then arrived at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on January 30, 1915, for temporary foreign tropical shore service as Headquarters Detachment, Atlantic Fleet Regiment.
  • He then rejoined the WYOMING on February 8, 1915, and detached on June 19, 1915, to Marine Barracks, Philadelphia, PA.
  • He joined Marine Barracks, Philadelphia, PA on July 3, 1915, for duty with 1st Brigade, but was detached to temporary foreign shore service to 22 Co. 1st Regiment on August 10, at Port au Prince, Haiti.
  • Hickey was then promoted to 1st Lt. on September 25, 1916. He later detached on December 31, 1916, from temporary expeditionary duty to permanent duty with 1st Prov. Brigade Marine Corp, Haiti. 
  • Hickey detached in January to the United States and joined Marine Barracks, Philadelphia, PA, on February 10, 1917, for duty with the 1st Regiment, Advanced Base Force.
  • He was temporarily promoted to Major on September 6, 1918, and on November 4, 1918, he was assigned to service in the Adjutant and Inspectors Dept. of the Marine Corp. detached on November 8, 1918.
  • He then joined 1st Prov. Brigade Marines, Haiti.  And on December 1, 1918, he was detailed as Brigade Adjutant. 
  • Temporary appointment as Major was on revoked July 31, 1919 and Hickey reverted to his permanent rank of Captain.
  • Hickey then was on detached duty from Brigade Headquarters to Gendarmerie Detachment from October 11, 1919 to March 25, 1920.
  • On January 15, 1920, he participated in an engagement against bandits at Port au Prince, Haiti.
  • On March 26, 1920, Hickey was relieved from duty with the Brigade Headquarters and assigned to duty with the Haitian Gendarmerie.
  • He then detached on June 6, 1923, to the American Embassy, Tokyo, Japan as the Language Officer. He was commended for his outstanding work there during the earthquake in 1923.

Major Hickey retired in 1927 and was later Chief of Police in Haiti, as a member of the American military occupation, which lasted from 1915 to 1934.

Major Hickey moved to St Petersburg with his family in 1935, coming from Washington, D.C. He was an active worker in civic and welfare work in the city and a founder and organizer of the Happy Hour Club for the blind. He took a leading part for many years in many civic programs and was chairman of the Christmas Seal sales in 1940. He was also an ardent promoter of St Petersburg as a deep sea and Naval base, and worked in that direction for many years.