The Absolute Best of US Marine Corps Photography (Part 3)

July 24, 2015 Updated: October 5, 2018

I have to admit, browsing through the archives of U.S. Marine Corps photographers, I had to raise my standard for what constitutes a good picture. I’ve already put together two selections, as you can check here and here, and I wanted the third one to stand out.

Whether I succeeded you can judge for yourself.

Bit of Trivia

I’ve already noted some basic stats and historical background of the Marine Corps in my previous galleries, so let’s take a look at some more fun facts this time.

You may have heard Marines being called “leathernecks.” Well, that’s because they actually used to wear leather collars during the 19th century as a protection against neck sword wounds.

You may have also heard the nickname “Devil Dogs.” Allegedly, German soldiers addressed Marines as such during the World War I. It is also possible, however, that the nickname was more popular among American media than within the German military.

Ironically, the most modern nickname of all is also the most unclear. Yes, the “jarheads.” Not only I couldn’t pinpoint the exact time when this moniker surfaced, I also discovered a notable body of explanations as to its original meaning.

The most common one refers to the “high and tight” haircut of Marines that, supposedly, makes their heads look like jars. I have to say though I can’t see much similarity there.

An article on offers a rather original explanation: “The sailors claimed that the stiff neck of the dress uniform made it look like the Marine’s head was sticking out of a Mason jar.”

Yet, I couldn’t easily corroborate this avenue of thought.

The presents a whole series of rationalizations. For example, during the World War II “some steel helmets were made by the Mason jar company,” hence Marines wearing them would be called jarheads.

Another suggests the nickname refers to the old Marine Corps hats.

Yet another talks about a “resemblance of Marine Corps dress blue uniform to a mason jar.”

Well, let me know what you think.

But there’s another explanation out there. Marines are called “jarheads” for following orders to the point of having no individual thoughts, i.e. having no brain inside their heads.

There the meaning would be two-pronged.

On one hand, it would be a compliment to Marines’ willingness to fulfill their orders beyond doubt or concern for personal safety.

On the other, it would be an attempt at an insult, saying the drills beat all sense out of the men.

As I don’t know any Marines personally, I can’t really make a judgement call on this account.

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