Executive Order 969
In accordance with the power vested in me by section 1619, Revised Statutes of the United States, the following duties are assigned to the United States Marine Corps:
- (1) To garrison the different navy-yards and naval stations, both within and beyond the continental limits of the United States.
- (2) To furnish the first line of the mobile defense of naval bases and naval stations beyond the continental limits of the United States.
- (3) To man such naval defenses, and to aid in manning, if necessary, such other defenses, as may be erected for the defense of naval bases and naval stations beyond the continental limits of the United States.
- (4) To garrison the Isthmian Canal Zone, Panama.
- (5) To furnish such garrisons and expeditionary forces for duties beyond the seas as may be necessary in time of peace.
The White House
- November 12, 1908.
One intended effect of this order was to remove marines from U.S. Navy ships (along with giving them additional duties elsewhere), as there were no shipboard duties listed. Naval orders were subsequently issued which actually did withdraw marines from aboard ships. The situation led to hearings before Congress in January 1909, and the Congress later modified the naval appropriations bill to specify that 8 percent of the enlisted men on battleships and armored cruisers should be marines, thus restoring shipboard duties.
Some references give the date of this order as March 3, 1909, just before Roosevelt left office; however that is referring to a separate order which Roosevelt had the Navy Department issue on that date ("Changes in Regulations", which specified that a ship's commanding officer would determine the duties of the onboard Marine detachments; that was the same day he signed the naval appropriations bill). On March 26, 1909, that change was reverted by President Taft, also by way of a Navy Department order (a second "Changes in Regulations").