The Rifleman's Creed is a short set of principles memorized by every U.S. Marine recruit during boot camp. Written by Major General William H. Rupertus during World War II, the creed expresses the close relationship each marine is expected to have with his rifle.
Marines are trained primarily as riflemen no matter what other specialty they possess. To maintain a focus on the rifle and marine relationship, Major General Rupertus wrote and released the creed so that fresh recruits could understand how critical the rifle was to the marine. He created the creed in response to a 1942 challenge by Captain Robert White, a public relations officer. White suggested that Rupertus write an editorial entitled "My Rifle Is My Life." Rupertus dismissed the idea as too preachy, but he liked the title.
That night, he wrote the creed, which he said was about "something so deep, a conviction so great, a faith so lasting that no one should have to be preached to about it." He handed this scrap of paper to Captain White the next day. The Rifleman's Creed has been memorized by marine recruits since that day. All other major U.S. military branches have their own creeds, but none is so lyrical nor so focused on a single critical relationship.