US Rep wants Marine name added to Navy

For eight years, U.S. Rep. Walter Jones has tried to get the United States Marine Corps the recognition he believes the branch deserves.

Jones, a Republican who represents North Carolina's 3rd Congressional District -- which includes Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point -- has introduced legislation in every congressional session since 2001 to rename the Department of the Navy.

On the first day of the 111th Congress, Jones relaunched his efforts, introducing a bill Tuesday to redesignate the Department of the Navy as the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps. It has been referred to the House Armed Services Committee.

"There isn't a subordinate relationship between the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps," Jones said in a statement. "They are equivalent parts of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and it is time to recognize their equal status."

Jones' bill is symbolic, he said, of the Corps' role in defending the nation.

The Corps has operated as a component of the Navy since its creation in 1775.

Jones is seeking cosponsors for the legislation and likely will find a friend in S.C. Republican Joe Wilson, who represents the state's 2nd Congressional District, which includes Beaufort County.

Wilson was among 152 members of the House who cosponsored Jones' attempt in 2007 to rename the Navy, and said he's likely to attach his name to Jones' latest bill.