The leatherneck ran up to them, blurted out his story, gazed at them imploringly and thrust the puppies into their hands.
It showed the utter unselfishness of the American doughboy, gob, and leatherneck.
"U.S. Marine," 1914, Navy slang, from leather + neck (n.). So called for the leather collars of their early uniforms; earlier in British use (1890) as a sailor's term for a soldier.
A US Marine; gyrene
[1914+ Navy; fr the leather collars of their early uniforms; the term is found by 1890 as British sailors' name for a soldier]