Stop War America: A Marines Story

The battle for Okinawa: one Marine’s story
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At the outbreak of war, owing to a shortage of khaki cloth, Marine forces wore their standard blue wool uniforms.

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Later, a brown linen "campaign suit" was adopted, to be worn in conjunction with the felt campaign hat. Equipment consisted of a wide belt with attached x-suspenders and ammunition pouches, all made of black leather; a canteen, haversack, plus bayonet scabbard. Lejeune landed in Fajardo in order to seize boats for a subsequent landing by Army forces. While they were waiting for the Army, they were attacked by strong Spanish forces in a night attack. In the subsequent Philippine—American War , Marines played little role in fighting but did serve as occupiers and peacekeepers.

In all, fifteen Marines would earn the Medal of Honor, most of them at Cienfuegos; and additional six in the Philippines. The successful landing at Guantanamo and the readiness of the Marines for the Spanish—American War were in contrast to the slow mobilization of the United States Army in the war. In , the General Board of the United States Navy decided to give the Marine Corps primary responsibility for the seizure and defense of advanced naval bases.

The Marine Corps formed an expeditionary battalion to be permanently based in the Caribbean, which subsequently practiced landings in in preparation for a war with Germany over their siege in Venezuela.

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Marines stayed in Panama, with brief intermissions as they were deployed for other actions, until In , the Commandant George Barnett authorized the creation of an aviation company consisting of 10 officers and 40 enlisted men. Marines played a role in China , which would continue on through to the s.

The Boxers , seeking to drive all foreigners from China and eradicate foreign influences, became violent and began murdering westerners. The remaining foreigners banded together in the Beijing Legation Quarter and were protected by a small military force, which included 56 Marines, until reinforcements from the Eight-Nation Alliance , including the Army's 9th Infantry Regiment and a battalion of Marines stationed in the Philippines, arrived on 14 August to end the rebellion. These actions became known as the " Banana Wars ", and the experiences gained in counter-insurgency and guerrilla operations during this period were consolidated into the Small Wars Manual in Action in these places south of the United States continued through World War I , and after for many.

Many of these actions were part of the Monroe Doctrine ; that is, the efforts of the United States to prevent further colonization and interference in the Western Hemisphere. Marines occasionally had to fight against their reputation as the private army of the State Department. The battalion, which had occupied Panama since that nation's independence from Colombia in , would remain until , with intermissions where it was sent to Nicaragua, Veracruz, and Haiti.

After establishing Guantanamo Bay Naval Base , the Marines assisted in the occupation from to under military governor Leonard Wood , and again from to , , and from to Marines returned to occupy Nicaragua from to in order to prevent the construction of the Nicaragua Canal without American control.

Marines also returned to Mexico during the Mexican Revolution. Around midnight, additional ships arrived, bring with them Maj Butler and his battalion from Panama, and in the morning, captured the Veracruz Naval Academy. Another regiment under Colonel Lejeune arrived that afternoon, and by the 24th, the entire city was secure. On 1 May, Colonel Littleton Waller arrived with a third regiment and took command of the brigade. Marines were gradually replaced with soldiers and returned to their ships until the American withdrawal on 23 November.

Fifty-six Medals of Honor were awarded, including Butler's first. Marines saw action in the Dominican Republic in , , and , [86] then occupied it from until Locals began a resistance that lasted until , and the Marines were withdrawn the following year, with a total of three having earned the Medal of Honor. Marines would return in The Marines also occupied Haiti from 28 July until 1 August When Cacos overthrew the government and the possibility of an anti-American Rosalvo Bobo became the likely president of Haiti, President Woodrow Wilson sent the Marines in to secure American business dominance, but publicly announced to "re-establish peace and order".

After organized armed resistance was over, the governance from the United States began to improve infrastructure and living conditions, but denied the Haitians any real self-governeance. The latter would later express his disapproval of the occupation and gunboat diplomacy in his book War Is a Racket. The Marines would return to Haiti in and Marine Aviators began to experiment with air-ground tactics during the Banana Wars and making the support of their fellow Marines on the ground their primary mission.

It was in Haiti that Marines began to develop the tactic of dive bombing and in Nicaragua where they began to perfect it. While other nations and services had tried variations of this technique, Marine aviators were the first to embrace it and make it part of their tactical doctrine. Unlike the majority of Allied armies, the Marine Corps had a deep pool of officers and non-commissioned officers with battle experience, and experienced a smaller growth.

From 1 to 26 June, Marines fought their celebrated Battle of Belleau Wood , then the largest in the history of the Corps, creating their reputation in modern history. Rallying under the battle cries of "Retreat? Hell, we just got here! While its previous expeditionary experience had not earned it much acclaim in the Western world, the Marines' fierceness and toughness earned them the respect of the Germans, who rated them of storm-trooper quality.

Though Marines and American media reported that Germans had nicknamed them "Teufelhunden" [ sic ] [note 1] or " Devil Dogs ", there is no evidence of this in German records. Nevertheless, the name stuck, such as a famous recruiting poster. The French government renamed the forest to "Bois de la Brigade de Marine" "Wood of the Marine Brigade" , and decorated both the 5th and 6th Regiments with the Croix de Guerre three times each.

Roosevelt , then Secretary of the Navy, authorized them to henceforth wear on the left shoulder of their dress and service uniforms. Near the end of the war in June , Marines were landed at Vladivostok in Russia to protect American citizens at the consulate and other places from the fighting of the Russian Civil War.

2. The Marines’ first battle took place in the Bahamas.

The Marine Corps had entered the war with officers and 13, enlisted personnel and, by 11 November , had reached a strength of 2, officers and 70, enlisted. It was used in France as a junior version of the army infantry, and Marines realized that was a dead end. In the early 20th century they had acquired the new mission of police control of Central American countries partly occupied by the US.

That mission became another dead end when the nation adopted a "Good Neighbor Policy" toward Latin America, and renounced further invasions. The corps needed a new mission, one distinct from the army. Its special role was amphibious landings on enemy-held islands, but it took years to figure out how to do that. The Mahanian notion of a decisive fleet battle required forward bases for the navy close to the enemy.

After the Spanish—American War the Marines gained the mission of occupying and defending those forward bases, and they began a training program on Culebro Island, Puerto Rico. The emphasis at first was on defending the forward base against enemy attack; they would be like the Turks who in inflicted , casualties on the British, Australian and New Zealand invaders of Gallipoli, forcing their withdrawal.

As early as the Navy's General Board considered building advance bases for naval operations in the Pacific and the Caribbean. The Marine Corps was given this mission in , but the challenge was to avoid another disaster like Gallipoli. The conceptual breakthrough came in when Major "Pete" Ellis wrote "Advanced Base Operations in Micronesia" a secret 30,word manifesto that proved inspirational to Marine strategists and highly prophetic.

If the Navy could land Marines to seize selected islands, they could become forward bases. Ellis argued that with an enemy prepared to defend the beaches, success depended on high-speed movement of waves of assault craft, covered by heavy naval gunfire and attack from the air. He predicted the decision would take place on the beach itself, so the assault teams would need not just infantry but also machine gun units, light artillery, light tanks, and combat engineers to defeat beach obstacles and defenses.

Assuming the enemy had its own artillery, the landing craft would have to be specially built to protect the landing force.

The failure at Gallipoli came because the Turks could easily reinforce the specific landing sites. The Japanese would be unable to land new forces on the islands under attack. Not knowing which of the many islands would be the American target, the Japanese would have to disperse their strength by garrisoning many islands that would never be attacked. An island like Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands, would, Ellis estimated, require two regiments, or 4, Marines.

Indeed, in February the Marines seized Eniwetok with 4, men in three battalions. Guided by Marine observer airplanes, and supplemented by Marine light bombers, warships would provide sea-going artillery firepower so that Marines would not need any heavy artillery in contrast to the Army, which relied heavily on its artillery. Shelling defended islands was a new mission for warships.

Actual implementation of the new mission took another decade because the Corps was preoccupied in Central America, the Navy was slow to start training in how to support the landings, and a new kind of ship had to be invented to hit the beaches without massive casualties. In British and American ship architects invented a new class of "landing ship" to solve the problem. They were large tons and slow 10 knots ; officially known as "Landing Ship Tank," the passengers called them "Large Stationary Targets. Together with 2, other landing craft, the LSTs gave the Marines and Army soldiers a protected, quick way to make combat landings, beginning in summer In , a "Fleet Marine Force" was established with the primary mission of amphibious landings.

The Force was a brigade with attached Marine aviation units that were trained in observation and ground support. By paying special attention to communications between ground and air, and between shore and sea, they developed an integrated three-dimensional assault force. By , having adding enough men, the appropriate equipment, and a rigorous training program, the Marine Corps had worked out, in theory, its doctrine of amphibious assaults.

Under the combat leadership of Holland "Howlin Mad" Smith, the general most responsible for training, the Marines were ready to hit the beaches. And victory, seemingly in reach, evaporated, leaving the war to slog on for several more years.

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Knighten, Lee Rayford, and C. Marine Corps cameraman who spent much of in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan with a battalion of the 6th Marine Regiment based in North Carolina. Once the quality of new recruits started to improve, the Marines began reforming their NCO corps, an absolutely vital element in the functioning of the Marine Corps. No matter how much American leaders might want to change the situation, their options were limited. Green reads the benediction at the marriage ceremony of Pfc.

The Chosin Reservoir battle has become one of the most storied exploits of grit and sacrifice in Marine Corps history. In the words of Commanding General Oliver P.

The WW2 Battle for Okinawa: One Marine’s Story - HistoryExtra

Click here to read more about why North and South Korea were divided. White, who spent his formative years in Idaho, Missouri and eastern Washington state, saw his father move from job to job as a bookkeeper to keep the family afloat during the Depression. As a high-school freshman in Spokane in , White idealized young pilots training for war, who seemed ever-popular with the girls.

By the time of his graduation and 18th birthday in , he switched gears, signing up for the Marine Corps. Like many Midwesterners, his family moved to California where preparations for World War II were revitalizing the economy. With his father working in the Oakland shipyards and relatives fighting the war in Europe and the Pacific, Whited was chomping at the bit to enlist. And man, that was the end of the line. So back I went.

1. According to legend, the first Marine Corps recruitments took place in a bar.

For the two men, the Marine Corps began as a job. Nor did they pay heed to the escalating events of the Cold War —like the division of Korea into two superpower-backed spheres of influence, separated at the 38 parallel. Click here for the story of two Japanese-Americans who fought the Nazis in Europe—and discrimination at home. Robert Whited in Guam prior to his deployment in Korea.

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Neither man had given any thought to Korea when they learned that the U. Over the following weeks, the U. His plan? To land troops behind enemy lines at Inchon , a port city just west of Seoul, and retake the South Korean capital. At Kimpo Airbase, his squadron found itself run through by North Koreans. It was the dark of night. We got attacked… There were North Koreans…trying to flee from the onslaught from the South.