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This Month In USMC History
1 October 1997:
The first African-American female colonel in the Marine Corps was promoted to that rank during a ceremony at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina. Colonel Gilda A. Jackson, a native of Columbus, Ohio, made Marine Corps history when she achieved the rank of colonel. She was serving as Special Projects Officer, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing at the time of her promotion.

5 October 1775:
Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the 2d Continental Congress used the word "Marines" on one of the earliest known occasions, when it directed General George Washington to secure two vessels on "Continental risque and pay", and to give orders for the "proper encouragement to the Marines and seamen" to serve on the two armed ships.

6 October 1945:
Major General Keller E. Rockey, Commanding General, III Amphibious Corps, accepted the surrender of 50,000 Japanese troops in North China on behalf of the Chinese Nationalist government.

8 October 1889:
A force of 375 Marines under command of future Commandant George F. Elliott, attacked and captured the insurgent town of Novaleta, Luzon, Philippine Islands, and linked up with U.S. Army troops. There were 11 Marine casualties.

9 October 1917:
The 8th Marines was activated at Quantico, Virginia. Although the regiment would not see combat in Europe during World War I, the officers and enlisted men of the 8th Marines participated in operations against dissidents in Haiti for over five years during the 1920s. During World War II, the regiment was assigned to the 2d Marine Division and participated in combat operations on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa, and earned three Presidential Unit Citations.

11 October 1951:
A Marine battalion was flown by transport helicopters to a frontline combat position for the first time, when HMR-161 lifted the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, and its equipment, during Operation Bumblebee, northeast of Yanggu, Korea.

19 October 1968:
Operation Maui Peak, a combined regimental-sized operation which began on 6 October, ended 11 miles northwest of An Hoa, Vietnam. More than 300 enemy were killed in the 13-day operation.

23 October 1983:
At 0622 an explosive-laden truck slammed into the BLT headquarters building in Beirut, Lebanon, where more than 300 men were billeted. The massive explosion collapsed the building in seconds, and took the lives of 241 Americans--including 220 Marines. This was the highest loss of life in a single day for Marines since D-Day on Iwo Jima in 1945.

28 October 1962:
An 11,000-man 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade left Camp Pendleton by sea for the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis. One week earlier, the entire 189,000-man Marine Corps had been put on alert and elements of the 1st and 2d Marine Divisions were sent to Guantanamo Bay to reinforce the defenders of the U.S. Naval Base. Other 2d Division units and squadrons from five Marine Aircraft Groups were deployed at Key West, Florida, or in Caribbean waters during the Cuban crisis.

31 October 1919:
A patrol of Marines and gendarmes, led by Sergeant Herman H. Hanneken, disguised themselves as Cacos and entered the headquarters of the Haitian Caco Leader, Charlemagne Peralte, killing the bandit chief, and dispersing his followers. Sergeant Hanneken and Corporal William R. Button were each awarded the Medal of Honor.

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Pearl Harbor survivors return for final reunion

For decades after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, survivors returned to retell their stories and recite their mantra: “Remember Pearl Harbor.”

Now, the people who survived the surprise attack that killed more than 2,400 people and led to America’s entry into World War II are in their 80s or older. Dying or too frail to travel, they say this week’s reunion will be their last official gathering at the sacred site.

“We’re getting to be fewer and fewer in numbers,” said Lee Soucy, 87, of Plainview, Texas. Soucy recalled treating injured sailors who jumped from flaming ships during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet. He was in Hawaii this week for the last time.

“Some of us are dying off and some of us are getting incapacitated,” he said.

They have been meeting and swapping stories all week, and will observe an official memorial Thursday. The last reunion at Pearl Harbor was in 2001. About 650 veterans were there. This year, the number dropped to about 450, said George Sullivan, director of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fund and chairman of the Arizona Memorial Museum Association.

“They’re doing this because they’re aging and the travel is difficult,” Sullivan said.

Their deeds and recollections will not be forgotten. The fund was created to raise $50 million for a new museum where oral history about the battle will be preserved for younger generations. Recordings and written histories are being collected at this week’s reunion and over the Internet.

With the attack now 65 years in the past, even local chapters of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association are folding, said Norman Lancaster, 92, treasurer of the Arlington, Va., chapter. “We feel that we’ll come to a point where there’s not enough people.”

Some survivors feel that sharing stories about the attack is a good way to ward off another sneak attack.

“We got caught with our pants down,” Soucy said. “We thought we were invincible, the most powerful nation on Earth ... and that’s what worries me now.”

The Japanese struck at 7:45 a.m. In less than two hours, nearly the entire U.S. Navy fleet in the Pacific — about 80 ships — was destroyed or disabled. Two waves of 353 Japanese aircraft took off from aircraft carriers that had arrived undetected. They hammered the military installation with torpedoes and bombs.

“The significance of this battle is that it was really the birth of the aircraft carrier being the lead ship in the Navy today,” Sullivan said. “It was no longer a surface battle from ship to ship. It now was a battle where the aircraft became the main weapon.”

Jack Evans, now 82 and living in Corcoran, Calif., had a great view of incoming enemy aircraft from his observation post in a crow’s nest on the battleship Tennessee.

A torpedo plane crossed the West Virginia and the Tennessee’s bow, at the same height as Evans.

“As he went by, the rear-seat gunner looked at me and I looked at him. He was so close I could see his eyes, and I could see his teeth, and it was just like being next door to each other,” Evans said.

He watched as the battleship West Virginia sunk to the bottom of the harbor and the battleship Oklahoma capsized. A bomb struck one of the Tennessee’s turrets and shot shrapnel into Evans’ legs. Smoke from the burning fuel oil was so thick he had to breathe through his shirt.

Lancaster, who was directing anti-aircraft fire on the light cruiser Phoenix, said he saw many men trying to get away from the smoke and the heat of burning fuel and exploding ammunition.

“They were trying to jump from that crow’s nest into the burning water,” he said. “The battleships were quite broad, and quite a few of them didn’t make it.”

Soucy, a pharmacist’s mate on the disarmed battleship Utah, swam to nearby Ford Island after torpedoes hit the Utah and calls rang out to abandon ship. He spent the rest of the day treating the wounded. Many of the injured service members were burn and bullet victims who had been pulled from the harbor.

“Most had swum through oil, some through burning oil,” he said. “They swallowed oil and dirty water, and they were vomiting and gasping for air.”

The following day, the U.S. declared war and embarked on a conflict that would span two oceans, cost a half-million American lives and end in the unconditional surrender of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany.

“Strategically, the Japanese made a fatal error,” Lancaster said.

Posted by admin on Wednesday 06 December 2006 - 14:22:10 | LAN_THEME_20
Marine to receive Medal of Honor for Iraq heroism

President Bush announced on Friday that the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military decoration, will be awarded posthumously to Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham.

In April 2004, Dunham was leading a patrol in an Iraqi town near the Syrian border when the patrol stopped a convoy of cars leaving the scene of an attack on a Marine convoy, according to military and media accounts of the action.

An occupant of one of the cars attacked Dunham and the two fought hand to hand. As they fought, Dunham yelled to fellow Marines, "No, no watch his hand." The attacker then dropped a grenade and Dunham hurled himself on top of it, using his helmet to try to blunt the force of the blast.

Still, Dunham was critically wounded in the explosion and died eight days later at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.

"As long as we have Marines like Corporal Dunham, America will never fear for her liberty," Bush said Friday as he announced that Dunham would receive the award. Bush spoke at the dedication of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia.

"His was a selfless act of courage to save his fellow Marines," Sgt. Maj. Daniel A. Huff of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, was quoted as saying in Marine Corps News that April.

"He knew what he was doing," Lance Cpl. Jason A. Sanders, 21, of McAllester, Oklahoma, who was in Dunham's company, was quoted as saying by Marine Corps News. "He wanted to save Marines' lives from that grenade."

In various media accounts, fellow Marines told how Dunham had extended his enlistment shortly before he died so he could help his comrades.

"We told him he was crazy for coming out here," Lance Cpl. Mark E. Dean, 22, from Owasso, Oklahoma, said in Marine Corps News. "He decided to come out here and fight with us. All he wanted was to make sure his boys made it back home."

"He loved his country, believed in his mission, and wanted to stay with his fellow Marines and see the job through," Vice President Dick Cheney said when speaking of Dunham's heroism at a Disabled American Veterans conference in July 2004.

The Scio, New York, native would have been 25 years old on Friday.

In a letter urging Bush to honor Dunham with the Medal of Honor, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, called the Marine's actions "an act of unbelievable bravery and selflessness."

Dunham's story was told in the book "The Gift of Valor," written by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Phillips.

Dunham will be the second American to receive the Medal of Honor from service in Iraq.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith was the other, honored for action near Baghdad International Airport in April 2003, in which he killed as many as 50 enemy combatants while helping wounded comrades to safety. Smith was the only U.S. soldier killed in the battle.

Posted by admin on Wednesday 06 December 2006 - 03:16:59 | LAN_THEME_20
Why Marines were called "Devil Dogs"
In the Belleau Wood fighting in 1918, the Germans received a thorough indoctrination in the fighting ability of Marines which they could have used to forewarn their axis partner, Japan, in 1941. Fighting through supposedly impenetrable woods and capturing supposedly untakeable terrain, the men of the 4th Marine Brigade struck terror in the hearts of the Germans. The persistent attacks delivered with unbelievable courage soon had the Germans referring to Marines as the "Teufelhunden" meaning "fierce fighting dogs of legendary origin" or as popularly translated "Devil Dogs."

Posted by admin on Tuesday 05 December 2006 - 19:38:10 | LAN_THEME_20
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Marine Of The Month

Lance Cpl. James M. Gluff

20, of Tunnel Hill, Ga.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Jan. 19 in Ramadi, Iraq, while conducting combat operations.


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