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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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Marine Corps Cobra Attack Helicopter

The AH-1W Cobra series attack helicopter has been in service with the United States Marine Corps since the 80's. The newest chapter in the Cobra-USMC story is the AH-1Z Super Cobra which is expected to enter operational service in 2007. The "Zulu" is essentially a technology upgrade to the Corps' existing fleet of 180 AH-1Ws. Once completed, the rebuild-and-upgrade program will add an additional 10,000 flight hours to the existing AH-1W airframes.

The two most significant upgrades to the AH-1 are also the two most obvious. Gone are the teetering, semi-ridged two-bladed rotors. Instead, the AH-1Z will have a four-bladed, hinge-less, bearing-less rotor system. Coupled to a pair of General Electric T700-GE-401 turbo shaft engines producing a total of 3,380 shaft horsepower, the four-bladed Zulu will have nearly double the Whiskey's payload as well as improved performance and endurance.

The second most obvious upgrade to the AH-1 is the nose mounted Target Sight System (TSS.) Built by Lockheed-Martin, the TSS incorporates an eye-safe laser rangefinder/target designator, an advanced third generation 3-5 micron-staring array Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) camera, and CCD TV. The TSS will allow the AH1-Z crew to automatically scan, acquire, designate and engage targets.

The AH-1 Cobra

As part of an overall plan to reduce crew-training needs as well as streamline crew efficiency the crew stations in the AH-1Z are all but identical, which not only facilitates maintenance, but also eliminates the need for crewmembers to undergo "front seat/ back seat" station training. The newly designed "glass" cockpits incorporate numerous multi function color data displays, a moving map digital navigation system and the Hands On Collective and Stick (HOCAS) system integration architecture, which allows the crew to access many of the helicopter's systems without having to take their eyes off of the target. In addition, the crew will be equipped with the Thales Avionics' TopOwl helmet-mounted display system. The TopOwl is a helmet-mounted sight that slaves the aircraft's TSS to the wearer's head movement (increasing situational awareness as well as improving target acquisition and engagement times.) The TopOwl is FLIR capable. It is equipped with a Gen IV passive night vision system and can switch between day-night optics instantly.

The Z model also incorporates a number of improved self-defense features. Topping the list is the new Lockheed Martin AN/APR-39(XE2) radar warning receiver, which can detect both continuous wave and Doppler type radar signals. An ATK AN/AAR-47 missile warning system provides missile launch warnings to the crew through the use of infrared detectors that detect the missile's hot exhaust plume. To alert the crew to laser designators or directed energy threats, the AH-1Z has a Goodrich AN/AVR-2A laser warning receiver. To defend themselves, the AH-1Z is equipped with both an active IR jamming system, the AN/ALQ-144A developed by BAE Systems, and an automated flare/chaff dispensing system, the BAE AN/ALE-39 chaff and infrared flare dispenser.

The increased payload and performance of the Zulu means that it's weapons load has been increased significantly. The Zulu can carry 16 anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) consisting of either the 3.5km wire-guided Raytheon BGM-71 TOW missile or the 8km semi-active laser homing Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire. Longbow International (a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman) is developing the Cobra Radar System for the Zulu. Based on the mast-mounted millimeter wave radar used on the AH-64 Longbow Apache, the CRS will be a pod based, weapon station mounted radar that will enable the AH-1Z to fire the radar guided variant of the Hellfire. In addition, the Z is being certified for use of the AGM-65 Maverick missile, which will allow it to attack high value hard (armored) targets, such as bunkers or bridges. In addition to missiles, the AH-1Z will be capable of carrying numerous 7 and 19 shot 70mm Hydra rocket pods, as well as the larger 127mm Zuni rockets. To meet air to air threats, the AH-1Z can carry the AIM-9 sidewinder short range IR guided anti-air missile, and for air defense suppression the "Z" can also carry the AIM-9 based SIDARM anti-radiation homing missile, which locks onto threat radar transmitters and destroys them. Finally, the AH-1Z will continue to use the Cobra's 3 barreled, nose mounted, 20mm rotary cannon with 750 rounds of ammunition.

The AH-1Z reflects the Marine Corps' tradition for frugal effectiveness. Not blessed with the budget to develop expensive end-item systems such as the M1 Tank, the Apache helicopter, or the A/V-8 Harrier, the Marines have become very adept at working with what they have and making it better. The AH-1Z is a good example of this philosophy. The Cobra is a proven design, and while it may not have the speed or the armor protection of the Apache, it also does not have its price tag. This is not to say that the AH-1Z is a slouch by any means. With the ability to fire any ATGM in the US inventory, in addition to carrying both anti-air and anti-radiation missiles, the AH-1Z is fully capable of meeting all of the Marine Corps battlefield ground support needs for the foreseeable future.

Posted by admin on Monday 24 March 2008 - 23:06:27 | LAN_THEME_20
The History Of VMA-231

VMA-231 began as the 1st Division, Squadron 1 on February 8, 1919 — a unit that emerged from the Northern Bombing Group of Northern France in 1918. By the end of February, the newly activated squadron arrived in Santo Domingo for duty with the 2nd Brigade where it served until July 1924. During its deployment to Santo Domingo, the squadron was designated Marine Observation Squadron One (VO-1M) on 1 July 1922.

A Vought VE-7F from VO-1M in in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic circa 1922.From Santo Domingo the squadron traveled to San Diego, California and became the first Marine squadron on the West Coast and was designated as the aviation asset to accompany Marine Expeditionary Forces. During the West Coast interlude, the late Major General Ross E. Rowell, then a Major and Commanding Officer concentrated on training in dive-bombing tactics. Such tactics were to prove invaluable to the squadron in Nicaragua, during July 1927, where the squadron had been ordered the previous February. Shortly after its redesignation on July 1, 1927 to VO-8M, the squadron participated in the Battle of Ocotal on 16 July when ten personnel of the squadron came to the rescue of the beleaguered Marine garrison at Ocotal and executed the first recorded dive bombing attack against an organized enemy, dispersing the insurgents and saving the garrison. Among the first Marine aviators ever to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross were Major Rowell and Lieutenant Hayne Boyden, to whom it was awarded for their participation in the Battle of Ocotal.

Returning to San Diego in 1928, the squadron traded in its World War I-era O2B-1s for new Curtiss F8C-1s and F8C-3s, which were soon redesignated OC-1s and OC-2s. Shortly after receiving the F8C/OCs, the squadron, along with VO-10M took part in the filming of the 1929 movie "Flight" and later the movie "Devil Dogs of the Air." As Marine aviation reorganized and consolidated in the early 1930s, several long established squadrons ceased to exist, and on July 1, 1933, VO-8M was deactivated. Unlike the fate that befell her sister squadrons, VO-8M was reactivated on November 15, 1934 when it was decided to deactivate VS-14M and VS-15M and use the aircraft and personnel from these two carrier squadrons to reorganize VO-8M. Equipped with Vought O3U-6 "Corsairs" the squadron continued to operate from San Diego and participated in the annual Fleet Problems, operating from the carriers USS Langley, USS Ranger, and USS Saratoga at different times. In 1936, the squadron was selected to represent Marine aviation at the National Air Races was still flying the O3U-6 when it was redesignated Marine Scouting Squadron Two (VMS-2) on 1 July 1937. Later that year, the squadron traded in its "Corsairs" for Curtiss SOC-3 Seagulls a type it would operate for the next four years.

A flight of Vought SU-2 Corsairs from VO-8M circa 1934.With the rest of Marine Air Group Two, the squadron deployed to Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, Hawaii in January 1941, and was the second sqaudron to receive the new Vought SB2U Vindicator eventually receiving 27 of the type in 1941. Along with the new aircraft came a new designation, and on July 1, 1941, the squadron was redesignated Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron 231 (VMSB-231.) With the prospect of war growing, the squadron was embarked upon the USS Lexington the first week of December and was on its way to Midway when word of the attack on Pearl Harbor reached the carrier.

World War II

Although the squadron was aboard the USS Lexington during the attack on Pearl Harbor, the rear echelon still at Ewa suffered the loss of 7 of the spare SB2U-3s which had been left behind. The squadron returned to Ewa on December 10, but one week later it was headed back to Midway, but not aboard a carrier. Fitted with an extra fuel tank and accompanied by a PBY Catalina acting as a plane guard, the squadron conducted the longest overwater flight by single engine aircraft on record at that time and arrived at Midway without the loss of a single aircraft or crew. The squadron flew routine patrols and awaited the expected Japanese attack. On March 1, 1942, while still at Midway, the squadron was split in two when VMSB-241 was created and the two squadrons operated side by side, even flying the same aircraft. Shortly thereafter, VMSB-231 was officially transferred back to Ewa, but a majority of its personnel and all of its aircraft remained at Midway.

SBD-5 of VMSB-231 during WWII Reorganizing at Ewa, the squadron received Douglas SBDs and was transferred to Marine Aircraft Group 23 (MAG-23). Slowly receiving new SBD-3s and pilots, the squadron was notified in July that it would be deployed for duty beyoned the seas. Along with VMF-224, the squadron constituted the rear echelon of MAG-23 and was loaded aboard the USS Kitty Hawk, an aircraft transport, the last week of August and shipped to the South Pacific. Arriving at Espiritu Santo, the squadron's aircraft were craned over to the escort carrier USS Long Island (CVE-1), and then catapulted off to the airfield. This was necessary due to the fact that no dock or yard facilities were available to facilitate the off-loading of the aircraft as would normally be done. After spending the night at Espiritu Santo, the squadron flew to Guadalcanal on August 30, 1942, arriving right before the daily air raid. They operated on Guadalcanal as part of the Cactus Air Force for almost three months before leaving on November 2, 1942. They were shipped back to Naval Air Station San Diego on November 19 and then moved further north to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in January 1943.

The squadron again deployed to the Pacific Theater and began operations bombing by-passed Japanese garrisons in the Marshall Islands on February 4, 1944. In October of that year, they were redesignated VMBF-231 and converted to the F4U Corsair. Two months later, on December 30, they reverted back to the name VMSB-231 and remained in the Marshalls until August 1945. During the course of World War II the squadron was credited with downing 7 Japanese aircraft in air to air engagements.

Post-war years

The squadron served in a reserve status as VMF-231 in Akron, Ohio and Grosse Ile Township, Michigan until they were deactivated on August 31, 1962.

1970s & 1980s

A Marine VMA-231 AV-8A with a camouflage paint during pre-flight operations. Harrier has two napalm bombs on its right wing.VMA-231 was reactivated on May 15, 1973, and the Marine Corps' oldest squadron became the Corps' newest, flying the Corps' newest aircraft, the Hawker Siddeley AV-8A Harrier. The AV-8A was a high performance, high speed jet aircraft that was uniquely capable of vertical and short take off and landing (VSTOL).

October 4, 1976 saw VMA-231 deploying to the Mediterranean aboard USS Franklin D. Roosevelt with Carrier Air Wing 19. VMA-231’s journey included visits to Spain, Italy, Sicily, Kenya, and Egypt. Highlights of the cruise included a transit of the Suez Canal aboard USS Guam (LPH-9) and participation of VMA-231 in Kenya's Independence Day celebration by twelve AV-8A aircraft. VMA-231 rejoined the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing on April 20, 1977, as the squadron safely returned to MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina. Also in 1977, VMA-231 was named V/STOL Squadron of the Year, becoming the first recipient of this award.

The Gulf War & the 1990s

June 1990 found VMA-231 deployed to Western Pacific as a squadron for the first time since World War II. Training continued in Iwakuni and Okinawa, Japan, as well as the Philippine Islands and Korea. Notably, the squadron weathered the July earthquake in Northern Luzon. Their deployment was extended when they received orders directing them to Southeast Asia for Operation Desert Shield. The move necessitated an unprecedented around-the-world trip as the Ace of Spades flew 18,000 NM in 14 days to join MAG-13 (forward). During the trip the squadron accrued 904 flight hours in December, a record for fleet Harrier squadrons.

On the morning of January 17, 1991, Operation Desert Storm began and VMA-231 was flying combat missions to silence Iraqi artillery batteries, which were indiscriminately shelling the Saudi Arabian border town of Khafji. On February 9, Captain Russell Sanborn was captured by Iraqi forces after his AV-8B was shot down over southern Kuwait. He was held in the city of Basra for the remainder of the war and was repatriated with fifteen other Americans on March 6, 1991.[3]

During February 1991, when the air war intensified and the critical ground campaign began, Marine Attack Squadron 231 accumulated 966.2 hours. This monthly total is a Unites States Marine Corps Harrier record. The "Ace of Spades" flew a total of 987 combat sorties and 1,195.8 hours during the conflict. In total, 1660 Mk-82s, 62 Mk-83s, 969 Mk-20 Rockeyes, 78 Mk-77 Firebombs, and 22,709 rounds of 25MM munitions were expended. A grand total of 1,692,000 pounds of ammunition was delivered against enemy positions and equipment.

In September 1991, a 6-plane detachment was sent out with HMH-362 aboard USS Saipan (LHA-2) where it served as part of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit in the Persian Gulf.

During November 1992, the squadron embarked on a two-site deployment by taking a squadron and fourteen jets to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, and leaving six jets at MCAS Cherry Point. North Carolina to support the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Saipan.

From February 1995 to August 1996, VMA-231 would participate with the 24th MEU aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) in rescuing downed Air Force pilot Captain Scott O'Grady and also with the 26th MEU aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) participating in Operation Deny Flight.

In April 1999, the Ace of Spades deployed with the 26th MEU onboard the USS Kearsarge. They were involved in many operations, such as Operation Allied Force, bombing targets in the former Yugoslavia. They also participated in Operation Joint Guardian, Operation Shining Hope and Operation Avid Response.

Posted by admin on Friday 21 March 2008 - 10:20:12 | LAN_THEME_20
The History Of Marine Recon

The History Of Marine Recon

Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance was first conceived in 1954, at Marine Base Camp Pendleton, outside of San Diego, California, when an experimental recon team was formed. Three years later, that team merged with an existing amphibious reconnaissance company to form the 1st Force Reconnaissance Company. The precursor of Force Recon was from World War II, the Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion commanded by Captain James L. Jones.

In 1958, half the Marines in 1st Force were removed from the Company and hauled over to the Eastern seaboard, forming the 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company. 1st Force supplemented Fleet Marine Force Pacific (FMFPac), while 2nd, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic (FMFLant).

Force Reconnaissance received their baptism by fire during the Vietnam War, arriving first in 1965 and staying for five years. Forty-four Marines of 1st Force were killed or missing in action through the course of the war.

After US withdrawal from Vietnam, 1st Force and 3rd Force were both deactivated in 1974, and the existing Force Marines were rolled into the non-Force 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion in order to maintain Marine Corps deep recon capabilities. However, the roll-in was never completed to a satisfactory condition, and 1st Force Reconnaissance was reactivated as an individual unit in 1986, and was later deployed in the Gulf War.

Posted by admin on Thursday 20 March 2008 - 10:17:38 | 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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