One Step At A Time
By Tom Bartlett - Originally Published November 1965
Any march to glory is made but one step and one day at a time.
During the past 200 years, Marine Corps units, from fire teams to divisions, have marched to numerous glories. From individual stands at Belleau Wood; to reinforced divisions in World War II; to the 18-man reconnaissance platoon of Jimmie Howard in Vietnam....
Marines earned their pride. Formed on November 10, 1775, they made their first amphibious assault at New Providence Island in the Bahamas under Capt Samuel Nicholas on March 3, 1776.
The following is a listing of major engagements with some trivia, published for the interest of historical buffs:
There is official documentation of Marines existing prior to November 10, 1775. A payroll for the Enterprise listed American Marines on May 3, 1775. Lt James Watson was identified from the payroll, thereby designating him as the first known Marine officer.
During the American Revolution, Marines sailed aboard the Liberty and participated in a number of engagements on Lake Champlain, and aboard the Hannah, sailing off the New England coast.
On November 11, 1775, Marines participated in the action between the Defence of the South Carolina Navy, and the British ships Tamar and Cherokee at Charleston, S. C.
Marines from the Hancock and the Franklin, of General George Washington's fleet, participated in an unopposed landing at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, on November 17, 1775.
Many sea battles followed, with Marines participating until almost the end of 1776, when they again took to land. They debarked from the Hancock at Burlington, N.J., and on December 26, 1776, they participated in the first battle of Trenton as part of Washington's forces.
On January 2, 1777, a Marine battalion under Maj Samuel Nicholas was joined by other Marine companies during the second battle of Trenton, and then during the battle of Princeton. On the 20th of February 1777, Marines were withdrawn from Washington's army and returned to their ships. Again they participated in naval battles along the Atlantic coast, and during the month of June, they battled and bloodied British crews off the coast of Europe.
Marines were aboard the Reprisal when she sailed from St. Malo, France, on September 14, 1777. The ship was never seen or heard of again.
Marines aboard ships of the Continental fleet were members of proud crews. Ships' names included Resistance, which seemed most appropriate at the time. Reprisal and Defence also indicated a crew's determination.
But, if a ship's name told something of the ship or its crew, how do you think the Marines serving under Capt James Willing felt when on January 10, 1778, they departed Fort Pitt for an expedition to New Orleans aboard the Rattletrap! (On February 3, Marines of that detachment participated in the capture of two French trading vessels near Fort Gage on the Ohio.)
It was on January 27, 1778, that Marines and seamen of the sloop Providence landed and seized the fort at New Providence Island in the Bahamas. It was the first time the "Stars and Stripes" (which had been adopted as the National Flag on June 14, 1777) appeared over a foreign stronghold.
Marines and sailors made another landing on April 22nd of that year, when along with Capt John Paul Jones of the Ranger they went ashore at Whitehaven, England. On the 23rd of April, they landed at St. Mary's Isle, England, then returned to the sea to raise havoc with British vessels.
Capt Robert George and a company (40 men) of Marines made a detour of the Revolutionary fighting in March 1779, when they joined George Rogers Clark in his campaigns against the Indians.
Also, in 1779, (late September) Marines in the tops of the Bonhomme Richard contributed materially to Capt John Paul Jones' victory over the British ship Serapis off the British Isles. (How many of these troops had participated in the first known marksmanship training by Marines at Nantasket Beach in April 1779 is not known.) The year 1780 was a reasonably quiet one; sea battles, of course, off Charleston, S. C., Savannah, Ga., and off the coast of Maine. But Marines were also asked to perform other duties; May 12, they were part of the defending force serving ashore when the British attacked and captured Charleston, S. C. And on August 27, while guarding workmen who were cutting masts for the Navy, Marines chased away Indians near Reading, Pa.
The treaty of peace with Great Britain was concluded on September 3, 1783. The United States was acknowledged a sovereign and independent state. The signing of the treaty ended hostilities in the American Revolution, and the ships of the Continental Navy were sold.
The Navy, and consequently the Marines, was allowed to dwindle away following the war. Pvt Robert Stout, the last known recorded Marine of the Revolution, served on the Alliance on April 26, 1784.
The ratification of the Constitution took place in 1789. This established a legal basis for the armed forces of the United States, but Congress didn't take action until 1794 to activate the Navy, and along with it, the Marines.
By the Act of 1794 (27 March), Congress established the strength of the Marines at six officers and 310 enlisted men. That was the Marine complement for the six frigates which were authorized. (However, Congress reconsidered, authorized the construction of only three ships and cut back the Corps' strength to three officers and 156 enlisted.)
On August 24, 1797, the uniform to be worn by Marines was prescribed by the Secretary of War, James McHenry, as..."blue coats...red lapels..."
In 1798, the clouds of war hung over the horizon. On April 9, the Secretary of War recommended to Congress the raising of an additional "regiment of infantry...to act in the double capacity of Marines and Infantry." On May 22, legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives to raise "a battalion, to be called the Marine Corps."
On May 28, 1798, the naval war with France began when commanders of public armed vessels of the United States were instructed by the President to make reprisals upon the commerce of France. (Active duty strength of the Marine Corps was 25 officers and 58 enlisted.)
President John Adams approved the Act of 11 July 1798, "Establishing and Organizing a Marine Corps." The President commissioned William Ward Burrows as a major and Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Marines returned to the sea, and throughout the remainder of 1798 and until early 1801, they participated in numerous battles off Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Martinique, the West Indies, Haiti, Santo Domingo and Florida.
Other significant dates include March 31, 1800, when Marines arrived in Washington to guard the Navy Yard and establish a Marine Barracks in the Nation's Capital.
Marines first landed at Santo Domingo on May 11, 1800, when Capt Daniel Carmick and his troops from the Constitution, with a detachment of seamen, landed, captured and spiked the guns of a shore battery at Puerto Plata. They then returned to the ship.
The Marine Band made its first public appearance on July 4, 1800, sponsored by the Society of the Cincinnati. The Band performed at the city tavern (Tun Tavern) in Philadelphia.
The treaty of peace with France which ended the "Navy War With France" was ratified by the Senate and proclaimed by the President on February 18, 1801. Congress acted quickly, putting the Navy upon a "peace establishment" and all but 14 vessels were sold.
And so it was on May 14, 1801, that the Bashaw of Tripoli declared war on the United States....Strength of the Marine Corps was 38 officers and 319 enlisted.
War was declared by the United States against Tripoli, and instructions were forwarded to Commodore Dales' squadron of four ships to begin operations against the Bashaw and his subjects. Sea battles were fought in the Mediterranean, and Marines participated in bombardments against Tripoli.
On November 29, 1804, Lt Presley O'Bannon, with William Eaton, Midshipman George Mann and seven Marines landed at Alexandria, Egypt, to set out to Cairo. Their goal was Derne, about 600 miles away.
On April 27, supported by American warships, Greeks, Arabs and his own party, O'Bannon stormed and captured the fortress at Derne. They then defended themselves arid the fort against attacking Tripolitans.
The peace treaty with the Bashaw was signed on June 4, 1805.
The first Marine security Guard assigned (as recorded) was on December 2, 1805, when the Secretary of the Navy directed LtCol Commandant Wharton to place a sergeant's guard of Marines at the residence of the Tunisian Ambassador.
History records that the Marine Corps was economy-minded even back on March 17, 1812, when the Secretary of the Navy reported that the Marine Barracks, Washington (8th and I) and all improvements had cost $25,415.49, which was $5,571.16 less than had been appropriated.
The War of 1812 began on June 18, of that year when President Madison approved an Act of Congress which declared that a state of war existed between the United States and Great Britain. (Strength of the Corps was 1,869.)
Shortly thereafter, Marines captured a British Marine officer at Norfolk, attempting to escape after the declaration of war. The Marines received the first British sword delivered during that war.
Again, Marines fought in various sea battles, in the North Atlantic, Lake Ontario, off Brazil and Rio de Janeiro.
On November 28, 1812, Marines and seamen joined Army troops, crossed into Canada and captured the British fort at Red House. Further south, while escorting wagon convoys, a detachment of Marines was ambushed by the Indians, and the commanding officer (Capt John Williams) was mortally wounded in Florida.
The Indians were fighting their own war against the United States. Called "The Patriot's War," it began when Marines and soldiers crossed the St. Mary's River into Florida and raised the American flag. The "Patriot's War" ended when the last American troops were withdrawn from Florida on May 6, 1813.
Other Marines, those assigned to ship's detachments, were fighting against the British in the Atlantic. Oh land, other Marines joined with Army troops and took Fort George on Lake Ontario (May 27, 1813.) And when Marines joined in the capture of the British ship Greenwich (May 29), American sailors and Marines boarded the enemy's vessel and sailed her under the command of Lt John Gamble, commander of . the Marine guard. (Gamble, as a Marine, was "captain" of the American ship-the first time a Marine had commanded a U.S. Navy vessel.)
The fighting came closer to "home." On August 12, Marines from Washington, D. C., were sent to Annapolis to defend against the British.
Throughout the remainder of 1814 and into 1815, Marines participated in numerous sea battles off Africa, the Pacific coast of South America and even into the mouth of the English Channel. Joining Army forces, Marines landed at various sites in Canada, destroying British forts, barracks and blockhouses. (American forces fought a bloody battle at Michilimackinac Island in the Great Lakes, but were repulsed on August 4, 1814.)
Three weeks later, a Marine battalion participated in the Battle of Bladensburg. The British burned Washington but they spared the Commandant's house at 8th and I-thus its claim to being the oldest public residence in continuous use in the Nation's Capital. The British withdrew on August 25, 1814.
The War of 1812 ended on Christmas Eve, 1814, with the signing of the treaty of peace with England at Ghent. Unfortunately, news moved slowly and American and British forces continued fighting, especially bloody during the "Battle of New Orleans," in early 1815.
On March 3, 1815, President Madison approved an Act of Congress authorizing force against the Dey of Algiers, and Marines and sailors participated in battles against ships.
The treaty of peace was signed on June 30.
For the next few years, Marines and sailors battled pirates and slave traders off the coasts of Africa, Cuba and the West Indies.
On March 12, 1824, Marines from the Boston Navy Yard subdued a riot at the Massachusetts State Prison in Boston.
On Christmas Eve, 1835, Indians massacred an Army column moving from Fort Brooke to Fort King in Florida. This touched off the Florida (or Seminole) Indian Wars. Marines from the Constellation and St. Louis arrived to reinforce Fort Brooke against expected Indian attacks on January 22, 1836.
After minor skirmishes against the enemy, Colonel Commandant Archi-bald Henderson offered a full Marine regiment to assist in the fighting against the Indians. After a march of 224 miles (in 14 days) Col Henderson arrived at Columbus, Ga., with the 1st Battalion to fight against the Creeks. The 2nd Battalion under LtCol William Freeman, arrived eight days later, on July 1, 1836.
An agreement was signed between Seminole chiefs and the Commanding General of the Army of the South on March 6, 1837, presumably ending the war with the Seminoles.
On January 2, 1838, a detachment of Marines from the John Adams went ashore at Mucke, Sumatra, to protect American lives and property.
The "Indian War" renewed, and on New Year's Eve, 1840, Marines, sailors and soldiers began a trek into the Everglades to surprise the Indians; The Americans fought the huge swamp until November 24 and then withdrew. They encountered no Indians.
Additional expeditions were conducted into the swamp, lasting for two or three months, without success for the Americans. The campaign against, the Indians in Florida was officially terminated on August 14, 1842.
In 1843, Commodore Perry, with 75 Marines and seamen from his squadron, went ashore on the coast of Africa to put an end to slave trade and piracy in the area of Liberia. During November and December of that year, additional meetings were held with native chiefs. When Perry and 200 Marines and sailors landed on the Ivory Coast for a conference with the king, all hell broke loose.
In that battle, the king was killed and the town was burned.
During May, 1845, Marines debarked from the USS Constitution in an attempt to release a French Catholic missionary from prison. Old Ironsides was anchored at Touron Bay, Cochin, China, during her cruise around the world. Touron Bay is known today as "Da Nang."
On October 18, 1945, Lt Archibald Gillespie was alerted for a secret mission to California for the President. He arrived at the American Consul at Monterey, Calif., on April 17, 1846.
War was ' declared by the United States against Mexico on May 12th. A week later, Marines and seamen from the Cumberland and Potomac went up the Rio Grande and landed on the south side of the river. They were the first American forces to set foot on Mexican soil.
On July 7th, Marines and seamen landed at Monterey, Calif., and occupied the town, proclaiming California as part of the United States. They then landed at Yerba Buena, Sonoma, San Diego, Santa Barbara and San Pedro.
Marines, sailors and volunteers marched into the town of Los Angeles without opposition on August 13, 1846. But the "Battle of L.A." was not over, for history records that Marines and sailors attempted to recapture Los Angeles on October 8 (and failed) and again on January 10, 1847, when they succeeded.
Skirmishes and battles in California and Mexico continued until September 13, when General Quitman's Army division, with a battalion of Marines, entered Mexico City. (Marines joined a detachment of soldiers under Lt U.S. Grant. They combined to take the San Cosme gate, becoming the first American forces to enter the Mexican capital. The Name "U. S. Grant" will echo again in American history...)
The remainder of the Marine battalion marched with Quitman's division when it passed into Mexico City. Marines were assigned as guards at the National Palace, called the "Halls of Montezuma."
The treaty of peace between the United States and Mexico was concluded on February 2, 1848, but fighting continued through April 9th.
Marines were aboard the Preble on April 17, 1849, when it became the first American ship of war to visit Okinawa, and later, under Commodore Perry, Marines landed at Uraga, Japan, to deliver a letter from President Fillmore.
On July 12, 1854, a landing party of Marines and seamen went ashore at San Juan del Norte, Nicaragua, seizing weapons and powder in retribution for an attack on American consular officials.
During 1855, Marines filled a variety of roles, including the landing at Shanghai (May 19) to protect American lives and property; going ashore at Montevideo, Uruguay (August 28), for the same purpose; and multiple landings at Nukulau (Fiji Islands) in reprisal for aggressive acts which violated the treaties of that time.
The year 1856 began with Marines and seamen going ashore at Seattle to protect settlers from Indians. It was the opening of a busy year for the Marines, who numbered 57 officers and 1,414 enlisted men.
On October 23rd, Marines again landed in China. They went ashore at Canton to protect American lives and interests during a religious war. Additional Marines and sailors were sent in to reinforce the original landing party.
On November 20, Marines and seamen began avenging insults to the American flag when they landed and captured the first of four "Barrier Forts."
Two companies of Marines restored order during the rioting of the "Plug Uglies" at election sites in Washington, D. C., in June 1857.
During October 1859, Marines under Marine 1stLt Israel Greene and Army Col Robert E. Lee recaptured the U.S. arsenal at Harper's Ferry, W. Va., and apprehended the insurrectionist, John Brown.
April 15, 1861, marked the official opening of the War Between the States, but prior to this time (January 5) reinforcements had been sent to Ft. Sumter, S.C., and Ft. Washington, Md., and to Ft. Pickens, Pensacola, Fla., (April 12).
A battalion of 12 officers and 353 enlisted Marines, commanded by Maj John Reynolds, was part of the Union Army's First Brigade, First Division, during the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas, Va.), on July 21.
Cpl John Mackie was the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor, while serving aboard the Galena during an engagement with Confederate forces near Drewry's Bluff, Va., on May 15, 1862.
Throughout the Civil War, Marines served at sea, reinforced Army posts, or provided artillery support for infantrymen.
United States Marine casualties in the Civil War amounted to 551, including those killed in action, died of wounds, lost at sea, died of disease and those wounded in action.
Capt Frank Monroe, of the Navy Yard, Washington, D. C., commanded the Marine guard assigned over those accused of conspiracy in the assassination of President Lincoln, (April 15, 1865).
Four companies of Marines marched with mixed emotions under the command of LtCol John L. Broome. The Marines were to assist revenue officers in raids on illegal "Irishtown" distilleries in Brooklyn, N.Y., in April 1867.
In June of that year, 181 Marines and seamen landed in southern Formosa on a punitive expedition following the murder of a crew of the U.S. merchantman Rover.
In March 1868, Marines from the Brooklyn Navy Yard again returned to seize and destroy illegal liquor being made in "Irishtown" which was adjacent to the Navy Yard. On March 28, 1870, 129 Marines attacked the liquor problem in Brooklyn, again. On November 2nd, 245 Marines were used to raid the distilleries in Brooklyn.
Then, with the end of Prohibition, Marines from the Navy Yard were sent to occupy 14 legitimate distilleries and to protect workmen from attack by workers from illegal distilleries (January 14, 1871). They were called to repeat the previous experience on July 14 and again in September and October 1871.
History remained rather stagnant, and Marines stood ready. On June 26, 1891, the Marine Corps post was established at Port Royal, S. C. It is called "Parris Island" and enjoys a certain long-standing fame.
In July 1894, Mare Island Navy Yard Marines and detachments from numerous ships were called upon to guard the mail during California railroad strikes. During this year, Marine units landed in Nicaragua, Seoul, Korea, and at Taku, China, to protect American lives and interests.
When the battleship USS Maine was sunk (February 15, 1898) igniting the Spanish-American War, 28 Marines went to watery graves in the harbor of Havana, Cuba. The war officially began April 21st.
The following day, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Battalion of 24 officers and 623 enlisted men, commanded by LtCol Robert W. Huntington, sailed from New York for Cuba.
May 3, 1898, Marines commanded by 1stLt Dion Williams from the USS Baltimore, landed at Manila and raised the American flag; a detachment of Marines and seamen from the Charleston landed at San Luis de Apra, Guam, to take possession of the island for the United States; July 27, Marines commanded by 1stLt H. C. Haines landed from the Dixie at Play a del Ponce, Puerto Rico, and raised the American flag (for the first time) over that island.
The 1st Marine Battalion, of the Resolute, was in the process of landing on August 13 (Manzanillo, Cuba) when word that the armistice ending the war was received. On September 22, 1898, Marines returning from Cuba marched to the White House to be reviewed by the President.
In 1899, Marines and seamen landed at Apio, Samoa, to protect American lives and property during a period of political unrest. They also landed in Nicaragua. And a squad with a Colt automatic rapid-fire gun rendered "invaluable" support to the 8th Army Corps during operations in the Philippines. Also, Sgts Michael McNally and Bruno A. Forsterer and Pvt Henry Hulbert earned Medals of Honor for heroism at Tagali, Samoa, when natives attacked British and American forces.
On June 5, 1900, Marines and seamen were part of an international force under British Admiral Edward Seymour which set out from Tientsin, China, on an unsuccessful attempt to reinforce the legation guards at Peking. On June 18th, two officers and 30 enlisted Marines (commanded by Maj Littleton W. T. Waller) arrived at Taku, China, from the Philippines to join the international force heading to Peking during the Boxer Rebellion.
Again on June 21st, American Marines and Russian troops led by Maj Waller were repulsed. Meanwhile, the Marine Legation guard at Peking (joined by Russian, British, German, Italian and Japanese guards) repulsed Boxer attacks in heavy fighting on the 24th.
The relief force arrived on June 24th, relieving the siege at the Siku arsenal, China, and also relieving the beleaguered forces. They captured the Tientsin arsenal on July 9th, and four days later, stormed the walled city of Tientsin and secured the city as a base for the advance on Peking.
On August 3rd, the 4th Marine Battalion (220 enlisted and eight officers) were commanded by Maj William P. Biddle on their arrival at Tientsin. The next day, the First Marine Regiment (482 Marines) was attached to the Fifth Artillery and the Ninth Infantry for the march to Peking.
Marines led the assault on Peking on August 14th, breaking the siege.
Waller, and Companies "C", "D" and "H" of the First Marine Regiment and Company "F" of the Second Marines sailed for Samar, Philippines, arriving on October 20, 1901. They began their ill-fated march across Samar (looking for a route for a telephone line across the island) on December 28.
During the next few years, Marines landed in Cuba, Colombia, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Syria and Abyssinia on a variety of assignments. During 1911 and 1912, the Marines were shipped to China, Nicaragua, or Cuba "to protect American lives and property during a period of political unrest..." Battle reports indicate that Marines were often in the heat of battle.
During 1914, Marines landed at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, joining British, French and German detachments in a show of force to impress Haitian rebels. They were impressed, but only temporarily, and during the next few years, Marines and Haitian rebels fought at a number of battle sites.
And when the shrapnel flew on May 5, 1916, during a revolutionary outbreak, Marines were ordered into the breech, with Col Joseph H. Pendleton assigned as commander of all naval forces ashore. Other Marines were assigned to Cuba, as revolutionaries attempted to take American-owned sugar plantations and mines.
With the start of "The War to End All Wars," Marines again were "First to fight," when on March 17, 1918, the 2nd Battalion, Fifth Marines, occupied front-line positions in France. On June 3, Marines took part in the Battle of Belleau Wood, where the Sixth French Army issued an order changing the name to Bois de la Brigade de Marine, and issued a citation to the Marines from America.
The Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels, authorized the Commandant of the Marine Corps to enroll women in the Marine Corps Reserve (for clerical assignments) on August 12, 1918. Opha M. Johnson became the first woman Marine the following day.
The Fourth Marine Brigade fought during the Battle of St. Mihiel, France, on September 12, and in the Battle for Blanc Mont in October. Squadron Nine of Marine Aviation (as part of a British aviation group) made its first raid over enemy lines on October 13.
On November 1st, the Fourth Marines participated in the Meuse-Ar-gonne offensive.
At the time of the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918, the Corps had an active duty strength of 2,474 officers and 70,489 enlisted.
During February 1919, elements of the 15th Marine Regiment landed in the Dominican Republic to bolster the Fourth Marines in ending banditry. The 15th Regiment, with the 1st Air Squadron attached, was the first air/infantry force organized in the Marine Corps.
Some 300 rebels under Charlemagne Peralte attacked Marines and gendarmes (October 7, 1919) in the Battle of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Sgt Herman H. Hanneken led a patrol on October 31, penetrated the enemy positions and killed the rebel leader.
In May 1920, Capt Jesse Perkins led a Marine patrol and surprised and killed Peralte's successor (Benoit Batraville) as leader of the Cacos bandits in Haiti.
President Harding directed that Marines again assist in the protection of the United States mails on November 7, 1921.
During 1922, Marines landed at Nicaragua to reinforce the legation guard during anti-American demonstrations. They also assisted in rescue operations after the roof of the Knickerbocker Theatre collapsed in Washington, D. C. (January 28).
Marines were sent to Peking, China, to reinforce the legation guard on April 28, and another unit landed at Taku on May 5.
During 1924, many ships' detachments of Marines and seamen were sent to protect American lives and property in Honduras during a revolution, and the legations in China were reinforced numerous times.
The following year was similar to 1924, and 1925 began much the same way. On October 20, 1926, President Calvin Coolidge approved the use of 2,500 Marines to guard American mail.
Ships' detachments and expeditionary battalions were forming a huge Marine contingent in Nicaragua, and the Fourth and Sixth Marine Regiments traveled to China to form the Third Marine Brigade.
The various battles in Nicaragua gave Marine aircraft the opportunity to execute the first Marine dive-bombing attack in support of ground forces against some 700 rebels under Augusto Sandino on July 16, 1927. Grunt forces battled at El Chipote, Camino Real, Telpaneca, Ocotal and La Paz Centre.
Marine aviation was recognized when Lt Christian F. Schilt (flying an O2U Corsair) executed repeated dangerous landings at Quilali, evacuating wounded Marines. He would later receive the Medal of Honor.
The fighting in Nicaragua continued until the early part of 1933, when, on January 3, the last of the Second Marine Brigade withdrew after participating in inaugural ceremonies for President Juan B. Sacasa.
Training exercises, combining field exercises and landings, were held. On August 4, 1937, the Marine Corps League was chartered by Congress.
On August 8, 1937, two Japanese marines were killed by Chinese soldiers near Shanghai. Japan landed a naval force. The Chinese proved too strong and another Japanese force was landed.
To this point, American Marines were not participants, yet they (as millions of observers throughout the world), were witnessing what later proved to be the opening shots of World War II in the Pacific.
On August 23, the Fourth Marines in Shanghai were augmented by a Marine and Navy landing force. Five days later, the first group of American evacuees left Shanghai. On August 19, a rifle company (two officers and 102 enlisted) arrived from Cavite in the Philippines to reinforce the Fourth Marines, and a week later, the Second Marine Brigade Headquarters and the Sixth Marines departed San Diego for duty in Shanghai.
Japanese naval aircraft attacked and sank the American gunboat Panay on the Yangtze River above Nanking on December 12. The Japanese apologized two days later.
The Second Brigade Headquarters and the Sixth Marines departed China on February 17, 1938, leaving the Fourth Marines as the only American unit in Shanghai. The Army left on March 2, leaving Marines in sole charge of the barracks at Tientsin.
On the other side of the globe, World War II began on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. France and Great Britain declared war on Germany on September 3. The United States proclaimed its neutrality in the European War on September 5.
Strength of the Marine Corps on November 30, 1941, was 65,881.
The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th. Marine losses included 111 men killed or missing and 75 wounded, with 33 aircraft destroyed and 12 damaged. The Marine garrison on Midway suffered 14 casualties.
War in the Pacific...Marines were fighting on Wake; the Navy commander on Guam surrendered American forces to the Japanese, including the American Marines...and the Marines on Wake fought on.
Marines were on Bataan and at Corregidor; they fought in the Battle of Badoeng, at Coral Sea; then there was the landing at Tulagi, with the capture and defense of Guadalcanal.
Marines were at Makin, in the Solomons and in the Aleutians. They were at New Georgia, Tarawa, Kwajalein and Eniwetok; Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa....
Marines landed at Inchon, Korea, in September 1950, and marched into and out of a hell called "Chosin" along with a Marine called "Chesty."
Marines returned to Lebanon...they landed at Santo Domingo...and later they returned to Vietnam.
In September 1962, Marine Task Element pilots (MAG-16) set up their headquarters in an old French garrison. Marine advisors served with Vietnamese Marine units.
On March 8, 1965, the 3rd Battalion, Ninth Marines, waded ashore ten miles west of Da Nang. They were part of the Ninth Marine Expeditionary Brigade commanded by Brigadier General Frederick J. Karch. The Ninth Marines linked up with the 1st Battalion, Third Marines, which landed by C-130 later that same day. HMM-162 and HMM-163, with VMO-2 would support the grunts.
Headquarters Marine Corps lists Operation Stomp (September 1965) as the first operation conducted by Marines in Vietnam, followed by Starlite, Piranha, and down through the six years with Double Eagle, Macon, Hastings, Deckhouse, Prairie, Khe Sanh, Scotland, the Arizona, Lancaster, Hue City, Meade River...hundreds more....
Marine grunts and airmen assisted in the evacuation of Cambodians and Vietnamese; Marines were instrumental in the Khmer Rouge's release of the crewmen of the merchantman Mayaguez....
It is part of The Marines' Hymn... "first to fight..." but, having read this far, you'll note that Marines are "first to go," not necessarily to fight, but to represent this country abroad; "to protect American lives and property."
The United States Marine Corps is this nation's force in readiness, based on being a well-trained, mobile, physically fit, cohesive unit.
For 200 years, Marines have earned a reputation against this nation's enemies, who at the time were thought to be the elite of Europe (British ships and crews during the Revolutionary War; the French; guerrillas on their own home ground during the "Banana Wars"; against the Japanese and North Koreans and North Vietnamese...)