On this day, 10 November 2014, the United States Marine Corps is celebrating it’s 239th. Birthday.
Having spent 90% of my time in the service as a Navy Hospital Corpsman assigned to the U.S. Marine Corps I would like to re-post this article from the website IJReview.com celebrating just some of the accomplishments of the Marine Corps during the past 239 years as my way of wishing all my Brothers and Sisters, past, present and future a very Happy Birthday.
These 7 Feats of BadAssery by the U.S. Marine Corps
Show Why They Deserve An Ooh Rah On Their
The U.S. Marine Corps celebrates its 239th birthday on November 10th. Here are seven reasons why you should tip your cap and give an Ooh Rah to the men and women who are ‘always faithful’ to their duty and their country.
1. The Battle of Belleau Wood
This ferocious, weeks-long World War I battle in June 1918 in Belleau (Aisne), France, saved Paris from the German raiding forces and turned the tide of the war. By the time the bayonet wielding Marines were done, the Germans were in full retreat and so frightened of these fighters they named them ‘Devil Dogs’, a mythical creature of German lore.
Marines still come to this place to drink from the Devil Dog fountain and pay their respects at Belleau Wood. Marines have been called Devil Dogsever since.
2. The Battle of Iwo Jima
Despite weeks of bombing by U.S. warships to soften the target, by the time the amphibious assault by Marines began in February 1945, the Japanese fighters had gone inland, positioned themselves in caves and were ready to rock. It was sometimes hand to hand, bloody fighting.
The Marines finally–triumphantly–erected the American flag on the highest point of the island, Mount Suribachi, a month after the battle began. After taking the island, U.S. B-29s were able to use Iwo to resupply.
#3 The Battle of Guadalcanal
In August of 1942, U.S. Marines launched ‘Operation Watch Tower,’ a surprise attack that took control of a Japanese air base under construction on Guadalcanal, a ‘2,500-square-mile speck of jungle’ in the Solomon Islands. That was just the beginning of a bloody, six-month-long battle in which the Marines annihilated two-thirds of the Japanese troops stationed to defend it.
The victory was a turning point in the Pacific Theater in World War II.
#4 The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir
They were called the Frozen Chosin. The 1st Marine Division was in a race to get to the Yalu River to gain strategic superiority in this Korean war campaign in 1950. But the 20-degree-below weather stymied their efforts and mucked up their gear. Worse, 150,000 Chinese troops had snuck around them, pinning them down at the Chosin Reservoir.
A 17-day battle in sub freezing temperatures ensued. Marines scaled the mountains in the dark to rescue their comrades. It wasn’t a win, but it was a display of the Marine Corps BadAssery in the face of overwhelming odds.
#5 The Battle of Khe Sanh
The Marines knew the North Vietnamese troops wanted their high spot atKhe Sanh.
On January 21, 1968, the bad guys came for it. They began an artillery assault like none other, destroying 90% of the Marines’ artillery. For 77 days, U.S. Marines held the position and repelled the attack.
#6 The Battle of Tarawa
Marines were ordered to seize Betio Island in the Tarawa Atoll on November 20, 1943. The Japanese were waiting in their pill boxes and bunkers, protecting their crucial air strip on the coral islet.
Though a Japanese Admiral reportedly bragged no one could take the small island covered with Japanese fortifications with a million men in 100 years, the Marines took it in 76 hours.
#7 Operation Phantom Fury, The Second Battle of Fallujah
After the first assault of Fallujah, Iraq, in 2003, coalition forces failed to plan for policing the city of 425,000 people, giving bad actors free reign. In November 2004, the U.S. Marines were sent in get them out.
Hell came to Al Qaeda by way of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, in fierce house-to-house fighting the ‘experts’ said was impossible to pull off. House to house fighting hadn’t been seen since the Battle of Hue City in Vietnam and before that, the Battle of Seoul.
By December 20th, the insurgents were chased out. Operation Phantom Fury, the Second Battle of Fallujah, was a roaring success and a turning point in the war.
U.S. Marines are truly a special breed. In the words of retired Marine Corps General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis:
To those Maniacs, the ones who thought that by hurting us on 9-11 that they could scare us, we have proven that the descendants of Belleau Wood, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Chosin, Hue City & more: We don’t scare. And we proved it in Fallujah & Ramadi and in the Helmand
And thank goodness for that.