Wwii 1st marine division

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Arthur Jackson discusses engaging Japanese positions during the Battle of Peleliu, actions for which he would later be awarded the Medal of Honor.

  • The History of the Purple Heart

    The oldest active military medal in the United States, over 1 million Purple Hearts were awarded during World War II.

  • United States Marine Corps Cameras at War

    Created by the camera, photographs help tell the story of Marine Photographic Squadron VMD

  • Benjamin Carson, 2nd Marine Raider Battalion

    Benjamin Carson talks about volunteering for the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion and the brutally realistic training they received in San Diego to prepare for combat in the Pacific.

  • Edgar Cole—“I Still Wanted To Be the Best”

    It was only in the wake of Executive Order , and a presidential directive issued directly to the Corps, that the Marines began setting up a new segregated training facility for African American recruits at Montford Point, North Carolina. One of the first recruits was Edgar Cole.

  • Semper Fi: US Marine, WWII Veteran, Historian Ed Bearss

    Ed Bearss, a US Marine who was severely wounded in combat in  and went on to become a great Civil War historian, passed away on September 15, , at the age of He stood for the finest values and traditions of the US Marine Corps.

  • James “Horse Collar” Smith, 1st Marine Raider Battalion

    James “Horse Collar” Smith describes his experiences during the Battle of Bloody Ridge on Guadalcanal in September

  • Dog Day Afternoon

    In honor of National Dog Day, think about what it would be like to volunteer your dog for military service.

  • Mike “Iron Mike” Mervosh, 4th Marine Division

    Mike Mervosh describes his experience with the flag raising on Iwo Jima.

Sours: https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/arthur-jackson-1st-marine-division

George Peto describes an uphill assault he took part in on Okinawa that ended up being his proudest day in the Marine Corps, despite the tremendous casualties his company suffered.

  • The History of the Purple Heart

    The oldest active military medal in the United States, over 1 million Purple Hearts were awarded during World War II.

  • United States Marine Corps Cameras at War

    Created by the camera, photographs help tell the story of Marine Photographic Squadron VMD

  • Lieutenant Richard Miles McCool, Jr., US Navy: Medal of Honor Series

    Seriously wounded aboard LCS off Okinawa in June , McCool’s steadfast leadership and disregard for his own safety saved the lives of his crew and his ship.

  • The Lost Company: Three Days on Ishimmi Ridge

    Easy Company, th Infantry, assaulted Okinawa’s Ishimmi Ridge on May 17, , beginning days of isolation and nightmarish suffering.

  • Beauford T. Anderson, US Army: Medal of Honor Series

    Beauford Anderson fought 75 enemies on Okinawa alone, heroics for which he received the Medal of Honor.

  • Private First Class Desmond Thomas Doss, US Army: Medal of Honor Series

    On October 12, , US Army medic Desmond Doss became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

  • Benjamin Carson, 2nd Marine Raider Battalion

    Benjamin Carson talks about volunteering for the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion and the brutally realistic training they received in San Diego to prepare for combat in the Pacific.

  • Edgar Cole—“I Still Wanted To Be the Best”

    It was only in the wake of Executive Order , and a presidential directive issued directly to the Corps, that the Marines began setting up a new segregated training facility for African American recruits at Montford Point, North Carolina. One of the first recruits was Edgar Cole.

Sours: https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/george-peto-1st-marine-division
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FIRST OFFENSIVE: The Marine Campaign for Guadalcanal
by Henry I. Shaw, Jr.

The Landing and August Battles

On board the transports approaching the Solomons, the Marines were looking for a tough fight. They knew little about the targets, even less about their opponents. Those maps that were available were poor, constructions based upon outdated hydrographic charts and information provided by former island residents. While maps based on aerial photographs had been prepared they were misplaced by the Navy in Auckland, New Zealand, and never got to the Marines at Wellington.

On 17 July, a couple of division staff officers, Lieutenant Colonel Merrill B. Twining and Major William McKean, had been able to join the crew of a B flying from Port Moresby on a reconnaissance mission over Guadalcanal. They reported what they had seen, and their analysis, coupled with aerial photographs, indicated no extensive defenses along the beaches of Guadalcanal's north shore.

Guadalcanal, Tulagi-Gavutu and Florida Islands(click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

This news was indeed welcome. The division intelligence officer (G-2), Lieutenant Colonel Frank B. Goettge, had concluded that about 8, Japanese occupied Guadalcanal and Tulagi. Admiral Turner's staff figured that the Japanese amounted to 7, men. Admiral Ghormley's intelligence officer pegged the enemy strength at 3,&#;closest to the 3, actual total of Japanese troops; 2, of these were stationed on Guadalcanal and were mostly laborers working on the airfield.

First Marine Utility Uniform Issued in World War II

Marines carrying wounded soldier

The United States Marine Corps entered World War II wearing essentially the same summer field uniform that it had worn during the "Banana Wars." The Marines defending America's Pacific outposts on Guam, Wake Island, and in the Philippines in the late months of wore a summer field uniform consisting of a khaki cotton shirt and trousers, leggings, and a MA1 steel helmet. Plans to change this uniform had been underway for at least one year prior to the opening of hostilities.

As had the Army, the Marine Corps had used a loose-fitting blue denim fatigue uniform for work details and some field exercises since the s. This fatigue uniform was either a one-piece coverall or a two-piece bib overall and jacket, both with "USMC" metal buttons. In June , it was replaced by a green cotton coverall. This uniform and the summer field uniform were replaced by what would become known as the utility uniform. Approved for general issues on the Marine Corps' th birthday, 10 November , this new uniform was made of sage-green (although "olive drab" was called for in the specifications) herring-bone twill cotton, then a popular material for civilian work clothing. The two-piece uniform consisted of a coat (often referred to as a "jacket" by Marines) and trousers. In , a cap made of the same material would be issued.

The loose-fitting coat was closed down the front by four two-piece rivetted bronze-finished steel buttons, each bearing the words "U.S. MARINE CORPS" in relief. The cuffs were closed by similar buttons. Two large patch pockets were sewn on the front skirts of the jacket and a single patch pocket was stitched to the left breast. This pocket had the Marine Corps eagle, globe, and anchor insignia and the letters "USMC" stencilled on it in black ink. The trousers, worn with and without the khaki canvas leggings, had two slashed front pockets and two rear patch pockets.

The new uniform was issued to the flood of new recruits crowding the recruit depots in the early months of and was first worn in combat during the landings on Guadalcanal in August This uniform was subsequently worn by Marines of all arms from the Solomons Campaign to the end of the war. Originally, the buttons on the coat and the trousers were all copper-plated, but an emergency alternate specification was approved on 15 August , eight days after the landing on Guadalcanal, which allowed for a variety of finishes on the buttons. Towards the end of the war, a new "modified" utility uniform which had been developed after Tarawa was also issued, in addition to a variety of camouflage uniforms. All of these utility uniforms, along with Army-designed M1 helmets and Marine Corps-designed cord and rubber-soled rough-side-out leather "boondocker" shoes, would be worn throughout the war in the Pacific, during the postwar years, and into the Korean War.&#;Kenneth L. Smith-Christmas

To oppose the Japanese, the Marines had an overwhelming superiority of men. At the time, the tables of organization for a Marine Corps division indicated a total of 19, officers and enlisted men, including naval medical and engineer (Seabee) units. Infantry regiments numbered 3, and consisted of a headquarters company, a weapons company, and three battalions. Each infantry battalion ( Marines) was organized into a headquarters company (89), a weapons company (), and three rifle companies (). The artillery regiment had 2, officers and men organized into three 75mm pack howitzer battalions and one mm howitzer battalion. A light tank battalion, a special weapons battalion of antiaircraft and antitank guns, and a parachute battalion added combat power. An engineer regiment (2, Marines) with battalions of engineers, pioneers, and Seabees, provided a hefty combat and service element. The total was rounded out by division headquarters battalion's headquarters, signal, and military police companies and the division's service troops&#;service, motor transport, amphibian tractor, and medical battalions. For Watchtower, the 1st Raider Battalion and the 3d Defense Battalion had been added to Vandegrift's command to provide more infantrymen and much needed coast defense and antiaircraft guns and crews.

Unfortunately, the division's heaviest ordnance had been left behind in New Zealand. Limited ships' space and time meant that the division's big guns, a mm howitzer battalion, and all the motor transport battalion's two-and-a-half-ton trucks were not loaded. Colonel Pedro A. del Valle, commanding the 11th Marines, was unhappy at the loss of his heavy howitzers and equally distressed that essential sound and flash-ranging equipment necessary for effective counterbattery fire was left behind. Also failing to make the cut in the battle for shipping space, were all spare clothing, bedding rolls, and supplies necessary to support the reinforced division beyond 60 days of combat. Ten days supply of ammunition for each of the division's weapons remained in New Zealand.

Turner, Vandegrift
Enroute to Guadalcanal, RAdm Richmond Kelly Turner, commander of the Amphibious Force, and MajGen Alexander A. Vandegrift, 1st Marine Division commander, review the Operation Watchtower plan for landings in the Solomon Islands.Naval Historical Photographic Collection CF

In the opinion of the 1st Division's historian and a veteran of the landing, the men on the approaching transports "thought they'd have a bad time getting ashore." They were confident, certainly, and sure that they could not be defeated, but most of the men were entering combat for the first time. There were combat veteran officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs) throughout the division, but the majority of the men were going into their initial battle. The commanding officer of the 1st Marines, Colonel Clifton B. Cates, estimated that 90 percent of his men had enlisted after Pearl Harbor. The fabled 1st Marine Division of later World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Persian Gulf War fame, the most highly decorated division in the U.S. Armed Forces, had not yet established its reputation.

The convoy of ships, with its outriding protective screen of carriers, reached Koro in the Fiji Islands on 26 July. Practice landings did little more than exercise the transports' landing craft, since reefs precluded an actual beach landing. The rendezvous at Koro did give the senior commanders a chance to have a face-to-face meeting. Fletcher, McCain, Turner, and Vandegrift got together with Ghormley's chief of staff, Rear Admiral Callaghan, who notified the conferees that ComSoPac had ordered the 7th Marines on Samoa to be prepared to embark on four days notice as a reinforcement for Watchtower. To this decidedly good news, Admiral Fletcher added some bad news. In view of the threat from enemy land-based air, he could not "keep the carriers in the area for more than 48 hours after the landing." Vandegrift protested that he needed at least four days to get the division's gear ashore, and Fletcher reluctantly agreed to keep his carriers at risk another day.

On the 28th the ships sailed from the Fijis, proceeding as if they were headed for Australia. At noon on 5 August, the convoy and its escorts turned north for the Solomons. Undetected by the Japanese, the assault force reached its target during the night of August and split into two landing groups, Transport Division X-Ray, 15 transports heading for the north shore of Guadalcanal east of Lunga Point, and Transport Division Yoke, eight transports headed for Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo, and the nearby Florida Island, which loomed over the smaller islands.

Vandegrift's plans for the landings would put two of his infantry regiments (Colonel LeRoy P. Hunt's 5th Marines and Colonel Cates' 1st Marines) ashore on both sides of the Lunga River prepared to attack inland to seize the airfield. The 11th Marines, the 3d Defense Battalion, and most of the division's supporting units would also land near the Lung, prepared to exploit the beachhead. Across the 20 miles of Sealark Channel, the division's assistant commander, Brigadier General William H. Rupertus, led the assault forces slated to take Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tanambogo: the 1st Raider Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel Merritt A. Edson); the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines (Lieutenant Colonel Harold E. Rosecrans); and the 1st Parachute Battalion (Major Robert H. Williams). Company A of the 2d Marines would reconnoiter the nearby shores of Florida Island and the rest of Colonel John A. Arthur's regiment would stand by in reserve to land where needed.

As the ships slipped through the channels on either side of rugged Savo Island, which split Sealark near its western end, heavy clouds and dense rain blanketed the task force. Later the moon came out and silhouetted the islands. On board his command ship, Vandegrift wrote to his wife: "Tomorrow morning at dawn we land in our first major offensive of the war. Our plans have been made and God grant that our judgement has been sound whatever happens you'll know I did my best. Let us hope that best will be good enough."

At on 7 August, Turner signalled his ships to "land the landing force." Just 28 minutes before, the heavy cruiser Quincy (CA) had begun shelling the landing beaches at Guadalcanal. The sun came up that fateful Friday at , and the first landing craft carrying assault troops of the 5th Marines touched down at on Red Beach. To the men's surprise (and relief), no Japanese appeared to resist the landing. Hunt immediately moved his assault troops off the beach and into the surrounding jungle, waded the steep-banked Ilu River, and headed for the enemy airfield. The following 1st Marines were able to cross the Ilu on a bridge the engineers had hastily thrown up with an amphibian tractor bracing its middle. The silence was eerie and the absence of opposition was worrisome to me riflemen. The Japanese troops, most of whom were Korean laborers, had fled to the west, spooked by a week's B bombardment, the pre-assault naval gunfire, and the sight of the ships offshore. The situation was not the same across Sealark. The Marines on Guadalcanal could hear faint rumbles of a firefight across the waters.

MajGen Vandegrift and staff
MajGen Alexander A. Vandegrift, CG, 1st Marine Division, confers with his staff on board the transport USS McCawley (APA-4) enroute to Guadalcanal. From left: Gen Vandegrift; LtCol Gerald C. Thomas, operations officer; LtCol Randolph McC. Pate, logistics officer; LtCol Frank G. Goettge, intelligence officer; and Col William Capers James, chief of staff.National Archives Photo G

The Japanese on Tulagi were special naval landing force sailors and they had no intention of giving up what they held without a vicious, no-surrender battle. Edson's men landed first, followed by Rosecrans' battalion, hitting Tulagi's south coast and moving inland towards the ridge which ran lengthwise through the island. The battalions encountered pockets of resistance in the undergrowth of the island's thick vegetation and maneuvered to outflank and overrun the opposition. The advance of the Marines was steady but casualties were frequent. By nightfall, Edson had reached the former British residency overlooking Tulagi's harbor and dug in for the night across a hill that overlooked the Japanese final position, a ravine on the island's southern tip. The 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, had driven through to the northern shore, cleaning its sector of enemy; Rosecrans moved into position to back up the raiders. By the end of its first day ashore, 2d Battalion had lost 56 men killed and wounded; 1st Raider Battalion casualties were 99 Marines.

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Sours: https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/npswapa/extcontent/usmc/pcn/sec2.htm
Romus V. “R.V.” Burgin, 1st Marine Division

The First Marine Division was one of the first two division-sized unit ever formed by the Corps. It was established in February aboard the USS Texas in Cuba around the nucleus of the pre-war First Marine Brigade. The Division's first commander was the amphibious warrior, BrigGen Holland M. Smith. There was no record of an activation ceremony since the division was deep in the preparations for FLEX 7, the last of the pre-war fleet landing exercises. On completion of the exercises, the Old Breed redeployed to Marine Corps Base, Quantico. Due to shortages of barracks there, the Seventh Marines was billeted at Marine Corps Base, Parris Island. In June , the entire First Marine Division moved into garrison at the newly established Marine base at New River, North Carolina. MajGen Phillip Torrey took command the same month and the Division continued the serious business of expansion and training.


Outbreak of World War 2

When war came in December , only 8, Marines were assigned to the Old Breed, far short of the authorized strength of almost 20, In March , the Third Marine Brigade, organized around the Seventh Marines, sailed for Western Samoa. In May , the rest of the Division sailed from Norfolk Naval Base bound for New Zealand. Arriving in June , the Division was alerted for combat operations in the South Pacific.

Solomon Islands

On 7 August the First Marine Division landed at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands under the command of MajGen Alexander Vandegrift. So began Operation WATCHTOWER, the first major ground offensive of the war. This was a misnomer in reality, since the Division went into a defensive cordon around Henderson Field, an important American airbase on the island. The fighting around Guadalcanal, called simply "the 'canal" by Marines, quickly evolved into a complex series of air, ground and sea actions.

The First Marine Division found itself short of food, fuel, water and ammunition. Forced to subsist on captured Japanese rations, the Marines were pummeled by long range enemy artillery, nicknamed "Pistol Pete." They also endured some of the heaviest naval gunfire barrages and air raids of the war. In one of the most desperate fights of the war, Marines on Edson's Ridge stood firm against wave after wave of suicidal Japanese attackers on Edson's Ridge during the night of September Before the battle, Col Merritt "Red Mike" Edson told his Marines, "There it is. It is useless to ask ourselves why it is we who are here. We are here. There is only us between the airfield and the Japs. If we don’t hold, we will lose Guadalcanal." They held.


Ravaged by malaria and malnutrition, the Old Breed pulled off of the 'canal between December and February They went into garrison in Australia, first to Brisbane, and then to Melbourne. The Marines fell in love with Australian, and the Aussies reciprocated the affection. Almost all of the young Americans would remember their stay down under as one of the happiest periods of their lives. Of course, they weren't there for a vacation. Instead, the Old Breed built its strength as it rested and refitted in preparation for future combat. While in Australia, the Division band adopted the song "Waltzing Matilda" as a favorite and it soon become the official song of the First Marine Division. MajGen William Rupertus assumed command of the Division in the summer of

Cape Gloucester

On 26 December , the Division landed at Cape Gloucester on New Britain. As part of the campaign to secure New Guinea, the combat on New Britain took place in some of the most rugged terrain anywhere on earth. Clothing, paper, leather — it all quickly rotted or fell apart in the intense humidity and heavy rainfall. Weapons and ammunition corroded almost in front of men's eyes. Marines moved out from the beach head into the almost impenetrable jungle to locate and destroy the Japanese defenders. Securing Hill , Aogiri Ridge and Hill , the Division's infantry regiments secured a lodgment around the landing beaches at Borgen Bay.


During April the Old Breed deployed to its new home on Pavuvu in the Russell Islands. Pavuvu was a far cry from the bright lights of Melbourne and the Division's Marines were bitterly disappointed when they first set eyes on Pavuvu. It was a tropical hole infested with sand crabs and covered by coconut plantations. The first order of business was to erect a tent city and clear out the millions of rotting coconuts that covered the ground. Entire battalions turned to in working parties to lay crushed coral roads and trails without any mechanized support. It was backbreaking work, but at least Pavuvu was free of malaria. One of the most pleasant memories of that time for most of the Division's Marines was Bob Hope's USO show just before the next operation.


On 15 September , the First Marine Division assaulted Peleliu in the Palaus group. This campaign had only been expected to last for three days, but ultimately took over two months before the island was secured. By the time it was relieved by the Army's 81st Infantry Division on 16 October , the Old Breed had been burned out by the deeply entrenched Japanese defenders. Only a few points off the equator, Peleliu was a brutally hot and humid place under the best of conditions. Air support stripped much of the vegetation from the island's ridges, leaving naked coral that blazed from the heat and offered little concealment. To add to all the other dangers on Peleliu, many Marines were killed or wounded by flying shards of broken coral, propelled at high speed from explosions.

Return to Pavuvu

The Division returned to Pavuvu in October and MajGen Pedro DelValle assumed command the following month. Once again, the Division rebuilt and prepared for another campaign. After Peleliu, some of the old timers from the Guadalcanal days said goodbye to their buddies and shoved off for assignments stateside. Replacements streamed in to fill the depleted ranks. Training was the order of the day and units marched around and around on the Shore Road around Pavuvu. Each Marine qualified with his individual weapon and practiced the old skills; shooting, maneuvering, communications.


Again, the Old Breed moved out, this time bound for Okinawa, a major island in the Ryukus only miles from the southern Japanese home island of Kyushu. In the largest amphibious assault of World War II, Marine and Army units — among them the First Marine Division — landed on the Hagushi beaches on 1 April For most of April, the First was employed in a hard-driving campaign to secure the northern sections of Okinawa. On 30 April , that all ended when the Old Breed went into the lines against the teeth of the Japanese defenses on the southern front.

The Division smashed up against the Shuri Line, and in a series of grinding attacks under incessant artillery fire, reduced one supporting position after another. As May wore on, heavy rains flooded the battlefield into a sea of mud, making life misery for all hands. meanwhile, Japanese kamikaze attackers exacted a fearsome toll from the supporting ships offshore. Finally, on 31 May , Marines of the First completed the occupation of Shuri Castle, nothing more than a pile of rubble after so many days of unrelenting combat.

Under the overall command of Tenth Army, the Division continued the push south against the newly established enemy positions around Kunishi Ridge. Marine tank-infantry teams adopted a technique called "processing" to destroy Japanese positions with flame and demolitions. Finally, organized resistance ended on 21 June when the last Japanese defenses were breached. By now, many of the Old Breed's battalions had been reduced to nothing more than small rifle companies.

End of War and China Assignment

Rumors swept through the ranks that the Division would ship out for Hawaii, even as units fanned out across the battlefield for the dirty job of mopping-up. But hopes were dashed when the Marines learned they wouldn't be sailing for an exotic post of call. Instead, they were ordered to remain establish camps on Okinawa. Every member of the Division was bitterly disappointed, but one Marine was reputed to have said, "Well, dammit, if they can dish it our, I can take it."

Events moved quickly in the summer of Expecting a protracted and brutal assault against the Japanese home islands, the Old Breed got a new lease on life with the end of the war in August On 30 September, the Division was ordered to Hopeh Province, China, for occupation duty. With its headquarters in Tientsin, the Old Breed remained in China until

Return Home

Returning stateside for the first time in almost seven years, the Division was based at Camp Pendleton, Calif. In the future, the First Marine Division would again receive the call to duty in many climes and places; from the frozen hills of Korea to Vietnam's tropical jungles and the deserts of the Middle East. The World War II era members of the Division set a high standard of sacrifice and devotion to duty that were a beacon to every Marine and Sailor who would later serve with the Old Breed.

"Up there on the line, with nothing between us and the enemy but space (and precious little of that) we'd forged a bond that time would never erase. We were brothers." - With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa by E. B. Sledge


1st Marine Regiment

The 1st Marines stood at a low state of readiness at the beginning of the war having just been reconstituted from cadre status however they did possess very strong leadership at the higher levels.[1] They set sail from the San Francisco in June on board a mix of eight ships headed for the South Pacific.[2] The 1st Marines landed on the island of Guadalcanal, part of the Solomon Islands, on August 7, and would fight in the Battle of Guadalcanal until relieved on December 8, [3]

Some of the heaviest action the regiment would see on Guadalcanal took place on August 21, during the Battle of the Tenaru, which was the first Japanese counter-attack of the campaign.[4][5] Following their first campaign, the regiment was sent to Melbourne, Australia to rest and refit. During their stay there they were billeted in the Melbourne Cricket Ground until leaving in September [6]

The 1st Marines would next see action during Operation Cartwheel which was the codename for the campaigns in Eastern New Guinea and New Britain. The regiment would be the first ashore at the Battle of Cape Gloucester on December 26, They fought on New Britain until February at such places as Suicide Creek and Ajar Ridge.[7]

The next battle for the 1st Marines would be the bloodiest yet at the Battle of Peleliu. The regiment landed on September 15, as part of the 1st Marine Division's assault on the island. The division's commanding general, Major General William H. Rupertus had predicted the fighting would be, "tough but short. It'll be over in three of four days - a fight like Tarawa. Rough but fast. Then we can go back to a rest area.".[8]

The 1st Marines fought on Peleliu for 10 days before being pulled off the lines after suffering 56% casualties and no longer being combat effective.[9] The regiment was decimated by heavy artillery and accurate small arms fire in the vicinity of Bloody Nose Ridge. Repeated frontal assaults with fixed bayonets failed to unseat the Japanese defenders from the 14th Division (Imperial Japanese Army).[10] Ten days of fighting on Peleliu cost the 1st Marine Regiment 1, casualties.[11]

The last World War II engagement for the regiment was the Battle of Okinawa.

In September , the 1st Marines deployed to North China to take part in the garrisoning of the area and in the repatriation of former enemy personnel. It remained in China until February They returned to Camp Pendleton and were deactivated on October 1, , only to be reactivated one year later.

Known Marines

5th Marine Regiment

After the outbreak of war, 5th Marines deployed to Wellington, New Zealand in June During World War II they fought on Guadalcanal, New Britain, Eastern New Guinea, Peleliu and Okinawa. Immediately following the war in September they deployed to Tientsin, China and participated in the occupation of North China until May They were redeployed to Guam in May and reassigned to the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. In they were relocated to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. It is the most highly decorated regiment in the Marine Corps.

Known Marines

7th Marine Regiment

On 1 January , the 7th Marine Regiment was re-activated at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The regiment moved to what is today Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. On 18 September the regiment landed in the Solomon Islands on Guadalcanal. For four long months the regiment relentlessly attacked the Japanese defenders and repulsed banzai charges and suicidal attacks. During the Battle of Guadalcanal the heroism of Medal Of Honor recipient "Manila John" Basilone, Mitchell Paige, and Navy Cross recipient Lewis "Chesty" Puller, represented the actions of the Marines of the 7th Marine Regiment.

Arriving in Australia in January , the vast majority of the regiment suffered from malaria, wounds or fatigue.

Again and again the Regiment was called upon to storm the Japanese-held islands in the Pacific. The Seventh Marine Regiment fought in such places as Eastern New Guinea, New Britain, "Bloody Peleliu" and the island fortress of Okinawa. 7th Marines saw intense fighting on the island of Okinawa where they would sustain Marines killed or wounded in the fighting to take Dakeshi Ridge and another killed or wounded in the fighting near Wana Ridge.[1]

After the surrender of Japan, 7th Marines took part in the Occupation of Northern China from 30 September through 5 January They returned to MCB Camp Pendleton, California in January and were reassigned to the 1st Marine Division. The regiment was deactivated on 6 March as part of the Marine Corps' draw down of forces after the war. 7th Marines however was quickly reactivated on 1 October but only as a shell of its former self as it consisted of only four companies. Company "C" deployed to China from 2 May through 23 June to safeguard the withdrawal of Americans and was the last element of Fleet Marine Force to depart China.

Known Marines

11th Marine Regiment

With the approach of World War II and the consequent expansion of the Marine Corps, an 11th Marines (Artillery) was activated at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on 1 March Activation of the regiment's organic battalions already had been underway since 1 September when the 1st Battalion was created. After its return to the United States from Cuba, the regiment (less the 1st Battalion) shipped overseas with the 1st Marine Division to New Zealand in June-July The 1st Battalion went to Samoa with the 7th Marine Regiment in March

The 11th Marines participated in the Battle of Guadalcanal in August with the 1st Marine Division and played an especially significant part in the Battle of the Tenaru and the Battle of Bloody Ridge. The 1st Battalion rejoined the regiment in September on Guadalcanal. On 15 December , the 11th Marines left Guadalcanal for Australia, rested and reorganized, and then reentered combat on New Britain at Cape Gloucester on 26 December Here the regiment furnished support to the infantry in their capture of the Japanese aerodrome. Following the New Britain campaign came a period of preparation for the Peleliu landing where the regiment was actively engaged.

For the first two weeks after the initial landing on 15 September , the regiment took part in the Battle of Peleliu. All artillery support was handled both novelly and conventionally, providing massed preparatory, harassing, and interdicting fire. Later, the artillery was used to fire directly into the mouths of enemy caves. In March , the 11th Marines participated in the Battle of Okinawa, its final combat operation of World War II. There the regiment played an important defensive role with effective counter-battery fire, and steadily suppressed enemy attempts to counter-attack objectives already won by U.S. forces. With the war won, in the fall of the 11th Marines moved to Tianjin in North China where it was soon involved in trying to keep peace in the midst of the increasing conflict between rival Chinese factions. Early in , the regiment returned to the United States to be reduced virtually to a battalion-sized unit.

The Story of the Division Patch

The First Marine Division was never really a green outfit in the sense of a newly formed military unit. When it was activated early in , the Division was filled by Old Corps Marines with many years of expeditions and campaigning behind them. Filled with these Leathernecks, many with service going back to World War I, the Divisional name, "The Old Breed," made its way into common usage. The name fit, and it stuck.

Through the war, many of the old timers were killed, wounded, or became sick in the harsh conditions of the Pacific. But they left an indelible stamp on their Division that endured long after they had packed their seabags.

Except for the interlude of in Australia, the First Marine Division spent its years of service in austere conditions. This helped cement its inner feeling of being somehow different and set apart from the rest of the Marine Corps. The Divisional history noted that, "We never really came out of the boondocks"

The story of how the Divisional patch was adopted is described on pages of The Old Breed, by George McMillan:

"They sat in facing bucket seats, between the litter of packs, seabags, typewriters, briefcases — the kinds of things that staff officers would necessarily bring out of battle.

General Vandegrift had begun to be a little bored with the monotony of the long plane ride. "Twining," he said, "what are you doing?"

"An idea I have for a shoulder patch," said Twining. "The stars are the Southern Cross."

Vandegrift looked at it for a moment, scribbled something on it, and handed it back to Twining, who saw the word, "Approved," with the initials, "A.A.V."

They had been on the ride from Guadalcanal to Brisbane. Because the first few days in Australia were hectic, Twining did nothing else about the patch until one morning he was called into Vandegrift's office.

"Well, Twining, where's your patch?" Vandegrift asked to the discomfort of Twining.

"I bought a box of water colors," Twining says in recalling the incident, "and turned in with malaria. I made six sketches, each with a different color scheme. In a couple of days I went back to the General with my finished drawings. He studied them only a minute or so and then approved the one that is now the Division patch."

Twining knew there was more to his mission. He placed an order for a hundred thousand with the Australian subsidiary of an American woven name manufacturer although money was one of the things the Division did not have when it arrived in Australia.

"I convinced the Army PX people that they should supply credit until our outfit could get some folding money," Twining remarks.

The patches went on sale in February [], three weeks after Vandegrift approved Twining's design."


1stmardiv arrival NZ 2

20 June Wellington Harbor, New Zealand. MajGen A. A. Vandegrift, CG, 1st MarDiv, (wearing overcoat) and BrigGen William Rupertus, ADC, 1st MarDiv, (foreground) debark from the USS Wakefield (AP). Still image from USMC motion picture film

1stmardiv arrival NZ 3

20 June Wellington Harbor, New Zealand. MajGen Vandegrift (wearing overcoat), and BrigGen Rupertus (center), confer dockside after debarkation. Still image from USMC motion picture film

1stmardiv NZ arrival

20 June Wellington Harbor, New Zealand. Troops of the 1st MarDiv debark from their transport after over a month at sea. Most of them wear the winter service uniform and they are still equipped with the M rifle. Still image from USMC motion picture film

1stmardiv NZ 2

20 June At their new camp outside of Wellington, Marines of the 1st MarDiv find their bunks under the watchful eye of their platoon sergeant. The Marine standing in the door is a BAR man and his NCO carried a Reising submachine gun. The division only stayed in New Zealand for a very short time. Still image from USMC motion picture film

1stmardiv puller guadalcanal

Lt Col Lewis B. Puller marches at the head of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, during the campaign for Guadalcanal, Puller earned the third of his six Navy Crosses while commanding 1/7 on the 'canal, and he was wounded in action there. Still image from USMC motion picture film

1stmardiv edson NC

During a visit to Guadalcanal in , Adm Chester Nimitz, CINCPAC, decorates Col Merritt 'Red Mike' Edson with the Navy Cross for heroism in action while in command of the 1st Raider Battalion in the assault on Tulagi from August Still image from USMC motion picture film

1stmardiv australia 1

A posed shot of 1st MarDiv troops reading their mail, Melbourne, Australia, Australian War Memorial

1stmardiv newbritain 1

A 6 x 6 truck of 3rd Bn, 17th Marines, plows through the morass of a trail at Cape Gloucester, Australian War Memorial


Down From Bloody Nose Ridge, by Tom Lea, depicting a combat fatigued Marine of the 1st MarDiv on Peleliu. In the background is the Umurbrogal complex. Lea wrote of this subject: "As we passed sick bay, still in the shell hole, it was crowded with wounded, and somehow hushed in the evening light. I noticed a tattered Marine standing quietly by a corpsman, staring stiffly at nothing. His mind had crumbled in battle, his jaw hung, and his eyes were like two black empty holes in his head. Down by the beach again, we walked silently as we passed the long line of dead Marines under the tarpaulins." U. S. Army Art Collection


Sundown at Peleliu by Tom Lea. U. S. Army Art Collection

Okinawa beachhead 1

1 April , L-Day on Okinawa. An infantry Marine moves across the beach under cover of an LVT(A)-4 amphibian tank. Still image from USMC motion picture film

Okinawa Hill closeup

Marines in combat on southern Okinawa. The First and Sixth Marine Divisions fought in this, the last campaign of the war. The island's rugged terrain posed an extreme challenge that required the utmost in courage and tactics. Still image from USMC motion picture film

Greens sergeant

A First Marine Division NCO presents the image of soldierly appearance and bearing. On his left shoulder is displayed the Divisional patch. USMC Photo

1stmardiv 9

Sgt Lloyd Crusan was part of the first group of Old Breed Marines to rotate home in after over two years in the Pacific. he was a veteran of the campaigns for Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester and earned the Navy Cross in January Here Crusan is being fitted for a new set of dress greens at MCB, San Diego. The tailor is checking the position of the First Marine Division patch and rank insignia. Leatherneck Magazine

1stmardiv 1MOH

First Marine Division Medal of Honor ceremony at Balcombe, Australia, 21 May In this photo are the first Marines of the Division to receive America's highest honor in World War II. L-R: MajGen A. A. Vandegrift, Col Merritt Edson, 2ndLt Mitchell Paige, PltSgt John Basilone USMC Photo




Sours: https://thepacific.fandom.com/wiki/1st_Marine_Division

1st marine division wwii

1st Marine Division

USMC infantry division based out of Camp Pendleton, California

Military unit

The 1st Marine Division (1st MARDIV) is a Marineinfantrydivision of the United States Marine Corps headquartered at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. It is the ground combat element of the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF).

It is the oldest and largest active dutydivision in the United States Marine Corps, representing a combat-ready force of more than 19, men and women. It is one of three active duty divisions in the Marine Corps today and is a multi-role, expeditionary ground combat force. It is nicknamed "The Old Breed".


The division is employed as the ground combat element (GCE) of the I Marine Expeditionary Force or may provide task-organized forces for assault operations and such operations as may be directed. The 1st Marine Division must be able to provide the ground amphibious forcible entry capability to the naval expeditionary force (NEF) and to conduct subsequent land operations in any operational environment.[2]


The 1st Marine Division currently comprises a headquarters battalion, four regiments and five separate battalions as follows:

Structure of 1st Marine Division


Pre-World War II[edit]

The lineal forebear of the 1st Marine Division is the 1st Advance Base Brigade, which was activated on 23 December at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Subsequently, the brigade was redesignated on 1 April , as the 1st Brigade, and on 16 September , as the 1st Marine Brigade).[3] The brigade consisted of the Fixed Defense Regiment and the Mobile Defense Regiment, later designated as the 1st and 2nd Regiments, 1st Brigade, respectively. In , while deployed in Haiti, the two regiments were again redesignated, exchanging numerals, to then become the 2nd and 1st Regiments, 1st Brigade. Between April and August , elements of the 1st Brigade participated in operations in Mexico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba, receiving campaign credit for service in each nation. While the 1st Brigade did not serve ashore in the European theater during the First World War, the brigade was awarded the World War I Victory Medal Streamer, with one bronze star, in recognition of the brigade's service during that conflict.[4] On 16 September , the brigade was redesignated as the 1st Marine Brigade and deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in October

World War II[edit]

The 1st Marine Division was activated aboard the USS&#;Texas on 1 February [5] In May , the 1st MARDIV relocated to Quantico, Virginia and Parris Island, South Carolina and in April , the division began deploying to Samoa and Wellington, New Zealand. The division's units were scattered over the Pacific with the support elements and the 1st Marine Regiment transported en route to New Zealand on three ships, the USATs Ericsson, Barnett and Elliott from Naval Reserve Air Base Oakland to New Zealand,[6] and later were landed on the island of Guadalcanal, part of the Solomon Islands, on 7 August

Initially, only the 7th Marine Regiment was in garrison on British Samoa,[7] with the 5th Marine Regiment having just encamped at Wellington, New Zealand after disembarking from USAT Wakefield, and the 1st Marine Regiment not scheduled to arrive in New Zealand until 11 July.[8] The 1st Raider Battalion was on New Caledonia, and the 3rd Defense Battalion was in Pearl Harbor. All of the division's units, with the 11th Marines (artillery) and 75mm howitzer armed 10th Marines battalion would rendezvous at Fiji.[8]

Due to the change in orders and shortage of attack and combat cargo vessels, all of the division's ton trucks, M mm howitzers[9] and the sound and flash-ranging equipment needed for counter-battery fire had to be left in Wellington. Also, because the Wellington dock workers were on strike at the time, the Marines had to do all the load reconfiguration from administrative to combat configuration.[10]

After 11 days of logistical challenges, the division, with 16, Marines, departed Wellington in eighty-nine ships embarked for the Solomon Islands with a day combat load which did not include tents, spare clothing or bedrolls, office equipment, unit muster rolls, or pay clerks. Other things not yet available to this first wave of Marine deployments were insect repellent and mosquito netting.[11] Attached to the division was the 1st Parachute Battalion, which along with the rest of the division, conducted landing rehearsals from 28 to 30 July on Koro Island, which Major General Alexander Vandegrift described as a "disaster".[12]

On 31 July the entire Marine task force was placed under the command of Vice Admiral Frank J. Fletcher's Task Force The division as a whole would fight in the Guadalcanal Campaign until relieved at on 9 December by Alexander Patch'sAmerical Division.[13][14] This operation won the Division its first of three World War II Presidential Unit Citations (PUC). The battle would cost the division killed in action, 1, wounded in action with a further 8, contracting malaria and 31 missing in action.[13] Others were awarded for the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa.[2]

Following the Guadalcanal Campaign, the division's Marines were sent to Melbourne, Australia for rest and refit.[15] It was during this time that the division took the traditional Australian folk song "Waltzing Matilda" as its battle hymn. To this day, 1st Division Marines still ship out to this song being played.[16]

The division would next see action during Operation Cartwheel which was the codename for the campaigns in Eastern New Guinea and New Britain. They came ashore at the Battle of Cape Gloucester on 26 December [17] and fought on New Britain until March at such places as Suicide Creek and Ajar Ridge. During the course of the battle the division had killed and 1, wounded. Following the battle they were sent to Pavuvu in the Russell Islands for rest and refitting.[18]

The next battle for the 1st Marine Division would be the bloodiest yet at the Battle of Peleliu. They landed on 15 September as part of the III Amphibious Corps assault on the island. The division's commanding general, Major General William H. Rupertus had predicted the fighting would be, "tough but short. It'll be over in three or four days – a fight like Tarawa. Rough but fast. Then we can go back to the rest area."[19] Making a mockery of the prediction, the first week of the battle alone cost the division 3, casualties, during which time they secured the key airfield sites.[20] The division fought on Peleliu for one month before being relieved.[21] Some of the heaviest fighting of the entire war took place in places such as Bloody Nose Ridge and the central ridges of the island that made up the Umurbrogol Pocket.[22] The month of fighting against the 14th Division (Imperial Japanese Army) on Peleliu cost the 1st Marine Division 1, dead and 5, wounded.[23]

The final campaign the division would take part in during World War II would be the Battle of Okinawa. The strategic importance of Okinawa was that it provided a fleet anchorage, troop staging areas, and airfields in close proximity to Japan. The division landed on 1 April as part of the III Amphibious Corps. Its initial mission was, fighting alongside the 6th Marine Division, to clear the northern half of the island – that they were able to do expeditiously. The Army's XXIV Corps met much stiffer resistance in the south, and on 1 May the Marine division was moved south where it relieved the Army's 27th Infantry Division. The division was in heavy fighting on Okinawa until 22 June , when the island was declared secure. The 1st Marine Division slugged it out with the Japanese 32nd Army at such places as Dakeshi Ridge, Wana Ridge, "Sugarloaf Hill" and Shuri Castle. Fighting on Okinawa cost the division 1, killed in action.

During the war, the division had five Seabee Battalions posted to it. the 6th NCB was attached to the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal. They were followed by the 19th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) which was assigned to the 17th Marines as the third battalion of the regiment. They landed at Cape Gloucester with the division. The 17th Marines were inactivated with the 19th NCB being reassigned. After that, the 33rd NCB was posted to the 1st for the assault on Peleliu and they were replaced by the th NCB for the invasion of Okinawa. (see:Seabees) On Peleliu, the 17th Special NCB(segregated) was assigned to the 1st Pioneers as shore party. Together with the 16th Marines Field Depot(segregated) they helped evacuate wounded and bury the dead for the 7th Marines. On the first night of the assault, nearly all of the 17th Seabees volunteered to hump ammo to the frontlines. They also reinforced the Marines in sections where directed, were used to crew a 37mm, and were utilized for several days. For their efforts, they received an official "well done".[24][25][26][27] The 33rd NCB also had Men assigned to the shore party.[28]

Following the surrender of Japan, the division was sent to Northern China as the lead combat element of the III Amphibious Corps with the primary mission of repatriating more than , Japanese soldiers and civilians still resident in that part of China. They landed at Taku on 30 September and would be based in Hopeh Province in the cities of Tientsin and Peiping, and also on the Shandong Peninsula,[29] with the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and Chinese Communist Party raging around them. Most Marines in the division would be charged with guarding supply trains, bridges, and depots to keep food and coal moving into the cities. During this time they increasingly fought skirmishes with soldiers from the People's Liberation Army who saw the railways and other infrastructure as attractive targets to ambush, raid, and harass.[30][31]

By the summer of the division was suffering the effects of demobilization and its combat efficiency had dropped below wartime standards; however, its commitments in China remained. As it became increasingly apparent that a complete collapse of truce negotiations among the Chinese factions was apparent, plans were laid for the withdrawal of all Marine units from Hopeh. The last elements of the division finally left China on 1 September [30]

Korean War[edit]

Following the end of World War II and the postwar drawdown of forces, by the division only possessed the strength of a reinforced regimental combat team.[32] The division would be assembled on the battle field and would participate in the amphibious assault at Inchon under the orders of United Nations Command (UN) commander General MacArthur.[33] The division was the unit chosen to lead the Inchon landing on 15 September At Inchon, the division faced one of its most daunting challenges, deploying so hurriedly it still lacked its third infantry regiment and ordered to execute an amphibious assault under the worst tidal conditions they had ever faced. After the landing they moved north and after heavy fighting in Seoul they liberated the city.

After the liberation of Seoul, the division was put back on ships and taken to the eastern side of the Korean peninsula and landed atWonsan on 26 October. As part of X Corps commanded by Army Major General Edward Almond the division was ordered to push north towards the Yalu River as fast as possible.[34] The then commanding officer of the division, Major General O.P. Smith, did not agree with his superiors and had become convinced that they were stretched thin and that the Chinese Forces had entered the war. He purposely slowed his advance and consolidated along the way at every opportunity.[35] The 1st Marine Division was attacked by ten Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) infantry divisions on 27 November They fought their way out of the Chosin Reservoir against seven PVA divisions suffering over killed and missing, over 3, wounded and more than 6, non-battle casualties mostly from frostbite during the battle. The greater part of the PVA 9th Army was rendered ineffective as they suffered an estimated 37, casualties trying to stop the Marines' march out of the "Frozen Chosin". The division was evacuated from Hungnam in mid-December and then landed in Pusan.[36][37]

Beginning in early the division participated in several UN offensives in east-central Korea. This was followed by defending against the Chinese Spring Offensive. By June the 1st Marine Division had pushed northward and secured the Punchbowl and then settled into a defensive line 11 miles (18&#;km) long.[38]

In mid-March the 8th Army, to whom the Marines were attached, instituted Operation Bootdrop. The operation was a massive redeployment of UN forces designed to put more Republic of Korea Army units on the Jamestown Line, the UN's Main line of resistance (MLR).[39] The 1st Marine Division was reassigned to the far western end of the MLR defending a 35 miles (56&#;km) line that encompassed the Pyongyang to Seoul corridor. For much of the next year, in what would be termed the "Outpost War", action along this line consisted of small, localized actions because much of the fighting revolved around the holding and retaking of various combat outposts along the MLR, including the Battles of Bunker Hill, First Hook and Outpost Vegas. Fighting continued until the Armistice took effect on 27 July [38] During the Korean War the division suffered combat casualties of 4, dead and 25, wounded.

In the division command post was established at Tonggu.[40] The site was later named Camp Howze by the US Army. A memorial to—US and ROK—Marine participation in the war is located at the adjoining district of Bongilcheon-ri (봉일천리) (37°43′52″N°49′59″E / °N °E / ; ).[41]

Vietnam War[edit]

3/3 Marines observe an airstrike during Operation Harvest Moon

In August , the Division's 7th Marine Regiment participated in Operation Starlite, the first major engagement against the Vietcong (VC) for American ground troops in South Vietnam.[42] This was followed in September by Operation Piranha.[43]:&#;69–83&#; In December Division elements conducted Operation Harvest Moon.[43]:&#;–11&#;

In March Division elements conducted Operations Utah, Oregon and Texas.[44]:&#;–27&#; March also saw the 1st Marine Division Headquarters established at Chu Lai.[45] By June, the entire Division was in South Vietnam, its Tactical Area of Responsibility (TAOR) was the southern two provinces of I Corps — Quang Tin and Quang Ngai.[44]:&#;–31&#; In August the Division conducted Operation Colorado.[44]:&#;–20&#; Between March and October to May , the Division conducted 44 named operations. The Division received its 7th Presidential Unit Citation for service from 29 March to 15 September [46]

From January to April the 7th Marines conducted Operation Desoto.[47]:&#;53&#; In early April under Operation Oregon the Division moved north to Da Nang to support the 3rd Marine Division and Task Force Oregon took over the Division's former TAOR.[47]:&#;78&#; From April to May Division units conducted Operations Union and Beaver Cage.[47]:&#;63–8&#; From May to June the 5th Marine Regiment conducted Operation Union II with Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) forces.[47]:&#;68&#; In September Division units and ARVN forces conducted Operation Swift.[47]:&#;–9&#; In November the 5th Marines conducted Operation Essex.[47]:&#;–2&#; On 4 December Task Force X-Ray was activated to implement Operation Checkers, the movement of the 1st Marine Division from Thừa Thiên Province north to Quảng Trị Province to support the 3rd Marine Division which was engaged in heavy combat along the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone.[48]:&#;–6&#; From 28 December to 3 January Division units conducted Operation Auburn on Go Noi Island south of Da Nang.[48]:&#;91–7&#;

A wounded 2/5 Marine receives treatment during the Battle of Huế

On 11 January Task Force X-Ray headquarters was established at Phu Bai Combat Base and assumed operational control of the 5th Marine Regiment which moved north from Da Nang and the 1st Marine Regiment already based at Phu Bai.[48]:&#;–6&#; When the Tet Offensive began at the end of January, the Division was involved in fierce fighting with PAVN/VC throughout its TAOR and together with ARVN units would defend Da Nang and fight the Battle of Huế.[48]:&#;–&#; The 1st Marines would receive a Presidential Unit Citation for its actions at Huế.[49]From May to August Division units conducted Operation Allen Brook on Go Noi Island.[48]:&#;–43&#; From May to October Division units conducted Operation Mameluke Thrust in Happy Valley southwest of Da Nang.[48]:&#;–7&#; From 1 to 19 October Division units conducted Operation Maui Peak to relieve Thường Ðức Camp.[48]:&#;–21&#; From late October to early December the 5th Marines conducted Operation Henderson Hill in Happy Valley.[48]:&#;&#; From 20 November to 9 December Division units conducted Operation Meade River south of Da Nang.[48]:&#;–36&#; From 6 December to 8 March Division units conducted Operation Taylor Common in the An Hoa Basin west of Hội An.[48]:&#;–42&#;[50]:&#;88–94&#;

1/5 Marines await a helicopter during Operation Imperial Lake

From 31 March to 29 May Division and ARVN units conducted Operation Oklahoma Hills southwest of Da Nang.[50]:&#;–16&#; From 26 May to 7 November Division, ARVN and Republic of Korea Marine Corps (ROKMC) units conducted Operation Pipestone Canyon on Go Noi Island.[50]:&#;–87&#; On 7 June PFC Dan Bullock of 2/5 Marines was killed in a PAVN sapper attack on An Hoa Combat Base, having lied about his age to enlist, he was, at 15 years old, the youngest American killed in the war.[51]

From July to August Division units conducted Operation Pickens Forest southwest of An Hoa Combat Base.[52]:&#;69–76&#; From 1 September to 7 May Division and ROKMC units conducted Operation Imperial Lake in the Quế Sơn District south of Da Nang.[52]:&#;91–2&#;

On 13 January Operation Keystone Robin Charlie began with the standing down of the initial units supporting the Division. The redeployment accelerated in mid-February but then slowed when HMH, HML, HMM and MASS-3 were retained to support Operation Lam Son [52]:&#;&#; Throughout April the remaining Division units transferred bases and tactical areas of responsibility to the Americal Division.[52]:&#;–8&#; On 14 April the 3rd Marine Amphibious Brigade was activated at Camp Jay K. Brooks and III Marine Amphibious Force transferred all remaining Marine forces to it.[52]:&#;&#; On 30 April President Richard Nixon welcomed the Division back to Camp Pendleton and awarded it a second Presidential Unit Citation for its service in South Vietnam.[52]:&#;&#;

The Division lost 7, men killed in action in South Vietnam.[53]

In , the division supported the resettlement of South Vietnamese refugees by providing food and temporary shelter at Camp Pendleton for Vietnamese refugees as they arrived in the United States.[54]

Desert Shield and Desert Storm[edit]

See also: Battle of Khafji

In , the 1st Marine Division formed the nucleus of the massive force sent to the Middle East in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. During Operation Desert Shield, the division supported I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) in the defense of Saudi Arabia from the Iraqi threat. In , the division went on the offensive as part of U.S. Marine Forces Central Command (MARCENT)[55]with the rest of Coalition Forces in Operation Desert Storm. The 1st Marine Division destroyed around 60 Iraqi tanks near the Burgan oil field without suffering any losses.[56] 1st Marine Division Task Force Ripper (RCT-7) M60A1 RISE Passive Patton tanks destroyed about Iraqi tanks and armored personnel carriers, including about 50 top-of-the-line Soviet T tanks.[57] These efforts were instrumental in the liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi forces.

Los Angeles riots[edit]

On 2 May , the 1st Marine Division took part of Operation Garden Plot to help local and state law enforcement as well as the California Army National Guard in quelling the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles County, California. It was part of the 3, federal military force sent to Los Angeles. The Marine Corps contingent included the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, commanded by Marine Corps General John F. Kelly. As part of the Joint Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Los Angeles, Marines took up positions in Compton and Long Beach to prevent further rioting and disorder. No rioters or civilians were killed or injured by the Marines, nor did the Marines themselves suffer any casualties. On 10 May, six days after the riots ended, Marines formally withdrew from the city and returned to Camp Pendleton.[58]

s humanitarian relief[edit]

Letter by Gen Mattis distributed throughout division before the invasion of Iraq

Immediately following the Persian Gulf War, the Division sent units to assist in relief efforts following a typhoon in Bangladesh (Operation Sea Angel) and the eruption of volcanoMount Pinatubo in the Philippines (Operation Fiery Vigil).[2] In December , Operation Restore Hope, bringing relief to famine-stricken Somalia, kicked off with the early morning amphibious landing of Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which was supported by 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. More than 15, metric tons of food was successfully distributed from different food sites in the city during the operation. The final phase of the operation involved the transition from a U.S. peacemaking force to a United Nations peacekeeping force. U.S. Marine involvement in Operation Restore Hope officially ended on 27 April , when the humanitarian relief sector of Mogadishu was handed over to Pakistani Armed Forces.[2]

Iraq War[edit]

The 1st Marine Division, then under the command of Major General James Mattis, was one of the two major U.S. land forces that participated in the invasion of Iraq as the land component of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. In December , Mattis was quoted as saying, "The President, the National Command Authority and the American people need speed. The sooner we get it over with the better. Our overriding principle will be speed, speed, speed."[59] Initially, the division fought through the Rumaila oil fields, feinted an attack towards Basrah[60] then moved north on Iraq Highway 1 to An Nasariyah – a moderate-sized, Shi'ite dominated city with important strategic significance as a major road junction and proximity to nearby Talil Airfield. The division then fought its way to Baghdad and pushed further to secure Tikrit by forming Task Force Tripoli after the fall of Baghdad. The division covered kilometers in 17 days of sustained combat,[61] the deepest penetrating ground operation in Marine Corps history. After the invasion the division settled in to conduct security and stabilization operations in Baghdad, Tikrit, and then in south-central Iraq from May to October For actions during the war as part of I MEF the division was awarded its 9th Presidential Unit Citation.[2]

The division returned to Iraq in February and took control of the Al Anbar province in western Iraq; it was the lead unit in Operation Vigilant Resolve and Operation Phantom Fury in During February and March , the division was relieved by the 2nd Marine Division concluding the largest relief in place in the history of the Marine Corps.[2] In , the division again deployed to Iraq as the ground combat element for I MEF in the Al Anbar province. It returned to MCB Camp Pendleton in early [citation needed]

Afghanistan War[edit]

Ambox current red Americas.svg

This article needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(December )

Battalions from the 1st Marine Division have been regularly deployed to Afghanistan since The division headquarters and staff were sent forward in March to take command of all Marine forces in the Helmand Province operating in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.[62] This will be a year-long deployment for the division.


Originally termed a battle blaze, the shoulder sleeve insignia of the 1st Marine Division was designed by Lt. Col Merrill Twining, Division D-3 in February while the division was stationed in Victoria, Australia.[63] The blue diamond with the Southern Cross is similar to the Flag of Victoria. The red numeral one in the middle denotes the division's first action on Guadalcanal. A commercial firm in Melbourne first produced the shoulder patch with every Marine issued two of them[64] that was sewn on his battle jacket.

The 2nd Marine Division originally had a similar battle blaze of the same design with a red snake in the shape of a "2" also reading GUADALCANAL.[65]

Marine Corps shoulder sleeve insignia were officially authorized on 15 March [66] Some in the division who served on Guadalcanal wore their "battle blaze" on the right shoulder to distinguish themselves from replacements who had not been on "The Canal".[citation needed]

Unit awards[edit]

A unit citation or commendation is an award bestowed upon an organization for the action cited. Members of the unit who participated in said actions are allowed to wear on their uniforms the awarded unit citation. The 1st Marine Division has been presented with the following awards:[67]

Streamer Award Year(s) Additional Info
Streamer PUC Navy.PNGPresidential Unit Citation Streamer with one Silver and three Bronze Stars , , , , , , –, –, Guadalcanal, Peleliu-Ngesebus, Okinawa, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq
Streamer JMUA.PNGJoint Meritorious Unit Award StreamerSomalia
Navy Unit Commendation streamer.svgNavy Unit Commendation Streamer with one Bronze Star –, – Korea, Southwest Asia
Streamer MS.PNGMexican Service StreamerApril–November Vera Cruz
Streamer DC.PNGDominican Campaign StreamerJune–December
Streamer HC.PNGHaitian Campaign Streamer with one Bronze Star August – August
Streamer MCE.PNGMarine Corps Expeditionary Streamer

Streamer WWI V.PNGWorld War I Victory Streamer with one Bronze Star

ADS 1B.PNGAmerican Defense Service Streamer with one Bronze Star World War II
Streamer APC.PNGAsiatic-Pacific Campaign Streamer with one Silver and one Bronze Star
Guadalcanal, Eastern New Guinea, New Britain, Peleliu, Okinawa
Streamer WWII V.PNGWorld War II Victory StreamerPacific War
WWIIV ASIA.PNGNavy Occupation Service Streamer with "ASIA"

Streamer CS.PNGChina Service Streamer with one Bronze Star September – June North China
NDS 3B.PNGNational Defense Service Streamer with three Bronze Stars –, –, –, –present Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, War on Terrorism
Korean Service Medal - Streamer.pngKorean Service Streamer with two Silver Stars Inchon-Seoul, Chosin Reservoir, East-Central Front, Western Front
Streamer AFE.PNGArmed Forces Expeditionary StreamerSomalia
SASM 2S 3B.PNGVietnam Service Streamer with two Silver and three Bronze Stars July – April , April–December Chu Lai, Da Nang, Dong Ha, Qui Nhon, Huế, Phu Bai, Quang Tri, Operation New Arrival
SWASM 2B.PNGSouthwest Asia Service Streamer with two Bronze Stars September – February Desert Shield, Desert Storm
Iraq Campaign streamer (USMC).svgIraq Campaign Streamer
March – March , March – February
Streamer gwotE.PNGGlobal War on Terrorism Expeditionary Streamer
Streamer gwotS.PNGGlobal War on Terrorism Service Streamer–present
Streamer KPUC.PNGKorea Presidential Unit Citation Streamer

VMUA PALM.PNGVietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Streamer

Streamer RVMUCCA.PNGVietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Actions Streamer

See also[edit]

19th Naval Construction Battalion Plaque as the third Battalion 17th Marines with the 1st Marine Division Seabee Museum Archives


Public Domain&#;This article incorporates&#;public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  1. ^Sanborn, James K. (12 September ). "Former Cyber Commander Takes Over 1st Marine Division."MarineCorpsTimes.com. Retrieved 20 September
  2. ^ abcdef"History of the 1st Marine Division". United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 11 June Retrieved 21 November . Accessed 9 June 10 June
  3. ^1st Marine Division: Lineage http://www.1stmardiv.marines.mil/About/Lineage/ Retrieved 6 May
  4. ^1st Marine Division: Honors http://www.1stmardiv.marines.mil/About/Honors/ Retrieved 6 May
  5. ^Lowery, M. Trent (28 January ). "1st Marine Division welcomes veterans for 67th anniversary". Marine Corps News. United States Marine Corps.
  6. ^Lane (), p. 44
  7. ^It would be replaced by the 2nd Marine Regiment from San Diego sailing with the USS&#;Wasp
  8. ^ abLane (), p. 51
  9. ^Rottman (), p. 27
  10. ^Lane (), p. 57
  11. ^Lane (), p. 60
  12. ^Lane (), p. 63
  13. ^ abFrank (), p.
  14. ^Cronin (), p. 47
  15. ^Leckie Helmet for my Pillow, p.
  16. ^Roger Clarke. "Roger Clarke's Waltzing Matilda Home-Page". Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 11 December Retrieved 3 December
  17. ^Shaw, Henry I.; Kane, Douglas T. (). "History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II". Volume II: Isolation of Rabaul. Headquarters Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 8 August Retrieved 6 May
  18. ^Turner (), p.
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  • Chapin, John C. (). Fire Brigade: U.S. Marines in the Pusan Perimeter. Washington, D.C.: Marine Corps Historical Center.
  • Cronin, Francis D. (Capt) (). Under the Southern Cross: The Saga of the Americal Division. Washington, D.C.: Combat Forces Press.
  • Fehrenbach, T.R. (). This Kind of War. Dulles, Virginia: Brassey's Inc. ISBN&#;.
  • Frank, Richard (). Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle. New York: Random House. ISBN&#;.
  • Halberstam, David (). The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War. New York: Hyperion. ISBN&#;.
  • Hastings, Max (). Retribution: The Battle for Japan, –45. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN&#;.
  • Lane, Kerry (). Guadalcanal Marine. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN&#;.
  • Leckie, Robert (). Helmet for my Pillow. Simon & Schuster Inc. ISBN&#;.
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  • Simmons, Edwin H. (). The United States Marines: A History (Fourth&#;ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN&#;.
  • Sloan, Bill (). Brotherhood of Heroes: The Marines at Peleliu, The Bloodiest Battle of the Pacific War. Simon & Schuster. ISBN&#;.
  • Turner, David (). First Marine Division. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company. ISBN&#;.
  • Warren, James A. (). American Spartans: The U.S. Marines: A Combat History from Iwo Jima to Iraq. New York: Pocket Books.

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Marine_Division
Okinawa - 1st and 6th Marine Divisions


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