Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Marine Corps Birthday, 2015

Today marks the 240th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. I am one who proudly served.

During almost all of my 6 years in the US Marine Corps, I was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (commonly abbreviated as 2/5) as an 0351 (Antitank Assaultman). I served as a rifleman in an infantry company, and later as a platoon sergeant in Weapons Platoon. Although it pains Officer Cynical to admit it, all the weapons my Weapons Platoon specialized in are now museum pieces:

106-mm Recoilless Rifle


3.5-inch Rocket Launcher

2/5 was was initially formed in 1914 to suppress political turmoil in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

During WWI, 2/5 participated in the Battle of Belleau Wood, Soisson, and the Meuse-Argonne Campaign. It was at Belleau Wood that German forces nicknamed the Marines "Teufelhunde" (Devil Dogs) for their ferocity in battle. Belleau Wood is also where 2/5 gained it's motto "Retreat Hell". After repeatedly being urged to retreat by supporting French forces, 2/5 Captain Lloyd Williams responded, "Retreat? Hell, we just got here!"  For their actions, 2/5 was awarded the French Croix de Guerre. This braided decoration is still worn today by 5th Marine Regiment. You can see it on the left shoulders of the Marines in this photo:

In 1941, 2/5 joined the newly formed 1st Marine Division. During WWII, the battalion fought at Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, and Okinawa, some of the most savage campaigns of the Pacific Theater.

In 1950, 2/5 sailed to Korea. They fought at the Pusan Perimeter, the landing at Inchon, the liberation of Seoul, the Chosin Reservoir Campaign, and the defense of the East Central and Western Fronts.

In 1966, the battalion deployed to the Republic of Vietnam. During the next five years the battalion participated in combat operations in Hue city, Que Son, Phu Bai, Dong Ha and Phu Loc.

In 1990, 2/5 sailed for the Persian Gulf. They participated in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and the liberation of Kuwait. In 2003, the battalion deployed to Kuwait, attacked into Iraq, and conducted peacekeeping operations. In 2004, the battalion once again deployed to Iraq to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom II.

2nd Battalion, 5th Marines is the most highly decorated battalion in the history of the United States Marine Corps.

The Battalion coat-of-arms is a shield, point down, with scrolls above and below. The shield is divided diagonally into four wedges. Designed during the Vietnam War, the Battalion coat-of-arms reflects traditional heraldry, composed of references to past deeds and unit associations.

The uppermost wedge contains the emblem of the 1st Marine Division. The 5th Marines were incorporated into the Division in 1941, when the division was founded. The 1st Marine Division assaulted Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942 in the first U.S. ground offensive in World War II. From this battle came the division emblem, a large red “1” inscribed with “GUADALCANAL” and the five stars of the Southern Cross on a field of blue. Though the Division emblem holds the senior position on the coat-of-arms, the Battalion and the Regiment both pre-date the Division by over twenty-five years.

The lower wedge contains the emblem of the 5th Marine Regiment, founded in 1914. The Regimental emblem consists of five seahorses, representing sea-going service, on a Scot’s cross. The colors are scarlet and gold, the traditional dress and display colors of the Marine Corps. The cross itself is hunter green, the color of the infantry and the color of the service uniform.

The left and right wedges contain scrolls inscribed with the major combat actions of the Battalion. “MEUSE-ARGONNE” and “MARNE” from World War I, “NICARAGUA” from 1927, “GUADALCANAL,” “PELELIU,” “NEW GUINEA” and “OKINAWA” from World War II, “INCHON,” “SEOUL,” “PUSAN” and “CHOSIN” from Korea, and “HUE,” “PHU-BAI,” ‘AN- HOA” and “QUE-SON” from Vietnam. Battalion combat actions since Vietnam have yet to be added to the Battalion Coat-of-Arms.


John said...

My wife and I were out shopping last weekend. (sometimes this means she is shopping while I am pushing the cart while having an annoyed expression on my face, but that depends on the store)

I saw that an older gent just behind us in checkout was wearing a Marine Corps cap.

I asked him when he was in and he said 42-45. He glanced up at my Forrestal cap and said that one on the carriers near Okinawa burned badly when he was on the island.

When he said 42-45 my wife and I both dropped out jaws mentally, we took him for someone at most in their early seventies. I hope I am doing half as well when I am his age.

It was great to talk with him even for a few seconds.

Ms. Donna said...

As the sister of a Marine who served in both Gulf wars, thank you.

Anonymous said...

If you get the chance, visit the WWII Museum in New Orleans. They have some great artifacts and displays of the Marines who fought some of those epic battles you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

I KNEW there was some reason I liked you! :) Thank you for your service.

Rita said...

My grandson is graduating MCT today, then walking across the base to MART (for those who are not learning military speak, that is Marines Awaiting Recon Training--mostly fitness work while they fill a Recon class of 75 men) In the past few months my eyes and ears have re-tuned themselves for any mention of Marines in action, casualties, training accidents, etc. on the news or internet. My daughter and I have also decided that the translation of "We're so proud of you" is "You volunteered for _what_?"

Sharon GARDNER said...

I was a corpsman in the navy for 8 years. Marines deserve a lot of appreciation from everyone in our country.

jen said...

Thank you for your service.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Liz Harris said...

Thank you for your service. Semper Fi!