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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Happy 75th Birthday US Air Force

Sunday, September 18th, 2022

Institute of Military Technology Celebrates

Saturday, September 17th, 2022

The Institute of Military Technology Located in Titusville, Florida is holding a celebration of three significant events on 19 November, 2022.

They are:

100th birthday observation for Eugene Stoner

60th anniversary of the M-16

40th anniversary of Knights Armament Co

For more details as they become available visit facebook.com/events/s/eugene-stoners-100th-birthday.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Combined Operations Assault Pilotage Parties

Sunday, September 4th, 2022

As I am sure you can tell, I love history. I find it amazing that even today, you can read something about WW2 that you never knew about. There were so many specialty units that sometimes it was hard to say, “Oh, this group gets its roots from…” Combined Operations is one of those groups, and they had so many smaller Units / Parties (I think I might have liked being part of “Parties” more than a Team. So, it would be “I am a party guy” and not “I am a Team guy”) that we are just now finding out about that they might not have been the father of some groups today. Still, they might have been the mother or the ugly step-sister.

While serving in the Second World War, Nigel Clogstoun-Willmott established the Combined Operations Assault Pilotage Parties (COPP), which were responsible for covert beach reconnaissance. This proved to be critical in the success of the Allied seaborne invasion campaign. Amphibious force attacks on land and sea are among the most dangerous of all military operations. Apart from the fact that they necessitate the precise coordination of armed forces on the ground, air, and sea, they might also be subjected to various issues associated with landing on foreign enemy beaches.

Among these are tidal roughness, inadequate sand and shingle texture, steep beach gradients, and restricted beach exits, for example. Various enemy defenses, including mines, beach obstructions, pill boxes, and gun emplacements, can make natural disasters more dangerous and challenging to overcome. Nigel Clogstoun-Willmott, an accomplished navigator in the Royal Navy, was one of the few who truly understood the gravity of the risks involved. He recognized that amphibious troops must be carefully directed into coastal waters by men who had been deployed to the coast ahead of the fleet.

Furthermore, he recognized that the only way to resolve these issues truly was to conduct a thorough reconnaissance of the proposed beach landing sites, work that would require men skilled in navigation, hydrography (marine surveying), and engineering to land covertly on the beaches at night.

Of all special forces operations, beach reconnaissance was one of the most clandestine and risky. The men engaged were forced to conduct their operations right under the noses of the enemy, knowing that if they were arrested and interrogated, their intelligence might jeopardize the entire operation and their lives.

In 1910, Clogstoun-Willmott was born in the Indian city of Shimla. A senior engineer, his father worked on significant infrastructure projects throughout northern India, including the construction of roads and bridges.

He was transported to England for his education, attending Lambroke School and Marlborough College until he was eight. He joined the Royal Navy when he was 17 years old, specializing in navigation and quickly earning a reputation as a creative problem solver and unique thinker.

The fact that he was aware of the dangers of landing on enemy shores came to him early in life. Gallipoli was the first sizeable amphibious operation of modern times, and his uncle ‘Cloggy’ had been severely wounded during the battle in 1915.

As a Beach Master for the landings at Narvik in the far north of the country, Clogstoun-Willmott received first-hand knowledge of these perils during the unsuccessful Norwegian campaign of 1940.

He was charming, courteous, and good-natured, but he was also a military professional who took his duties seriously. He spent a long time reflecting on the lessons learned from this campaign and how amphibious operations should be conducted going forward. In 1941, Clogstoun-Willmott was stationed in the Mediterranean with ‘Layforce,’ a commando group that had been dispatched to the Middle East. With the challenge of attacking the Italian-controlled island of Rhodes, Layforce got his first chance to put his theories into action.

As a result of his collaboration with Captain Roger Courtney, a canoeist who had recently created the Special Boat Section, which was primarily intended for marine reconnaissance operations, he could complete this task. Courtney and Clogstoun-Willmott worked together to conduct the world’s first in-depth military beach reconnaissance mission.

A wide variety of equipment was available, from flimsy cold-water suits made of heavily greased long johns and jumpers to the newest infrared signaling technology and the humble chinagraph pencil for taking notes in dripping wet conditions.

The mission was a resounding triumph. Both soldiers were honored, with Clogstoun-Willmott getting the Distinguished Service Order and Clogstoun receiving the Distinguished Service Medal. However, the valuable information gathered as a result of this work was never put to good use.

As a result of the British being lured into a futile attempt to resist the German invasion of Greece, the mission was called off entirely. Clougstoun-Wilmott was again called upon to serve as a Beach Master, coordinating British forces’ evacuation. His narrow escape from capture came after he commandeered a Greek caique and sailed it to Egypt, where he was one of the last to leave. Not until August 1942, following the failure of a massive raid on the French port of Dieppe, was it realized how essential Clogstoun-theories like Willmott’s were.

Admiral Louis Mountbatten, Director of Combined Operations, approached him and requested him to assemble a team – dubbed ‘Party Inhuman’ – to assist with Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa. He agreed and formed the team. When this endeavor proved successful, it resulted in the formation of the COPP in early 1943. The first order of business for the COPP was to conduct reconnaissance in preparation for the upcoming invasion of Sicily. However, due to insufficient training and equipment, achievement came at a high price this time. Only four of the sixteen guys who were assigned to the mission returned.

Later, Clougtoun-Wilmot, who is by nature a martinet and a training fanatic, collaborated with Mountbatten to guarantee that the COPP had access to the resources it needed to prepare for the invasion. The COPP teams were re-energized and contributed significantly to the Allied landings in Italy after re-energizing. During the D-Day landings, the COPP faced its most difficult challenge. COPP troops were now armed with tiny submarines known as X-craft, as well as specialty landing boats and diving gear, in preparation for the invasion of France.

They carried out a thorough study of the potential beaches and returned samples for analysis to establish that big trucks would be able to pass through them without being damaged. On D-Day itself, COPP personnel were dispatched ahead of the massive invasion fleet to ensure that it arrived safely. This scientific approach to warfare played an essential role in preparing for what was considered the most complex military operation in history.

While D-Day was the apex of the COPP’s operations, the unit also saw significant action in the Far East and the Mediterranean during its tenure. In 1945, it made it easier for people to cross the Rhine into the heart of Germany. Following World War II, the mission of the COPP was absorbed into what is now known as the contemporary Special Boat Service (SBS). They were beneficial during the amphibious operations during the Falklands War in 1982 due to their knowledge and expertise.

Later in life, Clogstoun-Willmott worked for the Navy in several positions and the intelligence agency MI5. At age 81, he passed away in Cyprus in 1992, after continuing to live an active life as a sailor until a few years before his death.

The COPP’s work was so closely guarded that it was not made public until after the Second World War had concluded. In the eyes of the public, Clogstoun-Willmott and his troops of the COPP continue to be unsung heroes of the Special Forces.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – First Submarine Commando Raid

Sunday, August 14th, 2022

On August 17, the USS Nautilus and USS Argonaut were off the coast of Makin Atoll in the pacific. They were carrying 221 Marine Raiders. The Raider’s objectives were to destroy the Japanese garrison and installations, take prisons so they could be interrogated, and finally, the Gilbert Islands must be reconnoitered. It was also meant to divert Japanese attention and reinforcements from the Allied amphibious invasions on Guadalcanal and Tulagi.

Even with two 100-meter super-subs, A and B Company could only fit 221 men, so they left without a platoon from each. Maj. James Roosevelt, the president’s 35-year-old son, was one of Carlson’s targets. After serving as FDR’s political consultant and covert diplomat, the young Roosevelt joined the Marines. As a Raider enthusiast, he convinced his father to let him join.

Raiders were stuffed inside vacant torpedo tubes during travel. Submarine ventilation techniques couldn’t prevent thin air and high temperatures. The boats would surface for ten minutes twice a day to let the Raiders exercise and breathe fresh air before ducking back into the Pacific to avoid air assault.

The two submarines surfaced outside Makin’s coral reef at midnight on August 16–17 to find turbulent conditions. The first two LCRL rubber boats sank in the surf. The remaining launches’ uninsulated 6-horsepower engines were flooded with seawater and failed to ignite. Carlson felt his two-pronged approach would be too difficult to accomplish in the inclement weather and ordered A and B company to land together. In the chaos, the boat carrying Lt. Oscar Peatross and 11 Raiders missed the orders and headed west.

Carlson’s Raiders landed about 5 AM after battling the waves for an hour, with some troops scattered but undetected. Carlson’s invention was to divide his squad into three fireteams, each with one rifleman with a semi-automatic M1 Garand for distance shooting, another with a Thompson submachinegun for close-range firepower, and a Browning Automatic Rifle gunner to give covering fire. Heavy armaments included.30 caliber light machine guns and.55 caliber Boys anti-tank rifles were requisitioned from the Canadian Army by Carlson.

On landing, a Raider unintentionally fired his BAR, ruining any chance for surprise. The garrison’s commander, Chief Petty Officer Kyuzaburou Kanemitsu, had been alert days earlier. His men deployed by bike and truck to fight the American invaders. Misadventures continued when the Raiders kidnapped a Japanese soldier but shot him when he escaped.

Carlson met Makin locals who spoke pidgin English. They were pleased to help the Americans and said 160 to 300 Japanese were on the island, and they were ready. The Raiders maintained their march until 6 AM when Lt. Le Francois’ scouts sighted Japanese forces dismounting from vehicles.

Le Francois ambushed his platoon in a breadfruit grove on high ground. Sgt. Clyde Thomason adjusted the men’s positions as Japanese skirmishers neared. When the Japanese got close, the marines opened fire, killing the closest attackers and exploding the truck’s engine with an anti-tank rifle.

The Japanese answer was fatal. Four Type 92 Lewis machine guns raked Raider positions, killing Sgt. Thomason and injuring Le Francois. Posthumously, Thomason became the first enlisted Marine to win the Medal of Honor. Camouflaged shooters killed Lt. Jerry Holtom and four radio operators among palm palms.

Carlson quickly added the 2nd Platoon, which lost nine men in 15 minutes, and B Company. Raider machine gunner Cpl. Leon Chapman fired 400 rounds into a Japanese machine gun nest at 200 meters. After inspecting the silenced weapon, Chapman “nearly threw up” when he discovered he had slain a dozen Japanese who had sacrificed themselves to man it.

Twelve of Peatross’ forces landed at the second landing zone and proceeded uncontested into the barracks and the defender’s command position. An isolated squad shot six astonished Japanese before being held down by an LMG crew. Pvt. Vernon Castle was struck multiple times as he advanced, but he threw a grenade and killed three before dying.

After that, Peatross’ marines fired a car speeding towards the command post, blew up a radio and a truck full of ammo, and retreated to the Nautilus, losing two more troops. In the chaos, they killed Kanimetsu, who destroyed confidential documents and conveyed the message, “We are dying defending the island.”

The Nautilus began bombarding Japanese positions with two dozen shells when Carlson learned from natives that hostile ships were in the lagoon. Unwilling to risk a shore battery’s fire, the Nautilus arced 65 6-inch shells into the lagoon. By luck, indirect fire sank two ships, igniting a transport and a patrol boat and mistaking a hostile plane for a bird, the submarine dove, ending naval gunfire support. The Japanese assaulted the Raiders, attempting to swarm them failed, and the assailants were all killed at close range. Undeterred, the bugle played again, and the Japanese launched a second suicide strike, wiping out Kanimetsu’s marine platoon. A few dozen survivors continued to shoot intermittently. Fearing more reinforcements, Carlson chose not to strike the Japanese position. At 1:30, air support arrived. Twelve Mitsubishi F1M floatplanes bombed and strafed the island for an hour, driving the Raiders fleeing but not inflicting any fatalities. Then an F1M and a Kawanishi flying boat landed in the lagoon. The Raiders fired machine guns and anti-tank rifles at the aircraft, setting it on fire. The seaplane with scores of men managed to land. The intensity of incoming fire must have given the pilot second thoughts as he taxied on the water and took off again before landing.

The colonel decided to withdraw to submarines at 7 PM as planned. When they returned to the ocean, his troops discovered their boats’ motors had stopped working, and the waves and weather made it difficult to paddle back to the submarines. Exhausted Raiders dropped their ineffective launch motors and spent five hours trying to force through severe waves, losing most of their weapons and supplies. Eleven of 18 boats reached the American subs. By nightfall, Carlson, Roosevelt, and 70 injured Raiders remained on Butaritari. Individual boats continued to battle the waves the following day, including one with Roosevelt onboard. A five-person crew led by Sergeant Allard volunteered to row back to the atoll with a rope the Raiders could use to board the submarine. A squadron of Japanese jets bombed the Nautilus halfway through its launch. The subs crash-dove, and the jets strafed the rescue squad, killing them. After reassessing the situation, Carlson opted to finish the mission on Makin. The Raiders scavenged Japanese weapons to replace those washed away and sabotaged a derelict seaplane facility while avoiding air assaults. They burned much of the facility and 1,000 aviation fuel drums. Carlson decided his forces had a greater chance of reaching the submarines from the lagoon because it had no shore armament.

He encouraged the Nautilus’s captain to enter the lagoon using a semaphore lamp and a dinner chat they had earlier. The Raiders paddled on a raft of three launches, two working outboard engines, and local canoes as outriggers. The Indians gave them a canoe and buried their dead in exchange for USMC combat knives. The new boat reached the submarines, and the Raiders set sail for home. Among the 17 wounded soldiers, four surgeries were performed on the submarine’s mess table. The injured soldiers all survived.

On August 27, Carlson’s Raiders returned to Pearl Harbor to a hero’s welcome. They reported 18 dead and 12 MIAs and killed 160 enemies. According to Japanese records, 46 base personnel and an undisclosed number on Japanese boats and planes died.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Operation Magic

Sunday, August 7th, 2022

If you follow history, there is a lot said about how different battles were, this group took this hill, or this guy did this. But a lot needs to be said about what goes on behind the scenes. While the United States Army Signals Intelligence Section (SIS) and the Navy Communication Special Unit worked in tandem to monitor, intercept, decode, and translate Japanese messages during World War II, Operation Magic was the cryptonym used to refer to the United States’ efforts to break Japanese military and diplomatic codes. The Office of Strategic Services received the intelligence information acquired from the transmissions and forwarded it to military headquarters (OSS). It is widely acknowledged that the capacity to interpret and understand Japanese communications was a crucial component of the Allied triumph in the Pacific.

Early in 1939, the United States began its efforts to decipher Japanese diplomatic and military communications, even before the outbreak of World War II in Europe. In 1923, a United States Navy intelligence officer got a contraband copy of the Japanese Imperial Navy Secret Operating Code from World War I. Afterward, after all of the additive code keys had been discovered, the codebook was photographed and sent to the Research Desk, arranged in red folders by the cryptologists. The simple additive code was given the name “Red” in honor of the directories in which it was initially kept.

In 1930, the Japanese updated the Red code with Blue, a more sophisticated code for high-level communications. However, because the new code was too similar to its predecessor, cryptologists in the United States could fully decrypt the new code in less than two years after its introduction. At the onset of World War II, the Japanese were still using both Red and Blue color codes for various communications purposes. Listening stations were set up all across the Pacific by the United States military intelligence to monitor ship-to-ship, command-to-fleet, and land-based communications between ships.

The Japanese acquired encryption and security assistance from Nazi Germany after World War II erupted across Europe. Since 1935, the Germans have known that U.S. intelligence is monitoring and decoding Japanese communications, but they have not instantly informed the Japanese of this fact. Later, Germany delivered a modified version of its iconic Enigma encryption machine to Japan to assist the country in securing its communications. As a result of this, American intelligence was unable to understand Japanese intercepts. The tedious job of United States cryptologists was restarted.

Cryptanalysts in the United States gave the new code the moniker Purple. Purple, used to decrypt numerous variants of the original Enigma code, was the most severe obstacle to American and British intelligence throughout World War II.

After receiving information from Polish and Swedish cryptologists, the British military intelligence cryptanalysis unit at Bletchley Park became the first in the world to decrypt the German Enigma code in 1942. They then created advanced decoding bombes and the world’s first programmable computer to aid in the deciphering of the complex Enigma cipher. By 1943, British intelligence could use information obtained through translated Enigma intercepts received in near real-time.

For years, cryptologists in the United States sought to break the Purple code by hand. However, the format of Japanese signals, always opening with the exact introductory phrase, enabled code breakers to establish the sequencing of the multi-rotor Japanese cipher machine. By 1941, code breakers in the United States had made significant headway in cracking the Purple code, and they had gained the capacity to decipher multiple lines of intercepted messages. The procedure remained sluggish, and the information obtained from Purple was frequently outdated when translated into another language.

United States military intelligence became aware of British victories against Germany’s Enigma machine and requested that their allies share code-breaking information. Top Bletchley Park cryptographers and engineers were dispatched to the United States to assist in training code breakers and constructing decoding bombes. But they were highly protective of and didn’t want anyone to know about their Enigma code-breaking activities (codenamed Operation Ultra), which involved Colossus, the Bletchley Park decoding computer, and which they were involved.

United States intelligence made significant headway against Purple in a short period, thanks to the assistance of the British. A copy of the Japanese Purple machine, created in 1939 by American cryptologist William Friedman, was used to adapt a German Enigma bombe to decode Japanese Purple, which was then used to decode the Japanese Purple machine. Even though each message’s settings had to be determined by hand, United States intelligence improved its ability to read Japanese code with greater ease and timelier by 1942, six months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entry into World War II.

With the help of their vast network of listening stations in the Pacific, the United States intelligence services could intercept and decode various other sorts of communications. In conjunction with JN-25 intercepts, the Diplomatic Purple transmissions, another broken Japanese Navy code, provided critical information to the United States military command about Japanese fortifications at Midway. The intercepts from Operation Magic provided valuable input during the ensuing Battle of Midway, which helped to turn the tide of the Pacific War in the allied forces’ favor and ultimately win the war. Approximately a year later, Purple intercepts provided the United States with intelligence about a diplomatic aircraft on which Japanese General Yamamoto, the mastermind behind the Pearl Harbor assault, was scheduled to travel. The Japanese aircraft were shot down by American planes.

Operation Magic was a vital source of intelligence information in both the Pacific and European theaters of conflict during World War II. Diplomatic messages between Berlin and Tokyo, encrypted with the Enigma and Purple codes, provided British and United States intelligence with information about German defenses in France during the Second World War. This information aided leaders in their preparations for the D-Day invasion of Normandy in June 1944.

The Japanese government remained uninformed despite the fact that the United States had broken the Purple code. According to the United States government, Japanese Imperial forces continued to employ the principles decrypted by Operation Magic throughout the war and in the weeks following the Japanese surrender in 1945.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Happy Birthday U.S. Coast Guard

Sunday, July 31st, 2022

The formal history of the Coast Guard dates to August 4, 1790, when the first Congress ordered the building of 10 vessels to enforce federal tariff and trade regulations and combat smuggling. The Coast Guard, also known as the Revenue Marine and the Revenue Cutter Service in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, rose in number and responsibility as the country grew. The Coast Guard is one of the federal government’s oldest agencies, and until Congress founded the Navy Department in 1798, it was the country’s only afloat armed force. Throughout their lengthy history, the Coast Guard has defended the country and has proudly served in all of the country’s battles. Even now, our national defense responsibilities are one of our most critical functions.

The service was given its current name in 1915 when Congress combined the Revenue Cutter Service and the Life-Saving Service to create a unified maritime service focused on saving lives at sea and enforcing the nation’s maritime laws. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the transfer of the Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard in 1939, the Coast Guard began to maintain the country’s aids to marine navigation, including running the nation’s lighthouses.

During World War II, the Coast Guard’s participation in amphibious operations was possibly the most critical war-related task the organization undertook. Surprisingly, the Coast Guard operated about 350 naval ships, including 76 LSTs, 21 cargo and attack-freight ships, 75 frigates, and 31 types of transport. In addition, the Coast Guard had almost 800 cutters, nearly 300 Army ships, and thousands of amphibious assault vessels on standby.

A group of small landing craft sped toward the beaches of Guadalcanal on September 27, 1942. About 500 troops from Col Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller’s 1st Battalion, 7th Marines were huddled on the beach, fighting for their life.

The Marines had landed on the beach earlier that day by the same group of landing craft, and now they were being retrieved. Coast Guard Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro guided his LCVP between the departing Marines and the Japanese as the LCVPs (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) and LCMs (Landing Craft, Mechanized) approached the shore. Munro permitted the landing craft to safely evacuate all the Marines, including the injured, by placing his craft between the men on the beach and the enemy.

Munro guided his vessel away from the beach as the last men boarded. When the skies were nearly clear, Japanese gunfire struck Munro, killing him instantly. Munro received the Medal of Honor after his death. Given the Coast Guard’s rescuing legacy and the pivotal role the service played during WWII, it’s fitting that the service’s lone Medal of Honor recipient was involved in not only a rescue but also an amphibious operation.

The Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation of the Commerce Department was permanently transferred to the Coast Guard in 1946, bringing merchant marine licensing and merchant vessel safety under their jurisdiction.

The Coast Guard also played a significant role in Vietnam, doing everything from installing aids to navigation to supporting the war on the rivers and in the sky. The installed and manned Long-Range Aids to Navigation (LORAN) stations, allowing mariners and aviators to fix their positions correctly. The initial goal of the LORAN system was to offer electronic aids to mariners and aviators in places where there were no surface aids, relatively unexplored waters, or skies that were regularly clouded.

The Navy’s campaign to minimize coastal infiltration was aided by Coast Guard cutters, forcing communists to rely on the Ho Chi Minh Trail to maintain their insurgency in the south. According to wartime records, Coast Guard cutters boarded a quarter-million junks and sampans and took part in 6,000 naval firing exercises.  The LORAN station in Tan My, Vietnam (U.S. Coast Guard) port missions caused significant damage to the enemy.

The Coast Guard-Air Force Aviator Exchange Program brought together Coast Guard and Air Force pilots. The program included two Coast Guard C-130 pilots, while the rest of the aviators were HH-3 helicopter pilots. The first of several Coast Guard helicopter pilots were posted to the Air Force’s 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron at Da Nang in the spring of 1968. Four Silver Star Medals, 15 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and 86 Air Medals were among the medals and awards given to Coast Guard aviators as a result.

The Coast Guard has been part of the Department of Homeland Security since 2003, serving as the nation’s front-line agency for enforcing maritime laws, preserving the marine environment and the country’s enormous coastline and ports, and saving lives. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Coast Guard underwent significant modifications as part of the War on Terror. Before the 9/11 attacks, the Coast Guard used boat stations and cutters to safeguard U.S. ports, waterways, and coastlines. After the attacks, the Coast Guard shifted resources to serve additional maritime security functions required in the post-9/11 environment.

President George W. Bush signed the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) in 2002 to secure the nation’s ports and waterways from terrorist threats. The MTSA established a Coast Guard maritime security unit as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s layered approach to protecting seaports and waterways. The Coast Guard formed Maritime Safety and Security Teams (MSSTs) in the same year to assist the Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security missions and provide non-compliant vessel boarding capabilities for service missions. Waterside security, marine law enforcement, and K-9 explosives detection units are among the 11 MSST teams that exist today.

Military force protection, U.N. General Assemblies, national political conventions, international economic summits, disaster relief efforts, and major sporting events such as the Super Bowl have been MSST duties. They play a significant role in the war on drugs and keeping our streets safe. In F.Y. 2019, the Coast Guard removed 207.9 metric tons of cocaine and more than 63,000 pounds of marijuana from getting into the U.S. and Canada.

Lastly and possibly most importantly, they responded to 19,790 Search and Rescue cases, saved 3,560 lives, and more than $77 million in property. Some of the 3,560 are fishermen in Alaska, and the Coastie’s put their lives on the line every day to keep them safe.

Happy Birthday Coast Guard

SCUBAPRO SUNDAY – The Real USMC Birthday

Sunday, July 10th, 2022

It’s a fact that most Marines are probably unaware of but a fact nonetheless, according to the Marine Corps History Division, which records the service’s official institutional and operational history.

The Second Continental Congress passed a resolution establishing two Continental Marines battalions on November 10, 1775, which the Corps now celebrates as its official birthday, marking 247 years of existence.

But as the History Division notes in its Brief History of the United States Marine Corps, the Continental Marine Corps was disbanded after the Revolutionary War “for reasons of the economy” in 1783 and ceased to exist for the next 15 years.

“The government auctioned off warships, and the Continental Marines ceased to exist,” military historian Chester Hearn told The Camp Pendleton Patch. “Major Samuel Nicholas, the first Marine officer, returned to his former occupation as owner of Tun Tavern in Philadelphia.”

It wasn’t until July 11, 1798, that Congress established a service known as the United States Marine Corps under the command of the Navy. The act passed by the 5th Congress and signed into law by President John Adams created the nearly 900-man strong Marine Corps, which consisted of one major, four captains, 28 lieutenants, about 100 sergeants, and corporals, and more than 700 privates.

And for the next 123 years, the Marine Corps recognized its birthday as July 11. As the History Division notes, “an unidentified newspaper clipping from 1918 refers to the celebration of the 120th birthday of the Marine Corps on July 11 ‘as usual with no fuss.'”

Then, in 1921, the good idea fairy caught the attention of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. John A. Lejeune, and suggested the service celebrate its earlier birthdate despite that 15-year gap. From the History Division:On October 21, 1921, Maj Edwin McClellan, Officer-in-Charge, Historical Section, Headquarters Marine Corps, sent a memorandum to Major General Commandant John A. Lejeune, suggesting the actual birthday on November 10, 1775, be declared a Marine Corps holiday to be celebrated throughout the Corps. Maj McClellan further suggested that a dinner be held in Washington D.C. to commemorate the event. Guests would include prominent men from the Marine Corps, Army, and Navy, and descendants of the Revolution.

Accordingly, on November 1, 1921, Maj Gen Lejeune issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921. The order summarized the history, mission, and tradition of the Corps and directed that it be read to every command on November 10 each subsequent year in honor of the birthday of the Marine Corps. This order has been duly carried out.

Hey, look on the bright side: now you can get drunk and celebrate the birth of the Marine Corps twice a year. So, Semper Fidelis and Happy Early birthday!

Last WWII Medal of Honor Recipient To Lie In Honor At Capital Rotunda

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

According a joint announcement from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority LeadeR Chuck Schumer, World War Two Veteran and retired Marine CW4 Woodrow “Woody” Williams will lie in honor in the United States Capitol Rotunda.


Photo from National WWII Museum.

Woody Williams, the last surviving World War II Medal of Honor recipient, was a hero of World War II, serving in the United States Marine Corps and fighting in the Pacific Theater.  Best known for his valiant service at the Battle of Iwo Jima, Woody was awarded the military’s highest decoration for combat service, the Medal of Honor.  After the war, he devoted his life to caring for veterans and their families, working to bring Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments to more than a hundred communities across the country.

“Woody Williams embodied the best of America: living a life of duty, honor and courage,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.  “His fearless valor at Iwo Jima and throughout the Pacific Theater helped power an American victory over fascism in the Second World War and earned him a deeply deserved Medal of Honor.  When Woody lies in honor under the Capitol Dome, it will be with immense gratitude for his service that the Congress will pay tribute to this legendary hero — and all of the patriots who fought for our nation in World War II.”

“Woody Williams was an American hero who embodied the best of our country and the greatest generation,” said Majority Leader Schumer. “This is only a small tribute to someone who has made as impactful contributions to America as Woody and all our brave soldiers who fought against tyranny and defended our country in World War II. Whether it was for his acts of bravery in combat or his tireless advocacy for all veterans and their families, Woody made our entire country, especially his fellow West Virginians, proud.”

Currently, the casket of the West Virginia native is in the State Capitol in Charleston. CW4 Williams will take his place of honor in the nation’s Capitol after Congress returns from their summer recess.

H/T to W McN