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To All Personnel,


We recently added the Wake Island map to our list of maps.  One night a while back I heard several of you talking about Wake.  Few today know the historical significance of "Wake Island".  For that reason, I'm posting this movie trailer for the 1942 movie; "Wake Island".  This was the first movie made about the military in World War II.  In fact, the movie was actually started while the battle was still in progress.  When they made the movie, the producers and writers didn't know what happened at the end, so they had to make up the end of the battle.  What they did know came from a US Marine officer who was ordered off the island shortly before the Japanese captured it, and from communication with the island (Morse Code), which stopped during the morning of the final Japanese assault.


The island was under the command of a US Navy Commander.  Major Devereau, USMC, was the commanding officer of the US Marine 1st Defense Battalion detachment at Wake.  The Marines wanted to fight to the death as was their inclination.  Due to the heavy bombardment of the island, many of the defensive sectors and posts were out of communication with the command post on the last day of the battle.  (Their comms back then were receivers connected by landlines they laid in the sand between the different positions).  The Japanese landed in several different areas in large numbers.  Unknown to the Navy Commander, although the US Marines were taking heavy casualties, they were actually decimating the Japanese.  Outnumbered and outgunned, they were winning the battle!  The island commander didn't know this and thought most of the Marines were dead, and to preserve the life of the few survivors, he ordered a surrender.


There was no way to contact all the Marines fighting around the island in small groups to order them to surrender.  When Marines were told they had been ordered to surrender, many of the Marines simply couldn't believe it.  They knew they were winning.  Some didn't surrender.  It was a crazy battle.


In America, the blow of the attack on Pearl Harbor was demoralizing.  News from around the world was terrible for the US and our allies.  And yet, there was this one small outpost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where the Japanese had been stopped for over two weeks by a small band of US Marines.  Every day Americans rushed to read the newspapers and listen to radio broadcasts to hear about their Marines.  For two weeks, American's heard the reports about the bombings, raids, and naval shelling of Wake by superior Japanese forces, and yet the Marines held.  It was a huge morale boost when it was needed most.  Here was the example of the American fighting men who American's loved so much, the US Marines; alone and defying the might of the Japanese empire.  And that is why Wake Island was so important to American's early in WWII.  Wake is largely forgotten now, overshadowed by the many larger and more significant battles that followed in WWII.


This old black and white movie trailer (which I own) is for those of you who are interested in American history and the history of the US Marines.



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I came here for more amazing videos of operations and all I got was super excited only to find that dang Wake Island post. 


;)  I kid, man this is a great video. It is always nice to relate the historical backgrounds to our current things (even if it only in a game). Always good to know how we got to where we are. Thank you for finding and sharing!

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To All Personnel,


The following is from an article written by a biased author; a US Marine.  We Marines don't apologize for being biased either!  While not about a specific historical event, it does contain some information about the history of the US Marines.  If you have a few minutes, you might enjoy reading this.




"*@#damn Marines"

Reported Source: Written by Lt. Col. David W. Szelowski USMCR (ret.) –

Wednesday August 17, 2005


"I wonder how many times during Operation Iraqi Freedom the phrase "*@#damn Marines" was uttered?  Even in the best of times, Army and Air Force officers have been heard muttering some epithet about Marines, invoking either heaven or hell. Interestingly enough, we Marines find it all rather reassuring and, at times, amusing.


Most of the time, Marines do not go out of our way to be obnoxious; we are just doing what Marines have done for over 200 years.  A good example is the fact that Marines always raise the American flag over mountains or cities they have conquered.  From Mt. Suribachi to the City of Hue, to Kuwait City to Baghdad, U.S. Marines have raised the Stars and Stripes-in the latter examples, much to the chagrin of higher headquarters.  You don't get these kinds of problems with the Army.  So what is it about the U.S. Marines that they stick U.S. flags on everything and do more with less, a less that is either old or an army hand-me-down?  We call it Esprit de Corps, but it goes deeper than that.


We learn and maintain myths of the past, which also means living up to those historical examples.  Marine Corps boot camp is the longest of the services; it is where we mold young men and women into the mythical image called a Marine.  You can be in the Army, you can join the Air Force, but you become a Marine.  All of the other uniformed services have songs; the U.S. Marines have a hymn.


The basic pattern of Marine Corps uniforms comes from the late nineteenth century; our emblem "the Eagle, Globe and Anchor" has remained largely unchanged since 1868.  The buttons on our dress blues, whites and greens date back to the founding of our Corps.  The Marine Corps is the only service that requires its officers to carry a sword, whose pattern dates back to 1805.


I think that the path of being a Marine was established long ago.  On the 10th of November 1775, the Marine Corps was first established...in a tavern.  To this day, no matter where in the world, Marines celebrate the founding of our beloved Corps, much to the confusion of the other services.


A few years ago, a congresswoman from Colorado felt that the Marine Corps was radical and extreme.  She contended that the Marine Corps was not politically correct, nor did we seem to be part of the Department of Defense's transition to a "kinder and gentler" military.  She was correct, and the Marine Corps took it as a compliment.


But the proof is in the doing, and during Iraqi Freedom the Marines demonstrated what Marines can do.  I watched with some amusement as a reporter asked a young lance corporal about being in Iraq and under rifle fire. "Love it, sir!" was his response.  The reporter was taken aback and asked, "No, really?"  The Marine then tried to explain that this is what he was trained to do; he looked forward to doing it and was now happy to be doing it.  No doubt in boot camp he was told that he was "a minister of death praying for war."


Contrast that with the poor U.S. Army Apache pilots who said that if they had to take life, they would do so reluctantly.  You are either a warrior or you are not.


Marines are mission oriented.  Live or die, the most important thing to a Marine is accomplishing the mission.  Whether taking the bridge, river or town, accomplishing the mission is the Holy Grail of being a Marine.  How the mission is accomplished is not so important, as it is expected of all Marines to accomplish the mission with the tools available.  This is probably why we heard that Marines in one engagement were fighting with knives and bayonets.


This was hardly high tech, but it was effective.  These Marines now have bragging rights, for they have proven that they talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk.  I doubt there is a single Marine who is not envious.


Marines are practical, as well.  I enjoyed hearing two reporters interviewing each other, one embedded with the Army, the other with the Marines.  The reporter with the Army noted that the sandstorm had blown down many of the soldiers' cots.  The other reporter countered that the Marines did not have this problem because they slept on the ground.  The Marine learns to live with what he can carry on his back.  He expects to be moved around on the battlefield via his two black Cadillac’s (boots).  If he is lucky and gets a ride on an amtrack, so much the better-but it is not expected.  At the end of a mission, the priority for cleaning is weapon, then equipment, and finally, body.  When the other services talk about "quality of life," they are referring to housing, clubs and food.  Marines are talking about better weapons, equipment and training, winning the battle and coming home alive is considered "quality of life."


All of this translates into combat power.  In comparison to the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division, the Marines of I Marine Expeditionary Force were lightly equipped.  Yet, they battled through the heart of Iraq, fought to the center of Baghdad and then moved off to Tikrit, taking that city as well.  The press was so enamored with the Marines that in the final days of the war they even credited the Marines with deeds actually accomplished by the Army.  Little wonder we heard "*@#damn Marines!" so often.  So we need to give the Marines some slack when they do something politically incorrect, such as raising the flag or appearing insensitive when killing the enemy.  In the field, they look sloppy compared to the Army, but are aggressive in the attack and generally unhappy in the defense.  Marines take pride in their work, even if that work is war.  We are just Marines and that is what we do.

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All Personnel,


This video is not historical, but I thought you might find it interesting.


It is a short video showing a little about how the US Marine Body Bearers perform.


It was amazing to me how young men, 18, 19, 20 years old, could in such a short time become so focused and disciplined, and filled with pride once they

became a Marine. This video is a good example of what I am talking about.


This video is less than 7 min long.



Personally, my last six months in the Corps, I was assigned to a Blues Detail unit. As a secondary assignment, we were assigned to represent the Corps at

memorials, funerals, weddings, and we escorted the body of Marines who died overseas home. The body of every Marine who died overseas, was escorted to their home (usually the funeral home choice of the family).

I was issued my set of dress blues for this assignment.


When performing a body escort, the escort stayed for the funeral and typically returned home after the burial. If the Marines family asked, the Marine Escort would stay with the family longer.

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In 1900, after two years of discontent on the part of a growing and radical group of Chinese, known as “The Boxers” or Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists, took action and openly attacked the foreign legations in Peking.
The Empress dowager of the Manchu Dynasty was publicly “anti-Boxer” but did nothing to protect the foreigners, including Americans and British. Foreigners and missionaries were attacked and killed. Foreign missionaries and Chinese
Christians started flooding into the city of Peking for protection.

Leading up to the open rebellion, and fearing they were being isolated, the diplomats began telegraphing calls for help. The immediate American response was to send US Marines to provide security at the legation. Other countries tried to send
troops as well. Surrounded and heavily outnumbered, the diplomatic stations appeared to be headed for a massacre.

To make a long story short, for fifty five days, the legation, was isolated. American Marines and troops from England, and several other countries, fought off almost daily attacks. A small number of US Marines attempted to fight
cross country to get to the legation, but were resisted by large numbers of Chinese. Troops from the other countries involved started to arrive, including additional US Marines, US Army, and British Army troops.
The US Marines, although fewer in number than the other military branches were the spearhead of a second larger attack, or "Relief Column" under the command of Vice Admiral Edward Seymour of the British Royal Navy.

It is interesting to note few historical records provide the full story of what happened on the second relief expedition to Peking. Numerous skirmishes and three heavy battles occurred on the route to Peking. In each case,
US Marines were the main attacking force and led the expedition nearly the entire way. After a hard fought, three day battle at Tientsin, the Allied commanders wanted to stop and rest up before pushing on. Instead of me telling
you what happened, here is a direct quote from the "Indianapolis Sun" newspaper:

“It was in the campaign of the allies against the boxers in 1900. They had captured Tientsin by a hard three day battle. A conference had been called of all the commanders to discuss the question of advancing or
waiting for reinforcements. General Robert Meade, (USA), in command of the US Marines, was ill, and Major Littleton W.T. Waller (USMC), was the junior officer of the representatives of many nations in the conference.
“One by one the older men gave their opinions that there was no pressing need of an advance and that the troops must have several more days of recuperating. Finally (and lastly) Major Waller’s opinion was asked
and he stood up and said:

“’Gentelmen, I do not know what the rest of you mean to do, but the Marines start for Peking at 6 o’clock in the morning!’

“The Marines did start at 6am in the morning, taking the allies along.”

After the legation was relieved, numerous letters and records provided evidence of the valor and courage shown by the US Marines defending the legation. US Minister to China, E.H. Conger wrote the Secretary of
State, “To our Marines fell the most difficult and dangerous portion of the defense… Our Legation, with the position which we held on the wall, was the key to the whole situation.”

American missionaries wrote a long letter about the Marines, in part saying, “... express their hearty appreciation for the courage, fidelity and patriotism of the American Marines to whom we so largely owe our salvation.”
Hollywood made a major movie about the fighting at the legation starring Charleston Heston, David Niven, and many others. The following is a short section of the end of that movie.

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In view of the fact that we are preparing to build a MOUNT training program, I thought I'd give you a little history of early MOUNT warfare as conducted by US Marines.  Few people know about this little bit of US and Marine history.



October Focus


Harpers Ferry.  The Opening Shots of the Civil War


On the morning of October 17, 1859, panic gripped Washington D.C. as word reached the Capital that John Brown of Kansas and a group of armed abolitionists seized the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and kidnapped several prominent citizens of the town.  By noon, President James Buchanan had verified the facts of the situation and took action.  Troops from the Maryland and Virginia Militia were summoned to Harpers Ferry but the President wanted Federal troops to handle this situation.  Accordingly, the 3rd US. Army Artillery Regiment at Fort Monroe was alerted, however it soon became clear that army troops could not arrive on the scene for two days.  Instead, Marines stationed at Marine Barracks Washington were pressed into service.  By 3:20 pm, a detachment of 86 marines commanded by 1st Lt. Israel Greene, U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) boarded a train bound for Harpers Ferry.  Greene was assisted by Major William Russell, USMC Paymaster of the Corps, who was sent to advise the young officer.


Secretary of War John Floyd had other ideas regarding the overall commander of the operation.  Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee, U.S. Army, was on leave in nearby Arlington, Virginia preparing to report to the 2nd U.S. Cavalry in Texas.  Orders were sent by courier to Colonel Lee.  The courier was Lt. James E.B. (JEB) Stuart who was waiting to meet with the Secretary of War. Stuart offered his services to Lee as aide de camp and the two headed for the War Department.  As the Marines hit the rails to danger, the situation in Harpers Ferry rapidly deteriorated.  The Jefferson County Militia exchanged gunfire with Brown’s band and two failed assaults on the engine house resulted in heavy casualties.  The abolitionists killed Fontaine Beckham, the Mayor of Harpers Ferry, and the militia captured and killed William Thompson, one of Brown’s men.


The Marine detachment arrived at the Sandy Hook station near Harpers Ferry by 9:30 pm. Later in the evening they were joined by Colonel Lee and Lt. Stuart.  By dawn on October 18th 1859, Lee, Stuart, and Greene approached the arsenal and the compound was surrounded by Maryland and Virginia Militia.  Believing this to be a state matter, Lee offered both the Maryland and Virginia Militia the honor of storming the engine house where a dozen of Brown's men and hostages were.  Both commanders declined and Colonel Lee turned to Lt. Greene and his Marines.


Lt. JEB Stuart was sent to make a surrender demand to John Brown.  If it was rejected, he was to wave his hat as a signal.  A force of 12 Marines with sledgehammers would be sent to make an entry into the engine house.  Stuart made his demand and John Brown made counter demands over the yelling and screaming of the hostages.  The young cavalry officer lost patience with the situation and waved his hat.  Two large Marines with sledgehammers tried in vain to open the heavy doors to the engine house.  Greene saw a large ladder lying near by and ordered 5 Marines on each side of the ladder to ram the door.  The door opened on the second attempt and Lt. Greene and Major Russell leaped through the breach followed by Marines with bayonets.  The inside of the engine house was covered in smoke.  Lewis Washington, grand nephew of George Washington, assisted Greene in locating John Brown who was preparing to fire a rifle.  Lt. Greene struck Brown on the back of his neck with his sword and then thrust it into Brown’s side.  The abolitionist would have died on the spot if Greene had been wearing a regulation sword, however in his haste, Israel Greene had brought his light dress sword which was not as deadly.


Two of Brown’s men, Jeremiah Anderson and Dauphin Thompson, fell beneath Marine bayonets.  Marine Pvt. Luke Quinn made the ultimate sacrifice while Pvt. Mathew Ruppert received a gunshot wound to the face.  The entire conflict took less than three minutes.  Israel Greene and his Marines assisted Colonel Lee in searching for more of Brown’s men in the surrounding countryside.  The Marine detachment was back in its barracks on the morning of October 20th.  Lt. Colonel Robert E. Lee wrote a letter to Marine Commandant Harris praising the action of the Marines at Harpers Ferry.


Harpers Ferry Painting.png


Painting showing US Marines immediately after retaking the arsenal at Harpers Ferry.



Harpers Ferry Grave.png

Grave of Pvt Luke Quinn, USMC, the only Marine fatality of the arsenal assault at Harpers Ferry.  Pvt Quinn was buried in a local cemetery.  The grave is maintained by Marines from the local Marine Corps League Chapter.  (Marines never forget their own!)

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PFC Mansfield


I like the fact that Marines are Marines first, regardless of age, race, creed, color, sex, national origin or how long they served or what goals they achieve in life!

Let me give you one example: a young man enlists in the Navy in WWI.  When the war is over, he ships over and joins the Army.  He next enlisted in the Marine Corps and served from 1920-1922.  There was no Air Force back then, so I guess he felt he had put all the checks in the block!  When he served out his time in the Corps, he went after an education: receiving various degrees in engineering, history and political science from UCLA and Montana State University.  He entered politics and served for 11 years in the House of Representatives.  Next, he tackled the Senate where he served for 24 years, as both the Democratic whip and later as the Senate majority leader.  He was then appointed as the ambassador to Japan where he served for 11 years.

This gentleman went from snuffy to national and international prominence.  Before he died, he specified his wishes for his burial, including headstone, and when he passed away in 2001, he was rightly buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  If you want to visit his grave, don't look for him near the Kennedy Eternal Flame where so many politicians are laid to rest.  Look for a small, common marker shared by the majority of our heroes.  Look for the marker that says, "Michael J. Mansfield, PFC, U.S. Marine Corps.



Official Congressional Portrait of Michael J Mansfield

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Part history, part humor, all true!



A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies.  At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries.


Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, "Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?"


Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, "Maybe it's because the Brit's, Canadians, Aussie's and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.

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Part history, part humor, all true!



A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies.  At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries.


Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, "Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?"


Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, "Maybe it's because the Brit's, Canadians, Aussie's and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.


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Many notable celebrities and athletes were US Marines.  One of those amazing athletes was the great "Ted Williams".  I suspect many of you don't know about him.
Here is some information about the All Star Great, Ted Williams.  
Theodore Samuel "TedWilliams (August 30, 1918 – July 5, 2002) was an American professional baseball player and manager.  He played his entire 19-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career as a left fielder for the Boston Red Sox from 1939–1942 and 1946–1960.
Nicknamed "The Kid", "The Splendid Splinter", "Teddy Ballgame", "The Thumper" and "The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived", Williams is regarded as one of the greatest hitters in baseball history.
Williams was a seventeen-time All-Star, a two-time recipient of the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player Award, a six-time AL batting champion, and a two-time Triple Crown winner.  He finished his playing career with a .344 batting average, 521 home runs, and a .482 on-base percentage, the highest of all time.  His batting average is the highest of any MLB player with 302 or more home runs.
He was selected for the Major League Baseball All-Time Team in 1997 and the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.
Captain Williams joined the US Marines at the height of his baseball career to fight the Japanese in World War Two.  He was called up again and flew jets in the Korean War.  The following Lithograph is how Williams wanted to be remembered, not for his awesome baseball accomplishments, but for just being one of those US Marines!
Ted Williams Jet Pilot.jpg

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Belleau Wood story.



The following is a story about a parade the Marines were in during WWI.  In case you did not know, the 4th Marine Brigade was assigned to the U.S. Army’s 2nd Division, which would become the most decorated U.S. division during that war, because of the Marines, of course.



In 1918, following the fighting at Chateau Thierry & Belleau Wood, the French Parliament by unanimous vote determined to celebrate July 4th, the anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence, as a French national holiday. The event was to include a massive parade through Paris with one provisional battalion from each American division participating. The 2nd Division was represented by a battalion composed of one provisional company from each regiment, to be made up of twenty men from each actual company.


Lt. Clifton Cates ~ who only the previous day had been dug in in Belleau Wood under shellfire with his company ~ was among those chosen, along with thirty‑two of his Marines, to travel  post‑haste to Paris to march in the parade. In a letter to his mother he described the experience:


The morning of the 4th, we got up early and cleaned up and tried to look half way decent, but we still looked like a bunch of bums. At eight we left our camp and marched to where the parade formed. Mother, you cannot imagine the cheer that would go up as the French people would recognize the Marine flag ~ it was one continual shout ~ Vive la Marines ! ~ la Marines ! ~ etc. They literally covered us with roses ~ I would carry each bouquet a piece and then drop it ~ then another girl would load me down with more flowers. It was truly wonderful and it made us Marines feel very good, as they give us all the credit (for stopping the German drive on Paris). Even every little kid, to and from Paris, would yell, "Vive la Marines!" We have certainly made a name in France .... Most of all Paris witnessed the parade, and it was one grand sight and adventure for us ~ one that I will never forget.


~~ Quoted from the unpublished letters of Gen. Clifton B. Cates USMC [Ret], printed in Robert Asprey's At Belleau Wood.

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Article About CSO GySgt Jacklin and other MARSOC Marines; Navy Cross

(PS:  I met Jacklin when I was at the 1st MRB compound in 2018) 

GySgt Jacklin.jpg

Valor is 'what these Marines are all about,' officer says of those who earned Navy Cross, Bronze Star


April 9, 2015 Updated April 10, 2015 9:08 a.m.


CAMP PENDLETON – Gunnery Sgt. Brian Jacklin still remembers being vastly outnumbered and surrounded by the enemy in a small village in the volatile Helmand Province of western Afghanistan.

He and his team of nine special operations Marines had taken heavy fire for hours from outside a compound. His captain and a sergeant had been hit and were bleeding out. Jacklin saw blowing out the wall as the only way to evacuate his wounded comrades and get his team to a landing zone and an arriving copter.

“I asked the guys, ‘Does anyone have a problem with blowing out the wall to get out of here?’” Jacklin recalled. “They all said ‘I’m in, just do it.’ There was no hesitation when I gave the order. I told them, ‘If you get hit on your way out just keep going and we’ll figure it out afterward.’”

After the wounded and his team were evacuated, Jacklin stayed behind providing intelligence and personal fire to the assisting SEAL Team 3 and local Afghan forces.

Jacklin, 32, a critical skills operator with 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, on Thursday was awarded the Navy Cross – the nation’s second-highest award for valor.

“With his decisive actions, bold initiative and complete dedication to duty, Jacklin reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service,” his citation reads.

He was decorated by Maj. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commander of the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, during a ceremony at Camp Pendleton. Jacklin received his medal for heroic actions during a 48-hour standoff with the enemy while he was part of a team conducting village stability operations in Afghanistan’s volatile Upper Gereshk Valley in June 2012.

During the ceremony, five of Jacklin’s team members – all critical skill operators – also were honored with the Bronze Star with combat “V” device for their role in the battle. They included Gunnery Sgt. William Simpson IV, Staff Sgt. Christopher Buckminster, Staff Sgt. Hafeez Hussein, Sgt. William Hall and Sgt. David Harris.

“These six extraordinary Marines are being recognized for their gallantry and valor,” Osterman said. “It always takes a team to make it work. This epitomizes the team concept and what these Marines are all about.”

While Jacklin emphasized that much of what happened that day is standard operating procedure for many Marines, Osterman characterized the event as unique. The team was vastly outnumbered and the firepower against them was great. Through their work together, the team became a lethal force.

“There has not been a prouder experience in my military career than June 14 and 15 of 2012; not because of anything I did but because of what I saw done by others,” Jacklin said. “There is no way to express the magnitude of heroism and destruction that is possible when men of extraordinary skill and tenacity lay everything on the line for each other.”

Jacklin’s mother, Susan, watched her only child receive the honor. The Hacienda Heights woman wasn’t surprised by her son’s dedication and the bond he has with fellow Marines.

“These men have always been his focus,” she said through tears of pride. “This is an extremely proud moment and it includes all the sacrifice I’ve seen him have. It was a concentrated effort by everyone. I’m just so proud he could have such an impact on so many people.”

Susan Jacklin said her son had always been interested in the military while growing up. He eventually decided the Marines were his calling because he admired their code of ethics.

It all came together when he lived with his grandmother in Corona and went to Centennial High School. He was on the wrestling team there and coach Randy Campbell always made his wrestlers “earn their place on the mat.”

“To me that’s when he finally found his niche,” Susan Jacklin said. “Earning his place on the mat, must have struck a chord with him.”

It was also there where he formed an early band of brothers that still remains strong. On Thursday, four of his wrestling buddies from Corona were there to watch. When they heard the story about what he did, they weren’t surprised.

“When we wrestled, we were taught to fight and win,” said Robert Winn, 31. “That was always instilled into each of us by Coach Campbell.”

“Being a Marine was always his dream,” said Steve Smith, “He’s just a good, solid guy.”

Contact the writer: 714-796-2254 or eritchie@ocregister.com or Twitter:@lagunaini


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Belleau Wood 2.jpg  BelleauWood.jpg

Belleau Wood, France, June 1918

Much has been written about this historic battle, but as it often the case, people forget about events as they get further detached by the passing of time.  Only the French people and US Marines keep the history of Belleau Wood alive.  The battle is still celebrated with formal ceremonies every year.  All Marines know it is our duty to uphold the honor, purchased at such high a cost, by these valiant men, US Marines.


The following is part of a report written by the then Secretary of the Navy, about the battle of Belleau Wood in WWI.


U.S. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels on the Battle of Belleau Wood

It was June 6th that the attack of the American troops began against Belleau Wood and its adjacent surroundings, with the wood itself and the towns of Torcy and Bouresches forming the objectives.

At 5 o'clock the attack came, and there began the tremendous sacrifices which the Marine Corps gladly suffered that the German fighters might be thrown back.

The Marines fought strictly according to American methods - a rush, a halt, a rush again, in four-wave formation, the rear waves taking over the work of those who had fallen before them, passing over the bodies of their dead comrades and plunging ahead, until they, too, should be torn to bits.  But behind those waves were more waves, and the attack went on.

"Men fell like flies," the expression is that of an officer writing from the field.  Companies that had entered the battle 250 strong dwindled to 50 and 60, with a Sergeant in command; but the attack did not falter.  At 9.45 o'clock that night Bouresches was taken by Lieutenant James F. Robertson and twenty-odd men of his platoon; these soon were joined by two reinforcing platoons.

Then came the enemy counter-attacks, but the Marines held.

In Belleau Wood the fighting had been literally from tree to tree, stronghold to stronghold; and it was a fight which must last for weeks before its accomplishment in victory.

Belleau Wood was a jungle, its every rocky formation containing a German machine-gun nest, almost impossible to reach by artillery or grenade fire.  There was only one way to wipe out these nests - by the bayonet.  And by this method were they wiped out, for United States Marines, bare-chested, shouting their battle cry of "E-e-e-e-e y-a-a-hh-h yip!" charged straight into the murderous fire from those guns, and won!

Out of the number that charged, in more than one instance, only one would reach the stronghold.  There, with his bayonet as his only weapon, he would either kill or capture the defenders of the nest, and then swinging the gun about in its position, turn it against the remaining German positions in the forest.

Such was the character of the fighting in Belleau Wood; fighting which continued until July 6th, when after a short relief the invincible Americans finally were taken back to the rest billet for recuperation.

In all the history of the Marine Corps there is no such battle as that one in Belleau Wood.  Fighting day and night without relief, without sleep, often without water, and for days without hot rations, the Marines met and defeated the best divisions that Germany could throw into the line.

The heroism and doggedness of that battle are unparalleled.  Time after time officers seeing their lines cut to pieces, seeing their men so dog tired that they even fell asleep under shellfire, hearing their wounded calling for the water they were unable to supply, seeing men fight on after they had been wounded and until they dropped unconscious; time after time officers seeing these things, believing that the very limit of human endurance had been reached, would send back messages to their post command that their men were exhausted.

But in answer to this would come the word that the line must hold, and, if possible, those lines must attack.  And the lines obeyed.  Without water, without food, without rest, they went forward - and forward every time to victory.

Companies had been so torn and lacerated by losses that they were hardly platoons, but they held their lines and advanced them.  In more than one case companies lost every officer, leaving a Sergeant and sometimes a Corporal to command, and the advance continued.

After thirteen days in this inferno of fire a captured German officer told with his dying breath of a fresh division of Germans that was about to be thrown into the battle to attempt to wrest from the Marines that part of the wood they had gained.

The Marines, who for days had been fighting only on their sheer nerve, who had been worn out from nights of sleeplessness, from lack of rations, from terrific shell and machine-gun fire, straightened their lines and prepared for the attack.  It came - as the dying German officer had predicted.

At 2 o'clock on the morning of June 13th it was launched by the Germans along the whole front.  Without regard for men, the enemy hurled his forces against Bouresches and the Bois de Belleau, and sought to win back what had been taken from Germany by the Americans.

The orders were that these positions must be taken at all costs; that the utmost losses in men must be endured that the Bois de Belleau and Bouresches might fall again into German hands.

But the depleted lines of the Marines held; the men who had fought on their nerve alone for days once more showed the mettle of which they were made.

With their backs to the trees and boulders of the Bois de Belleau, with their sole shelter the scattered ruins of Bouresches, the thinning lines of the Marines repelled the attack and crashed hack the new division which had sought to wrest the position from them.

And so it went.  Day after day, night after night, while time after time messages like the following travelled to the post command:

Losses heavy.  Difficult to get runners through.  Some have never returned.  Morale excellent, but troops about all in.  Men exhausted.

Exhausted, but holding on.  And they continued to hold on in spite of every difficulty.  Advancing their lines slowly day by day, the Marines finally prepared their positions to such an extent that the last rush for the possession of the wood could be made.

Then, on June 24th, following a tremendous barrage, the struggle began.

The barrage literally tore the woods to pieces, but even its immensity could not wipe out all the nests that remained, the emplacements that were behind almost every clump of bushes, every jagged, rough group of boulders.

But those that remained were wiped out by the American method of the rush and the bayonet, and in the days that followed every foot of Belleau Wood was cleared of the enemy and held by the frayed lines of the Americans.

It was, therefore, with the feeling of work well done that the depleted lines of the Marines were relieved in July, that they might be filled with replacements and made ready for a grand offensive in the vicinity of Soissons, July 18th.

And in recognition of their sacrifice and bravery this praise was forthcoming from the French:

Army Headquarters, June 30, 1918

In view of the brilliant conduct of the Fourth Brigade of the Second United States Division, which in a spirited fight took Bouresches and the important strong point of Bois de Belleau, stubbornly defended by a large enemy force, the General commanding the Sixth Army orders that henceforth, in all official papers, the Bois de Belleau shall be named "Bois de la Brigade de Marine."


Commanding Sixth Army


Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. VI, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

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Does anyone read this History Thread?  I love Marine Corps history and could share much more, but if no one is reading this stuff, it's a big waste of my time.


It appears "reading" is going out of style.  Remember, "Readers are Leaders"

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All chaplains with the US Marines are from the Navy.  The US Navy only sends chaplains who volunteer to serve with the US Marines.

This chaplain was serving with the US Marines in Korea following the liberation of Seoul, South Korea, after the Inchon Landing.

Korean Quote Arrogant Marines.jpg



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