U.S. Marine Corps Facts and History: 7 July
What is the United States Marine Corps?
The U.S. Marine Corps is this nation's amphibious force in readiness.
The ability to project seapower ashore is an element of U.S. national strategy. Amphibious operations use naval vessels to launch ground and air power onto a hostile shore. The Marine Corps is America's only major capability to conduct such operations and forcibly enter a hostile area from the sea.
To accomplish its mission, Marine operational forces are composed of aviation elements, combat service support elements, ground combat elements and headquarters elements.
Fixed-wing assets such as the C-130 Hercules and F-35B Lightning II as well as MV-22 Osprey and CH-53E Sea Stallion rotary-wing assets are included in the Marine Corps aircraft inventory. The aviation element also includes personnel and units to provide aircraft and airfield maintenance, air traffic control, anti-air defense, and various logistics services.
Marine Corps combat service support elements provide personnel and equipment to logistically sustain amphibious operations ashore. Services provided by these elements include; dental, general engineering, landing support, logistics, maintenance, medical, military police, supply, and transportation support.
Infantry units form the core of the Marine Corps' ground combat elements. Other ground combat forces include assault amphibian vehicles, artillery, combat engineer, reconnaissance and tank units. The U.S. Marine Corps currently has 3 active duty divisions and 1 reserve division.
Headquarters elements, otherwise known as Command Elements, control and direct the activities of the other elements. Its functions include administration, communications, intelligence, logistics coordination, manpower management, operations, planning and training.
The air-ground team is a concept which the Marines formulated in the 1930's and continues to be the overarching principle when organizing Marine Corps operational forces.
1810 - Organization
1846 - Mexican War
1866 - Assistance to Civil Authority
Marines from the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Navy Yard arrive in Portland, Maine to assist local authorities restore order after a massive fire.
Great Fire of Portland, Maine
Also known as the 1866 Great Fire of Portland in Maine, was started on the 4th of July 1866 most likely by fireworks. The fire was the largest urban city fire at the time in U.S. History. It claimed 2 lives, destroyed nearly 2,000 buildings and left 10,000 people homeless.
1898 - Spanish-American War
Marines take charge of a prisoner of war camp in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The camp housed approximately 1,600 Spanish prisoners. The guard force was composed of Marines from the Boston Navy Yard.
Marine Corps manpower at the time totaled about 3,500 Marines and officers.
1913 - China
In one of many landings in the turmoil stricken China to protect U.S. and international interests, the Marine Detachment from the USS Albany (CL-23) came ashore in Shanghai. This landing was in response to the 2nd Chinese Revolution. Other Marine Detachments from the U.S. Pacific Squadron would follow.
1941 - World War II
The 1st Marine Brigade arrives in Iceland. This Brigade of 4,000 Marines would remain in Iceland until relieved by U.S. Army units in March of 1942.
Invasion of Iceland
Iceland was invaded by British naval forces during May of 1940 in order to deny its use to Germany. The bloodless invasion of the neutral country was initially conducted by a battalion of British Royal Marines assaulting fro 4 Royal Navy warships. Follow-on occupation forces numbered approximately 30,000 airmen and soldiers, mostly from Canada.
In an agreement between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, the U.S. agreed to assume the occupation of Iceland in order to relieve much-needed British forces for participation in operation elsewhere. The first U.S. forces, a U.S. Marine Brigade, arrived on July 7th, 1941. Although the majority of U.S. forces departed at the conclusion of the war, a U.S. military presence remained in Iceland until 2006.
1944 - World War II
During the Battle of Saipan, a pre-dawn banzai attack by 3000 Japanese troops over-runs the U.S. Army's 105th Infantry Regiment and slams into the artillery batteries of the 10th Marine Regiment. The 6 hour fight, much of it being hand-to-hand combat, ends with the destruction of the Japanese forces at a cost of 1,000 U.S. casualties. This was a last-ditch effort by the Japanese defenders as the island was secured by U.S. forces 2 days later with little resistance.
Medal of Honor Citation
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to PRIVATE FIRST CLASS HAROLD C. AGERHOLM, STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE for service as set forth in the following CITATION:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Fourth Battalion, Tenth Marines, Second Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Saipan, Marianas Islands, 7 July 1944. When the enemy launched a fierce, determined counterattack against our positions and overran a neighboring artillery battalion, Private First Class Agerholm immediately volunteered to assist in the efforts to check the hostile attack and evacuate our wounded. Locating and appropriating an abandoned ambulance jeep, he repeatedly made extremely perilous trips under heavy rifle and mortar fire and single-handedly loaded and evacuated approximately forty-five casualties, working tirelessly and with utter disregard for his own safety during a gruelling period of more than three hours. Despite intense, persistent enemy fire, he ran out to aid two men whom he believed to be wounded Marines but was himself mortally wounded by a Japanese sniper while carrying out his hazardous mission. Private First Class Agerholm's brilliant initiative, great personal valor and self-sacrificing efforts in the face of almost certain death reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
/S/HARRY S. TRUMAN
1950 - Korean War
The 1st Marine Brigade is activated at Camp Pendleton, California and is ordered to prepare for immediate deployment to Korea. The brigade's units include the 5th Marine Regiment, elements of the 1st Marine Air Wing and additional elements from the 1st Marine Division. The brigade would begin sailing on July 12th and arrive in Pusan, South Korea on the 2nd of August.
1966 - Vietnam Conflict
Operation Hastings, one of the largest U.S. Marine operations of the conflict, commenced just south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in South Vietnam. The operation pitted 5 Marine infantry battalions and a Marine artillery battalion against a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) division. Under command and control of the 3rd Marine Division, the Marine ground forces were supported by the 3rd Marine Air Wing.
The operation continued through the 3rd of August causing the NVA division to abandon their attack on the provincial capital. Marine casualties during the operation exceeded 550 while an estimated 700 NVA troops were killed.