U.S. Marine Corps Facts and History: July 1st
The most famous Marine in history, Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller was born in West Point, VA on June 26th, 1898 and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1918.
A legend in his own time, “Chesty” became one of the Marine Corps most combat-tested and highest decorated individuals in history. His 37-year career included combat action in the Latin American “Banana Wars”, the “island hopping” campaigns of World War II and in the Korean War.
A leader by example, he was admired by his men for his command presence, courageousness and dedication towards the welfare of his Marines. “Chesty” is the only person ever to be awarded 5 Navy Crosses (the nation’s 2nd highest award for the naval services). He concluded his 37-year career serving as the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant General.
Puller passed away during October, 1971 in Virginia.
Location of Action
Navy Cross (5)
Nicaragua (2), Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Korea
Distinguished Service Cross (Army)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star with Combat "V"
1st Marine Brigade
2nd Marine Brigade
1st Battalion, 7th Marines
7th Marine Regiment
1st Marine Regiment
1st Marine Division
1836 - Seminole War
More than half of the Marine Corps' strength is mustered near Columbus, Georgia in response to the War Department's order to join beleaguered Army troops in the South. The Marines have formed a regiment of 2 battalions and are lead by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Colonel Archibald Henderson. This is a significant departure from the Marines normal organizations of small ship detachments and naval yard guards.
Manpower strength at the time was approximately 1,300 Marines and officers.
Collectively, the Seminole Wars were the longest war in U.S. history.
The 1st Seminole War (1816-1820) ended with Spain ceding Florida to the United States and the migration of Seminole tribes from Northern Florida into Central Florida.
The Seminole tribes resistance to the U.S. Government's relocation to Indian Territory demands resulted in the 2nd Seminole War. Fought between 1835 and 1842, this war nearly eradicated the Seminole population in Florida.
The 3rd Seminole War (1855-1858) began with Indian reprisals against U.S. Army garrisons and white settlers in response to increasing encroachment on their lands. The final Seminole War ended when the majority of the Seminoles elected to relocate to Indian Territory for a cash payment. The remaining Seminoles were confined to present-day reservations.
Seminole Tribe Reservations
1902 - Commandant of the Marine Corps
The 9th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Charles Heywood, was promoted to Major General and becomes the first Marine to hold that rank.
Marine Corps manpower at the time included approximately 200 officers and 6,000 enlisted.
1918 - Organization of the Marine Corps
Due to World War I commitments, the Marine Corps strength is increased by the U.S. Congress to over 75,000 enlisted Marines and 3,300 officers. This is nearly a 300% increase from the previous year's authorization of 28,000 Marines and officers.
The 4th Marine Brigade and the 1st Marine Aviation Force were currently in France as part of the American Expeditionary Force.
1920 - Marine Corps Institute (MCI)
Known by Marines as "MCI" the Marine Corps Institute was founded this day by order of Major General John A. Lejeune, Commandant of the Marine Corps. MCI remained located at the Washington Navy Yard from its founding through its deactivation in 2015.
The Marine Corps Institute developed and administered correspondence courses and distant-learning activities for Marines. Throughout its history over 8 million students enrolled in MCI courses. MCI subjects included at variety of courses and programs covering; doctrine, general military subjects, individual combat techniques, leadership, military occupational skills, professional military education and war-fighting skills.
MCI's functions have been assumed by the Marine Corps University's College of Distance Education and Training aboard the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia.
1943 - World War II
As part of pre D-day operations,Marine Raiders defeat Japanese defenders and seize Viru Harbor. Enemy shore batteries in the area posed a significantly threat to landing craft and the U.S. Army's XIV Corps' scheme of maneuver.
The Marine's 1st Raider Regiment as well as Marine aviation assets supported the air, ground and sea operations throughout the Battle for New Georgia. Ground combat on New Georgia would continue through the end of August.
It was during this campaign that the "PT 109" incident, involving future U.S. President John F. Kennedy, occurred off the New Georgia coast.
1945 - World War II
Vought F-4U Corsairs from U.S. Marine fighter squadrons escorted U.S. Army Air Corps bomber groups on a mission to the Japanese mainland. This was the first medium-bomber mission on Japan's homeland since the Doolittle Raid of 1942.
The Marine Corps' personnel total peaks at nearly 475,000 Marines and officers.
1962 - Organization of the Marine Corps
Marine Reserve Forces are restructured from independent air and ground forces into a single air and ground organization with subordinate elements. Inactive since World War II, the 4th Marine Air Wing and 4th Marine Division are activated and serve as the senior headquarters for reserve air and ground forces.
With the reorganization, organizations within the Marine Corps Reserve now mirrored those of the active-duty component as well as incorporating the active-duty division-wing concept. The division-wing concept is still used by the Marine Corps as it formed the basis for Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTF).
1979 - Marine Corps Leadership
General Robert H. Barrow became the 27th Commandant of the Marine Corps replacing the retiring General Louis H. Wilson, Jr. Both Barrow and Wilson were renown legends in Marine Corps history.
General Wilson, the 26th Commandant, retired after 38 years of service. The then-Captain Wilson was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions during World War II's Battle of Guam. Additionally, he had been awarded 2 Defense Distinguished Service Medals, 3 Legions of Merit and 3 Purple Hearts.
General Barrow would serve as Commandant until his retirement in 1983. Barrow served in World War II as a member of a U.S. guerrilla team fighting the Japanese in China. He would receive the Navy Cross for heroism during the Korean War's Chosin Reservoir Campaign. In 1969, the then-Colonel Barrow would command U.S. forces during "Operation Dewey Canyon", the most-successful ground operation of the Vietnam Conflict. He was considered by many to be one of the finest Commandant's in history.