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U.S. Marine Corps Facts and History: July 1st

Updated on June 29, 2016
Kevin McClernon profile image

Kevin retired from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 2014 after 32 years of service.

1st Lieutenant "Chesty" Puller (second from left) and Gunnery Sergeant "Ironman" Lee (second from right) with a pair of Nicaraguan National Guardsmen, 1931.
1st Lieutenant "Chesty" Puller (second from left) and Gunnery Sergeant "Ironman" Lee (second from right) with a pair of Nicaraguan National Guardsmen, 1931. | Source

"Chesty" Puller

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.

Puller commanded the Marine Detachment, USS Augusta in the mid-to-late 1930's.
Puller commanded the Marine Detachment, USS Augusta in the mid-to-late 1930's. | Source

Personal Awards

Award
Location of Action
Navy Cross (5)
Nicaragua (2), Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Korea
Distinguished Service Cross (Army)
Korea
Silver Star
Korea
Legion of Merit (2)
Peleliu, Korea
Bronze Star with Combat "V"
Guadalcanal
Purple Heart
Peleliu
Commanding Officer of the 1st Marine Regiment, Inchon, Korea, 1950.
Commanding Officer of the 1st Marine Regiment, Inchon, Korea, 1950. | Source

Combat Service

Year
Rank
Unit
Location
1919-1920
Corporal
1st Marine Brigade
Haiti
1928-1929, 1931-1932
First Lieutenant
2nd Marine Brigade
Nicaragua
1942
Lieutenant Colonel
1st Battalion, 7th Marines
Guadalcanal
1943
Lieutenant Colonel
7th Marine Regiment
Cape Gloucester
1944
Colonel
1st Marine Regiment
Peleiu
1950-1951
Colonel
1st Marine Division
Korea
Major General Puller, 1954
Major General Puller, 1954 | Source

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.

"Marine Battle Seminoles" by John Clymer
"Marine Battle Seminoles" by John Clymer | Source

Seminole Wars

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

A
Big Cypress Reservation:
Big Cypress Reservation, FL, USA

get directions

B
Brighton Reservation:
Brighton Reservation, Northeast Glades, FL, USA

get directions

C
Hollywood Reservation:
Hollywood Reservation, FL, USA

get directions

D
Immokalee Reservation:
Immokalee Reservation, Immokalee, FL 34142, USA

get directions

E
Tampa Reservation:
Tampa Reservation, East Lake-Orient Park, FL 33610, USA

get directions

F
Fort Pierce Reservation:
Fort Pierce Reservation, Florida 34945, USA

get directions

Major General Charles Heywood, USMC, 9th Commandant of the Marine Corps. 1917 oil painting by Louis Gebhardt.
Major General Charles Heywood, USMC, 9th Commandant of the Marine Corps. 1917 oil painting by Louis Gebhardt. | Source

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.







World War I recruiting poster.
World War I recruiting poster. | Source

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.






Marine Corps Institute diploma.
Marine Corps Institute diploma. | Source

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.

The bronze medalist in the 1920 Olympic Shot Put, Colonel Harry B. Liversedge commanded the Marine Raiders during the New Georgia campaign.
The bronze medalist in the 1920 Olympic Shot Put, Colonel Harry B. Liversedge commanded the Marine Raiders during the New Georgia campaign. | Source

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.

Marine Corsair in action during the Battle of Okinawa, 1945.
Marine Corsair in action during the Battle of Okinawa, 1945. | Source

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.





4th Marine Division insignia
4th Marine Division insignia | Source

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).

General Louis H. Wilson, Jr
General Louis H. Wilson, Jr | Source
General Robert H. Barrow
General Robert H. Barrow | Source

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.



Parting shot

"Old breed? New breed? There's not a damn bit of difference so long as it's the Marine breed."

Major General Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller

Semper Fidelis
Semper Fidelis | Source

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