Marines Of WWII


In World War II, the Marines played a central role in the Pacific War; the Corps expanded from two brigades to two corps with six divisions, and five air wings with 132 squadrons. In addition, 20 defense battalions and a parachute battalion were set up. The battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa saw fierce fighting between U.S. Marines and the Imperial Japanese Army.


Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, by Joe Rosenthal / The Associated PressDuring the battle of Iwo Jima, photographer Joe Rosenthal took the famous photo Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima of five Marines and one Navy corpsman raising the American flag on Mt. Suribachi. Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, who had come ashore earlier that day to observe the progress of the troops, said of the flag raising on Iwo Jima, "...the raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years." The acts of the Marines during the war added to their already significant popular reputation, and the USMC War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia was dedicated in 1954. By the war’s end, the Corps had grown to include six divisions, five air wings and supporting troops totaling about 485,000 Marines. Nearly 87,000 Marines were killed or wounded during World War II and 82 received the Medal of Honor.

Despite Secretary Forrestal's prediction, the Corps faced an immediate institutional crisis following the war. Army generals pushing for a strengthened and reorganized defense establishment also attempted to fold the Marine mission and assets into the Navy and Army. Drawing on hastily assembled Congressional support, the Marine Corps rebuffed such efforts to dismantle the Corps, resulting in statutory protection of the Marine Corps in the National Security Act of 1947. Shortly after, in 1952, the Douglas-Manfield Bill afforded the Commandant an equal voice with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on matters relating to the Marines, and established the structure of three divisions and air wings that remains today. This allowed the Corps to permanently maintain a division and air wing in the Far East and participate in various small wars in Southeast Asia—in the Tachen Islands, Taiwan, Laos, Thailand, and South Vietnam.



Posted by admin on Monday 12 March 2007 - 22:31:07 | LAN_THEME_20

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