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This Month In USMC History
1 October 1997:
The first African-American female colonel in the Marine Corps was promoted to that rank during a ceremony at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina. Colonel Gilda A. Jackson, a native of Columbus, Ohio, made Marine Corps history when she achieved the rank of colonel. She was serving as Special Projects Officer, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing at the time of her promotion.

5 October 1775:
Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the 2d Continental Congress used the word "Marines" on one of the earliest known occasions, when it directed General George Washington to secure two vessels on "Continental risque and pay", and to give orders for the "proper encouragement to the Marines and seamen" to serve on the two armed ships.

6 October 1945:
Major General Keller E. Rockey, Commanding General, III Amphibious Corps, accepted the surrender of 50,000 Japanese troops in North China on behalf of the Chinese Nationalist government.

8 October 1889:
A force of 375 Marines under command of future Commandant George F. Elliott, attacked and captured the insurgent town of Novaleta, Luzon, Philippine Islands, and linked up with U.S. Army troops. There were 11 Marine casualties.

9 October 1917:
The 8th Marines was activated at Quantico, Virginia. Although the regiment would not see combat in Europe during World War I, the officers and enlisted men of the 8th Marines participated in operations against dissidents in Haiti for over five years during the 1920s. During World War II, the regiment was assigned to the 2d Marine Division and participated in combat operations on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa, and earned three Presidential Unit Citations.

11 October 1951:
A Marine battalion was flown by transport helicopters to a frontline combat position for the first time, when HMR-161 lifted the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, and its equipment, during Operation Bumblebee, northeast of Yanggu, Korea.

19 October 1968:
Operation Maui Peak, a combined regimental-sized operation which began on 6 October, ended 11 miles northwest of An Hoa, Vietnam. More than 300 enemy were killed in the 13-day operation.

23 October 1983:
At 0622 an explosive-laden truck slammed into the BLT headquarters building in Beirut, Lebanon, where more than 300 men were billeted. The massive explosion collapsed the building in seconds, and took the lives of 241 Americans--including 220 Marines. This was the highest loss of life in a single day for Marines since D-Day on Iwo Jima in 1945.

28 October 1962:
An 11,000-man 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade left Camp Pendleton by sea for the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis. One week earlier, the entire 189,000-man Marine Corps had been put on alert and elements of the 1st and 2d Marine Divisions were sent to Guantanamo Bay to reinforce the defenders of the U.S. Naval Base. Other 2d Division units and squadrons from five Marine Aircraft Groups were deployed at Key West, Florida, or in Caribbean waters during the Cuban crisis.

31 October 1919:
A patrol of Marines and gendarmes, led by Sergeant Herman H. Hanneken, disguised themselves as Cacos and entered the headquarters of the Haitian Caco Leader, Charlemagne Peralte, killing the bandit chief, and dispersing his followers. Sergeant Hanneken and Corporal William R. Button were each awarded the Medal of Honor.

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Fallen hero honored at Camp Fallujah

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Jan. 15, 2007) -- Service members here gathered at the Chapel of Hope to honor fallen soldier Army Staff Sgt. James M. Wosika, Jan. 15.

Wosika, a reservist with the 2nd Battalion of the 136th Infantry Regiment - a Minnesota National Guard unit - was killed in action Jan. 9 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province. He was serving as a team leader for the I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters’ Group Force Protection Company.

The 24 year-old from St. Paul, Minn., is remembered as a leader by the people who knew him best, his fellow soldiers and Marines.

He never expected his men to do something he wasn’t willing to do or had already done early in his career, said Army Staff Sgt. Joshua A. Hatton, of his friend. According to Hatton, Wosika enjoyed helping especially junior service members.

Lance Cpl. Earl T. Peaks experienced Wosika’s generosity first hand when he arrived at the unit as a motor transport operator not an infantryman.

“When he explained things he made sure to break them down so I could understand,” said Peaks a motor transport operator. Peaks needed a refresher on infantry training to include reading maps and radio operation, skills he was familiar with, but had not practiced regularly. “He would do his best to show you (how to do something) as if he was teaching himself.”

“He was always positive,” added the 20-year-old from Little Rock, Ark., who Wosika nicknamed ‘Earl the Pearl.”

Wosika, known to his friends as Jimmy, had a contagious grin, said Staff Sgt. Kelly P. Jones, 39, of Blaine, Minn.

“He made us laugh even when we didn’t want to,” said Jones of Wosika, who volunteered for this deployment. “He chose to come here and fight for people he didn’t know and for a cause that is at times, unclear.”

“He couldn’t stand that we would be here without him,” said Jones, who knows Wosika is still with him. “I am going to miss you my brother… things will never be the same, but I can still feel you here.”

“As I walk for the rest of my life, you will be beside me,” said Hatton. “We have to carry on. We don’t honor his memory if we quit. Hold on to Jimmy’s memory and to each other.”

Posted by admin on Tuesday 16 January 2007 - 23:36:11 | LAN_THEME_20
The Buffalo Soldiers

African Americans have fought in military conflicts since colonial days. However, the Buffalo Soldiers, comprised of former slaves, freemen and Black Civil War soldiers, were the first to serve during peacetime.

Once the Westward movement had begun, prominent among those blazing treacherous trails of the Wild West were the Buffalo Soldiers of the U.S. Army. These African Americans were charged with and responsible for escorting settlers, cattle herds, and railroad crews. The 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments also conducted campaigns against American Indian tribes on a western frontier that extended from Montana in the Northwest to Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona in the Southwest. Throughout the era of the Indian Wars, approximately twenty percent of the U.S. Cavalry troopers were Black, and they fought over 177 engagements. The combat prowess, bravery, tenaciousness, and looks on the battlefield, inspired the Indians to call them "Buffalo Soldiers." Many Indians believe the name symbolized the Native American's respect for the Buffalo Soldiers' bravery and valor. Buffalo Soldiers, down through the years, have worn the name with pride.

Buffalo Soldiers participated in many other military campaigns: The Spanish American War, The Philippine Insurrection, The Mexican Expedition, World War I, World War II, and the Korean Police Action.

Much have changed since the days of the Buffalo Soldiers, including the integration of all military servicemen and women. However, the story of the Buffalo Soldiers remain one of unsurpassed courage and patriotism, and will be forever a significant part of the history of America.

African Americans have fought with distinction in all of this country's military engagements. However, some of their most notable contributions and sacrifices came during the Civil War. During that conflict, more than 180,000 African Americans wore the Union Army blue. Another 30,000 served in the Navy, and 200,000 served as workers on labor, engineering, hospital and other military support projects. More than 33,000 of these gallant soldiers gave their lives for the sake of freedom and their country.

Shortly after the Civil War, Congress authorized the formation of the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st Infantry Regiments: Six all Black peacetime units. Later the four infantry regiments were merged into the 24th and 25th Infantries.

In countless skirmishes and firefights, the troopers won the respect of the Plains warriors who named "Buffalo Soldiers." African Americans accepted the badge of honor and wore it proudly.

At least 18 Medals of Honor were presented to Buffalo Soldiers during the Western Campaigns. Similarly, 23 African Americans received the nation's highest military award during the Civil War.

Buffalo Soldiers in the Guadalupe Mountains
The casual history novice passing quickly through Guadalupe Mountains National Park learns about the role ranching played in these mountains, that the original route of the Butterfield Overland Mail Stage ran through Guadalupe Pass for a brief time, and that this was the last Apache stronghold in Texas. But skirmishes between Mescalero Apache and Black troopers is less common knowledge. Yet hikers along the Foothills Trail walk through an area which was once the sight of a large cavalry encampment. To the untrained eye, there is no obvious evidence of the camp, but the close proximity to lower Pine Springs made it a valuable site to the military. An old rifle pit was discovered near this site. Another camp location at Manzanita Spring was briefly referred to as "Camp Safford" for Lt. Safford who died there of acute dysentery.

Despite some pleasant asides, military patrols in and around the Guadalupe Mountains were long and arduous, food was limited in variety, sometimes quantity, and almost always palatability - and water was scarce! In fact, many of the patrols made by the Buffalo Soldiers were essentially mapping expeditions for viable water sources and to record significant geographic features. This information would later prove to be useful in the fight against the elusive Warm Springs Apache Chief, Victorio.

Victorio's last skirmish with Colonel Grierson and the 10th Cavalry occurred in August 1880, only 40 miles south of the Guadalupes in the Sierra Diablo Mountains, at a place called Rattlesnake Springs.

Desperate for water, the Apache Chief made two attacks on the cavalry before being repelled. Grierson had cleverly cut the Apaches off from this critical resource; outguessing and beating Victorio's band to the springs in a marathon 65 mile ride through the harshest of country within 21 hours on horseback and wagons. Victorio was forced to retreat into Mexico, where he and his band were later killed by Mexican troops. Their demise was in and of itself a sad passage in the history of people indigenous to this country.

Little has been specifically written about the skirmishes between the Apache and the Buffalo Soldiers in the Guadalupe Mountains, but their spirits ride on the wind, patiently awaiting the long overdue recognition that they deserve in the annals of American history.

A Tribute
In February each year, Guadalupe Mountains National Park honors the brave men of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments by displaying artwork depicting the Buffalo Soldiers in the auditorium of the Headquarters Visitor Center. In July, 1997, Texas Parks & Wildlife employees put on a living history demonstration of the Buffalo Soldiers at Frijole Ranch, near the old military camp site. Check the Special Events Page for future living history demonstrations.

For further reading refer to The Buffalo Soldiers by William H. Leckie. This book, a narrative of the Negro Cavalry in the West, remains one of the best sources on the subject.

In celebration of Black History Month 2005, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is sponsoring a multi-dimensional educational program honoring the Buffalo Soldiers, African Americans who served in the segregated units of the American military from 1866 to 1951. The program heralds under-recognized heroes of African American history who have contributed in profound and lasting ways to American life.

Posted by admin on Tuesday 26 December 2006 - 21:29:47 | LAN_THEME_20
A Marines Christmas

As we celebrate the Holidays please spare a thought for those fighting for our right to celebrate our Holidays, Let us remember them and thank them for their sacrifice for us.

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.

I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps."

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

Posted by admin on Friday 22 December 2006 - 13:59:28 | LAN_THEME_20
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Marine Of The Month

Lance Cpl. James M. Gluff

20, of Tunnel Hill, Ga.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Jan. 19 in Ramadi, Iraq, while conducting combat operations.


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