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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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Marine Corps War Memorial
Rising from hallowed ground, the Marine Corps War Memorial overlooks the Potomac River at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. It is the largest bronze monument in the world. Arguably, it is also the most famous monument in the world. And for all who have earned the title, a pilgrimage to the monument is required.

First, a brief historical review: In the closing years of World War II, U.S. Marines fought and bled their way across the Pacific Ocean toward Japan. The Japanese knew their tiny volcanic island, Iwo Jima, would be attacked. Its crucial airfields lay only 650 miles from Tokyo, just over two hours flying time. So, under the command of LtGen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi, Japan's best and brightest mining engineers turned remote Iwo Jima into a seemingly impregnable fortress. In the volcanic rock, laborers blasted out 16 miles of tunnels, connecting 1500 rooms. The engineers built underground hospitals and supply rooms under hundreds of feet of solid impenetrable rock. These were linked to over a thousand fortified artillery and antiaircraft batteries, and machinegun and mortar bunkers. Impregnable, they believed.

Preliminary bombardment by the 16-inch guns of U.S. Navy battleships had a negligible effect on the volcanic island fortress. Nonetheless, on 19 February 1945 the Marines stormed the beach. Many never even made it to the shore. From hundreds of fortifications, many atop 550-foot high Mount Suribachi, the Japanese rained a hail of rockets, artillery, mortar, and automatic weapons fire down upon the attacking force.

For both the Japanese and the Marines, the island became a charnel house. Yet, by the fourth day the Marines of 3rd Platoon, Echo Company, had clawed their way to the summit of Mount Suribachi. Here they raised a small American flag. Soon a larger flag was obtained. Five Marines and a Navy corpsman mounted the new flag on a piece of pipe. Together they raised this flag atop the former Japanese bastion. The six flag-raisers represented a cross-section of America:

- PFC Ira Hayes, a full-blooded Pima Indian from Arizona.

- Sgt. Michael Strank, a Pennsylvania coal mine worker.

- Cpl. Harlon Block, a draftee from the Texas oil fields.

- PFC Franklin Sousley, a 19 year old Kentucky farm boy.

- PFC Rene Gagnon, a New Englander rejected by the Navy.

- PM2 (corpsman) John Bradley, a funeral director's apprentice.

Joe Rosenthal, of the Associated Press, photographed the men as they raised the flag. That picture, stopping time for 1/400th of a second, would become the most famous photograph of all time.

After 36 terrible days, Iwo Jima finally fell to the Marines. Of the forty men in 3rd Platoon who stormed the beach, only four escaped being killed or seriously wounded on Iwo Jima. Of the six men who raised the flag, Cpl. Block, Sgt. Strank, and PFC Sousley were all killed-in-action within days. They are among the 6,821 Americans who never left Iwo Jima alive. Further, an additional 19,217 Americans were maimed or grievously wounded.

In July 1947 the U.S. Congress authorized a Marine Corps War Memorial, based on the timeless photograph by Joe Rosenthal. The new memorial was sculpted by Felix de Weldon. In 108 separate pieces, it was cast in a New York foundry and then trucked to Washington. Ground-breaking and assembly began on 19 February 1954, the ninth anniversary of the Iwo Jima landing. The final cost of $850,000 was borne entirely by donations, 96 percent of them from U.S. Marines.

Burnished into the base of polished black Swedish granite, in gold letters, is the inscription, "Uncommon Valor Was A Common Virtue." On the opposite side, flanked by Marine Corps emblems, is the additional inscription:

In Honor And Memory Of The Men Of The United States Marine Corps Who Have Given Their Lives To Their Country Since 10 November 1775.

Inscribed in gold are the names of the campaigns in which Marines have fought since 1775. Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. President, delivered the dedication address on 10 November 1954, the 179th birthday of the Corps.

The five Marines and their corpsman are forever immortalized in bronze, raising the American flag on Iwo Jima for their Corps and Country. They represent the supreme sacrifice of all Marines who went before them, and all who follow. They live eternally. They live on hallowed ground. Never forget.
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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