Tinian Declared Secure
On August 1, 1944, Major General Harry Schmidt, commander of V Amphibious Corps, declared the island of Tinian secure. This declaration came after nine days of fighting Japanese forces that were occupying the island.
The combination of surprise, heavy preassault bombardment, and effective logistical support resulted in significantly fewer casualties (344 killed and 1550 wounded) than were experienced in previous landings during the Corps’ Pacific Campaign. As a result, the assault on Tinian was coined “the perfect amphibious operation of World War II.”
*Image info: Four U.S. Marine Corps Vought F4U-1 fighters armed with bombs in late 1943 or early 1944.
(U.S. Government photo/released).
Black Sheep Squadron Begins Marine Aviation Involvement in Korean War
On August 3, 1950, eight Corsair fighter planes launched from the USS Sicily and carried out the first Marine aviation mission in the Korean War. The raid targeted enemy installations with incendiary bombs, rockets, and strafing runs near Inchon, Korea. The Corsairs were with VMF-214, more famously known as the “Black Sheep” squadron of World War II.
*Image info: Four Marine Corps CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters, foreground, and six AH-1 Sea Cobra helicopters sit on the flight line at Landing Zone 32 Site Alpha during Operation Desert Shield, January 1991.
(U.S. Government photo/released).
U.S. Troops and Aircraft Sent to Saudi Arabia
On August 7, 1990, President George H.W. Bush ordered U.S. military troops and aircraft to Saudi Arabia as part of a multinational force to defend that nation against possible Iraqi invasion. The following week, the Marine Corps announced that it had committed 45,000 Marines to the Persian Gulf area as a part of Operation Desert Shield, which would become the largest deployment of U.S. forces since the Vietnam War.
*Image info: Aerial view of Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, April 11, 1943.
(U.S. Navy photo/released).
Henderson Field Secured
On August 9, 1942, the 1st Engineer Battalion began work on an airstrip taken from Japanese forces on the island of Guadalcanal.
The work was done with captured Japanese equipment and three days later, on August 12, the first American airplane, a Navy PBY, landed on what by then was known as “Henderson Field” to evacuate two wounded Marines.
Over the next few months, as U.S. Marines fought to take control of the island, Henderson Field would be the staging area for the evacuation of almost 3,000 wounded Marines.
Marine Raiders in Operation at Makin Island, 1943.
(U.S. government photo)
Marine Raiders Strike Makin Island
On August 17, 1942, the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion under Lietenant Colonel Evans F. Carlson landed on Makin Island.
The Raiders, who were launched from the submarines Nautilus and Argonaut, destroyed a seaplane base, two radio stations, and a supply warehouse, in addition to killing approximately 100 Japanese soldiers before leaving the island the following day.
PFC James Anderson Jr.
The Marine Corps, more so than any other branch of America’s military, values and embraces its history. Beginning in boot camp, every Marine is educated on the Corps’ proud and storied past as they learn what it means to be part of such a prestigious organization. In the spirit of the value the Marine Corps places on its history, we wanted to give you, Marine families and supporters, an opportunity to embrace and learn about this part of Marine Corps legacy as well.
August 21 marks an important day in Marine Corps history—the awarding of the first Medal of Honor to an African-American Marine, Private First Class James Anderson Jr.
PFC Anderson was born in 1947 in Los Angeles, California. After graduating from high school, PFC Anderson spent a year and a half at a Los Angeles-area junior college before enlisting in the Marines in early 1966.
After completing recruit training at MCRD San Diego, PFC Anderson was assigned to Camp Pendleton for further training before arriving in Viet Nam in December of 1966 to serve as a rifleman with the 2nd Platoon, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division.
Medal of Honor Action
On February 28, 1967, while on patrol outside of the village of Cam Lo, Quang Tri Province, PFC Anderson’s platoon came under heavy enemy fire. During the ensuing firefight, an enemy grenade landed near PFC Anderson and a number of other Marines. PFC Anderson pulled the grenade to his chest, curled around it, and absorbed the majority of the blast with his body, heroically saving the lives of the Marines around him at the cost of his own.
On August 21, 1968, Secretary of the Navy Paul R. Ignatius posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to PFC James Anderson Jr. for heroism in Vietnam, the first time an African-American Marine received this medal (and one of only five African-American Marines to ever be awarded this medal). The award was received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Anderson, Sr., at Marine Barracks 8th & I, in Washington D.C. This event was also notable in that it indicated the Marine Corps was evolving and that some of the long-standing prejudices within the Corps (namely those against minority Marines) were being eroded.
In 1983, the United States Navy acquired the Danish merchant ship Emma Maersk under a long-term charter. The ship was placed in service under the direction of the Military Sealift Command and renamed USNS PFC James Anderson Jr in honor of PFC Anderson. USNS PFC James Anderson Jr. was subsequently based at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and carried equipment to support a Marine expeditionary brigade until 2009, when it was sold for scrapping.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, PFC Anderson’s medals and decorations include: the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, the Vietnamese Military Merit Medal, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
August 15, 2013
Written by: Collin Hoeferlin
—PFC James Anderson Jr. (USMC photo/released).
—USNS PFC James Anderson Jr.
(U.S. government photo/released).
The Marine barracks building in Beirut, Lebanon.
(USMC photo Courtesy of II MEF/released).
Marines Return Home from Lebanon
On August 23, 1984, the last Marines to serve on peace-keeping duty in Lebanon arrived back in Ameria. The 24th Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU) arrived off the coast of Lebanon on 9 April to relieve Marines of the 22nd MAU, who were guarding the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. The 24th MAU left Beirut on 31 July, marking the end of U.S. combat troops in Beirut for the first time since Marines had entered the city almost two years earlier.
“The Final Stand at Bladensburg,” by Colonel Charles Waterhouse, USMCR (Ret), depicts Marines, as part of Commodore Joshua Barney’s naval battalion, manning 12-pound guns at the Battle of Bladensburg, Md., 24 Aug. 1814.
Battle of Bladensburg
On August 24, 1814, Captain Samuel Miller led a detachment from Marine Barracks, Washington, in the Battle of Bladensburg in defense of the nation’s capital.
After fighting back three British charges, Captain Miller was wounded as British forces began to flank the Marines, forcing the Marines to retire to avoid capture. Eight Marines were killed and 14 were wounded.