Brief Look at Marine History

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Brief Look at Marine History

Post  Michael Garber on Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:51 pm

On 10 November 1775, the Continental Congress meeting in Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, PA, passed a resolution stating that "two Battalions of Marines be raised" for service as landing forces with the fleet. The Modern Marine Corps takes lineage from these two Battalions of Colonial Marines.The 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War and as the last of the Navy’s ships were sold, the Continental Navy and Marines disbanded.

The Marine Corps was formally re-established on 11 July 1798. Since then, the Marine Corps has fought at Santo Domingo, conducted operations against the Barbary pirates along the "Shores of Tripoli." Numerous engagements during the war of 1812, the Caribbean, the Falkland Islands, Sumatra and off the coast of West Africa, and close to home in operations against the Seminole Indians in Florida.

During the Mexican War, Marines seized enemy seaports on both the Gulf and Pacific coasts. While landing parties of Marines and Sailors were seizing enemy ports, a battalion of Marines joined General Winfield Scott’s army at Pueblo and marched and fought all the way to the "Halls of Montezuma," Mexico City. Marines also saw action, though limited in the American Civil War, and made multiple landings in the Caribbean islands.Following the Spanish-American War in 1898, Marines fought during the Philippine Insurrection, the Boxer Rebellion in China, in Nicaragua, Panama, The Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico and Haiti.

In World War I, Marines distinguished themselves on the battlefields of France, as the 4th Marine Brigade earned the title of "Devil Dogs" for actions at Belleau Wood, Soissons, St. Michiel, Blanc Mont and the final Muesse-Argonne offensive. Marine aviation, which began in 1912, was used for the first time in a close-air support role during WWI.

During the two decades before World War II, the Marine Corps began to more completely develop its doctrine and organization for amphibious warfare. The success of this effort was proven at Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Tarawa, New Britain, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

The Vietnam War proved to be the ultimate test of the Corps’ basing and deployment decisions of the 1950s and early 1960s. From the March 1965 landing of Marine ground troops as Da Nang until the departure of the last large Marine units in June 1971, the war impacted drastically on all Marine forces within and outside the III Marine Amphibious Force. By 1972 the Marine Corps was once again down to 200,000 men and post-Vietnam redeployments had returned the Corps to the same basing and deployment patterns that had been in effect from 1960 to 1965.

During the 1970s, the Marine Corps assumed an increasingly significant role in defending NATO’s northern flank as amphibious units of the 2nd Marine Division participated in exercises throughout northern Europe.

As it moved into the 1970s, the Marine Corps once again faced close scrutiny of its missions, force structure, and personnel policies. The Marine Corps continued to emphasize global strategic flexibility and reemphasized the Corps’ amphibious mission, developing the concept of “sea-basing,” which aimed at greatly increasing sea-borne logistic support. At the same time, FMF Atlantic launched its first time NATO exercise outside the Mediterranean when a Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU) conducted maneuvers in Norway and northern Germany in 1975. These exercises, which became annual and expanded to brigade size, and their underlying mission of preparing to assist in the defense of NATO’s Northern flank, represented the Marine Corps single most significant change in deployment patterns until the end of the decade.

Marines of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit were the first conventional forces into Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in November 2001. Since then Marine battalions and flying squadrons have been rotating through on seven month tours engaging leftover Taliban and Al Queda forces and also helping to rebuild the war torn country. U.S. Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit flooded into the Taliban-held town of Garmser April 29, 2008 , in Helmand province, in the first major American operation in the region in years.

Most recently, the Marines have served prominently in Operation Iraqi Freedom where a light, mobile force was and is especially needed. I MEF along with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division spearheaded the 2003 invasion of Iraq and perhaps most notably, the Marines spearheaded both assaults on the city of Fallujah in April and November 2004. For their performance during the invasion, the Marines of I MEF received the Presidential Unit Citation (US), the first time a Marine unit has received that award since 1968
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Michael Garber
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