Kentucky Marine

Kentucky Marine – Major General Logan Feland and the Making of the Modern USMC by David J. Bettez, Winner, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s Colonel Joseph Alexander Award

Always Faithful, but Forgotten to History

New book examines the life career of one of the most influential figures

BettezCompF.inddLexington, KY—Soldiers of the Sea serve with a quiet dignity that belies the extraordinary feats they accomplish. Major General Logan Feland, an influential and significant figure in the history of the United States Marine Corps, served his country and his Corps in a career that spanned the Spanish-American War, World War I, and the Nicaraguan Revolution, and which nearly concluded with an appointment as Commandant of the Marine Corps.

In Kentucky Marine: Major General Logan Feland and the Making of the Modern USMC, by David J. Bettez, now available in paperback, Feland has finally received the long-overdue biography brings this quiet, intelligent, acerbic, and brave strategist and technician to the attention of a new generation. Drawing on personal letters, contemporary news articles, official communications, and confidential correspondence, Bettez captures Feland as a transitional figure in Marine Corps history, reflecting its changing nature during the early twentieth century.

A native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Feland led a momentous life. His service coincided with the United States’ expansion as a global power, with territories and responsibilities around the world. In an expanding Marine Corps, which was often the tip of the spear in times of crisis, Feland became one of the USMC’s most highly ranked and regarded officers.

Decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroic actions during the battle of Belleau Wood in World War I, Feland was specially selected to command the hunt for rebel leader Augusto César Sandino during the Nicaraguan revolution from 1927 to 1929—an operation that helped to establish the Marines’ reputation in guerrilla warfare and search-and- capture missions. He was one of the first instructors in the USMC’s Advanced Base Force, which was the forerunner of the amphibious assault force mission the Marines adopted in World War II, and during his tenure as an officer, the Corps expanded exponentially in manpower, influence, and prestige. Yet, despite Feland’s role in the development of the modern Marine Corps, he has been largely ignored in the Despite failing to achieve the ultimate goal of Commandant, Major General Logan Feland could be proud of his service to the Corps and to his country. He had proved his bravery and his willingness to step into and succeed in leadership positions in the Corps. Had Feland been named Commandant of the Marine Corps in 1930 in place of Brigadier General Ben Fuller, Feland’s place in the storied history of the Marine Corps would have been assured. Kentucky Marine was named the winner of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Colonel Joseph Alexander Award.

David J. Bettez served as director of the Office of International Affairs at the University of Kentucky and is the author of Kentucky and the Great War: World War I on the Home Front.

Available at kentuckypress.com.

Semper Share:

Brief History of MCRD San Diego, 1914-1962

By Elmore A. Champie

The Marine Corps Base at San Diego is surrounded by evidences of the Spanish heritage of southern California. Among the more conspicuous are the euphonious place names found everywhere , including the name San Diego itself, and the picturesque architecture that may be seen, not only in the city, but also in the permanent buildings of the Marine Corps post. This is a natural consequence of the fact that California was a Spanish possession for nearly three centuries. The region was claimed for Spain in 1542 by Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo, a Portuguese navigator in the services of Charles V and the first white man to see San Diego Bay. It remained under Spanish control until 1821, when Mexico won her independence from Spain. Thereafter, for about a quarter of a century, California was claimed by Mexico.

Cpl. Beddoe flying over MCRD San Diego in a restored USMC Sikorsky UH-34D Helicopter
Cpl. Beddoe flying over MCRD San Diego in a restored USMC Sikorsky UH-34D Helicopter

Geography and the westward expansion of the United States now brought the Marines into their first contact with San Diego. The town was seized by a landing party of seamen and Marines from the USS Cyane on 29 July 1846, shortly after war had broken out between the United States and Mexico. It was in this operation that the Stars and Stripes was first raised in southern California. Marines were also among the reinforcements sent early the following December to assist Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearny, USA, and his dragoons in completing the final portion of their march from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to San Diego/ Despite the harassment of Andres Pico’s lancers, Kearny succeeded in reaching San Diego on 12 December 1846. Hostilities in the California theater of operations ceased about a month later; and when the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo formally ended the war in 1848, Mexico ceded to the United States a large block of territory that included California.

Geography – an important element, as we have noted, in the foregoing events – has been a constant factor in the working out of San Diego’s destiny with respect to the Marine Corps. Only 12 miles north of the Mexican border and possessed of an excellent harbor, the city readily recommended itself to the strategic eye as an expeditionary base on the west coast when the need for such a base became evident in the early twentieth century. San Diego was not only convenient to the Pacific approaches of Latin America, where it was apparent that trouble could be expected at intervals, but it could also serve advantageously as a port of embarkation for Hawaii and the Par East* Concrete action toward establishing a base there, however, awaited some precipitating event. Mexican political Instability was to provide the catalyst that returned the Marines to San Diego for the first time since the Mexican War and subsequently caused a permanent Marine Corps post to be established there.

CLICK PDF to read the entire history:

mcrdsd_history

Semper Share:

Take a Virtual Tour of the Marine Corps Museum

Welcome to the National Museum of the Marine Corps Virtual Experience! This rich, interactive virtual environment will serve as the gateway for Marines and visitors from all around the world to see the museum regardless of their location. Explore the U.S. Marine Corps’ proud heritage from your desktop…marvel at the Marine aircraft suspended throughout the Leatherneck Gallery; experience bootcamp as a new recruit; watch historic footage of Marines landing on Iwo Jima; and much, much more.

mcmvt

Semper Share:

Map of the Vietnam War

THIS IS A FULL Collection of 4 pages of FIRE BASES, AIR FORCE BASES, Naval and Medical, BROWN WATER Naval, and any and all bases DOD during the Vietnam War 1963 to 1975

Great link for in-country Vietnam vets, or those curious about the Vietnam War… Thanks to Ed Creamer, Col Wayne Morris USMC (Ret) and LT Don Tyson USN (Ret) for sharing.

Locations included in map:

Phu My
Rach Gia
Tan An
Cao Lanh
Cai Lay
Dai Loc
Quang Ngai
An Khe
Phu Cat
My Lai
An Loc
Loc Ninh
Phuoc Vinh
Trang Bang
Cu Chi
Dat Do
Phuoc Le
Cam My
Gia Ray
Tri Tam
Lai Khe
Ben Cat
Duc Pho
Bong Son
MRB
YRBM 20
Seafloat
YRBM 20
DAO
CMAC (Le Van Duyet)
PTF Base
Camp Tien Sha
Camp Fey
Phu Lam (USASTRATCOM)
Monkey Mountain
Blackhorse Base Camp
LZ Katum
90th Replacement Battalion
Camp Alpha
7th Airforce HQ
Air America Terminal
AFRTS
USO
US Embassy Annex
US Embassy
FSB A-5
FSB A-6
Cam Lo
LZ Russell
LZ Brillo Pad
OP Hill
LZ Alamo
LZ Blackfoot (Hill 1018)
LZ Swinger
LZ Cider
LZ Mile High
LZ Roberts
LZ Chu Pa
FSB Ban Me Thout
FSB Gray
LZ Lima Zulu
8 Inch Hill
Duster Hill
Pump Station 6
Golf Course
Hon Cong Mountain
LZ Goat
LZ Flexer
Pump Station 8
Pump Station 10
FSB McNerney
Pump Station 9
French Fort
LZ Hardcore
LZ Charlie Brown
Mai Loc
Song Mao
FSB Tuy Hoa
Riverboat South
III Marine Amphibious Force HQ (Camp Horn)
LZ Young
Hill 14
Hill 110
LZ Bols
Tam Ky Airfield
LZ Sheryl
FSB Arsenal
Sin City
FSB Bradley
LZ Erskine
LZ Cunningham
LZ Razor
LZ Shiloh
LCU Ramp
Frank Doezema Compound (MACV)
Tun Tavern
LZ Smith
FSB Barbara
Firebase Airborne
Qui Nhon Port Facility
Coastal Division 16 Pier
DeLong Piers
Coastal Division 14 HQ
Naval Support Facility
NAVSUPPACT Det. Qui Nhon
LZ Colt
LZ Sparrow Knob
Hill 10
Hill 69
Camp Hockmuth
Chu Lai Harbor
Americal (23rd Inf) Div HQ
Gia Ray
Xuan Loc
Cam Ranh Port
China Beach
Hill 327
Hill 34
Hill 55
Con Thien
MACV HQ
Ha Tien
Hill 861
Hill 1015
Hill 950
Hill 881N
Hill 881S
Khe Sanh
Fire Support Base Alpine
Newport Terminal
FSB Tango
Chau Doc MACV
Nui Sam
ATSB Tinh Bien
Hill 664
Solid Anchor (Nam Cam Base)
Rach Soi
Binh Thuy
Crum Compound
FSB Rach Kien
FSB Tan Tru (Scott)
Tigers Lair
LZ Phoenix
LZ Cindy
LZ Manchester
LZ Pleasantville
LZ Mildred
Hill 497
FSB Carolyn
LZ Pineapple
FSB Bludgeon
Hill 707
Hill 410
Hill 270
Hill 76
LZ Hurricane
LZ Artillery Hill
LZ Bayonet West
LZ Chippewa
LZ Ann
LZ Paradise
LZ Clifford
LZ Bowman
LZ Fat City
Cau Ha
LZ Nancy
LZ Crook
LZ Columbus
LZ Victor
LZ Xray
LZ Albany
LZ Golf
LZ Mary
LZ Two Bits
LZ English
LZ Orange
LZ Easton
LZ Uplift
Camp Addison
Camp Radcliff
LZ Pluto
LZ BanMeThout East (LZ Gray)
LZ Lonely
LZ Athena
LZ Weigt-Davis
LZ Jean
LZ Jackson Hole
LZ Joan
LZ Vera
LZ Oasis
LZ Blackhawk
LZ Action
LZ Schueller
LZDiamondhead
LZ Jenny
Camp Fidel
LZ Linda
LZ Crystal
LZ Hammond
LZ Jupiter
FSB 16
LZ Hardtimes
LZ Pony
Fire Support Base 15
Fire Support Base 12
Fire Support Base 13
Camp Enari
Fire Support Base 5
Fire Support Base 6
LZ Rawhide
FSB Sledge
Firebase Rakkassan
Firebase Bastogne
Firebase Henderson
Firebase O’Reilly
Firebase Ripcord
Firebase Barnett
Firebase Maureen
Firebase Jerome
Firebase Langley
Firebase Rifle
Vandergrift (LZ Stud)
Firebase Sarge
Firebase Tomahawk
Firebase Birmingham
Firebase Veghel
Firebase Thor
Firebase Lash
Firebase Spear
Firebase Blitz
Firebase Brick
Firbase Normandy
Firebase Checkmate
Firebase Satan II
Firebase Fist
Firebase Tennessee
Firebase Falcon
Firebase Strike
Firebase Nuts
Firebase Gladiator
Firebase Kathryn
Firebase Jack
Camp Carroll
Firebase Blaze
Firebase EaglesNest
LZ Sally
Camp Eagle
Camp Evans
LZ Betty (Currahee)
FSB Currahee
FSB Rendezvous
LZ Ross
LZ West
Hill 37
LZ Ryder
LZ Professional
The Rockpile
Marble Mountain
LZ Dove
LZ Bluejay
LZ Crow
LZ Sheppard
LZ Snapper
LZ Temnora
LZ Victory
LZ Mellon (Location???)
LZ Fox
LZ Geronimo
LZ Thunder Mountain
LZ Tempest
LZ Bingo
LZ Bass
LZ Thunder
LZ Bunker Hill
LZ Irma Jay
LZ Mary Lou
LZ Lane
FSB Miller (Phu Nhon Airfield)
LZ Lowboy
LZ Bird
OP1
FSB 4-11
LZ Stinson (Buff)
LZ Uptight
LZ Dottie
LZ Gator
LZ Bayonet
LZ Baldy
LZ Center
LZ Siberia
LZ East
Hill 54
LZ Maryann
LZ No Slack
LZ Bronco
FSB Moore
Dong Tam
FSB Camp Panther
Long Binh
FSB Danger
FSB Dirk/Schroeder
Phu Loi
Cu Chi Base
LZ Phan Thiet
Lai Khe
Black Virgin Mountain (Nui Ba Den)
Camp Holloway
Quang Loi (LZ Andy)
Bear Cat
LZ Austin
LZ Kelly
Thunder III
LZ Thunder I
LZ Thunder II
LZ Jo
LZ Dolly
LZ Grant
LZ Jamie
LZ Jake
LZ Diana
LZ Rita
LZ Tina
LZ Vicki
LZ Becky
LZ Christine
LZ Ike
Tay Ninh West
LZ Ann
LZ Barbara
LZ Ann
LZ Crook
National Assembly
Soldiers Monument
Presidential Palace
Saigon
Notre Dame Catholic Church
Magestic
Rex
Hotel de Ville
Grand
Caravelle
Continental Palace
SOG CCC (FOB2)
B-24
SOG CCN
MACV SOG CCS
SOG FOB Phu Bai
Phuoc Vinh
Plei Mrong
Sledgehammer
Ban Me Thuot
Buon Ho
Cheo Reo
DODO Camp (Paradise Island)
Polei Krong
Polie Kleng
Binh Khe
5th Special Forces Group HQ
A Shau
Trung Dung
Bien Hoa
Song Be
Dong Xoai
Bu Prang
Bu Dop
Bu Ghia Map
Duc Phong
Nhon Co
Ban Don
Tra Bong
Mang Buk
Duc Co
Tieu Atar
Duc Lap
Plei Me
Plei Djereng
Ben Het
Leghorn
Dak Pek
Dak Seang
Chi Lang
Ba Xoai
Ba To
Minh Long
Gia Vuc
Chuong Nghia
Lang Vei
Moc Hoa
Ban Me Thuot East
Djamap
Long Thanh North
Nakhon Phanom
Bac Lieu
Quang Long Airfield
Tuy Hoa North
Tuy Hoa
Qui Nhon Airfield
Phu Bai Airfield
Ky Ha Marine Air Facility
Sandford
Marble Mountain Airbase
Cam Ranh Bay Air Force Base
Phan Thiet Airfield
Tan Son Nhut
Bien Hoa
Tan Tich
Tan An
Vinh Long
Can Tho
Vung Tau
Dau Tieng
Chu Lai Airfield
Da Nang
Nha Trang
Pleiku Airbase
Dak To
Dalat Cam Ly
Quang Tri
Dong Ha
An Hoa
Bu Krak
Phu Cat Airbase
Lane Army Helipad
Phan Rang
Gia Nghia
Camp Coryell
Bao Loc
An Khe Arifield
Kontum Air Field
8th Field Hospital
36th Evacuation Hospital
85th Evacuation Hospital
27th Surgical Hospital
USS Sanctuary
93rd Evacuation Hospital
24th Evacuation Hospital
AFV HQ (Free World Building)
1st Australian Field Hospital
1st Australian Logistics Support Group
FSPB Coral
FSB Spear
FSB Andrea
FSB Carmen
FSB Isa
FSB Serle
FSB Horseshoe
FSB Bridge
FSB Cherring
FSB Thrust
FSB Arrow
Nui Dat
Ba Long Valley
An Lao
An Lao Valley
Plain of Reeds
A Shau Valley
Charlie Ridge
Happy Valley
Phu Nhon
Worth Ridge
Elephant Valley
Ban Me Thuot
Que Son Valley
An Khe Pass
Plei Trap Valley
Bong Son Plain
Hill 441
Hill 947
Hip Duc Valley
Operation Desoto Jan 27-30 ’67
Antenna Valley Operation Essex Nov 7-16 ’67
Operation Swift Sep 10-15 ’67
Operation Swift Sep 4-10 ’67
Operation Hastings Jul 18-30 ’66
Hill 937
Hill 724
Hill 823
Hill 1338
Ngok Kom Leat
Hill 830
Hill 882
Hill 889
Hill 875
Happy Valley
Ia Drang Valley
South Ambush
Crow’s Foot
Arizona Territory
Operation Shenandoah II
Iron Traingle
Dodge City
Battle of Phu Dong 05/16/68
Go Noi Island
Ruong Ruong
Kham Duc
173rd Drop Zone – Operation Junction

Semper Share:

The History of HMM-163’s “Evil Eyes”

By Norm Urban

HMM-163, to my knowledge, is, and has been, the ONLY U.S. Marine helicopter squadron that has distinguished itself for almost 40 years, using a non-standard, nonregulation, unofficial paint scheme. evil-eyesIn Viet Nam, at least in 1966, most other Marine Sikorsky H-34 squadrons painted the transmission hump a specific color. But HMM-163’s were Marine green, with the “Evil Eyes” on the engine clamshell nose doors. This started while I was there, in January 1966. Soon, some Marines in the field were requesting support from the “Evil Eyes” choppers. Today, “Evil Eyes” are STILL painted on the nose of HMM-163’s Boeing H-46s.

Who did it? Who was the first? Why? How did it spread to all the squadron birds? How was it approved by the Group (MAG 16), and the Wing (1st MAW)? How has it survived through different groups and wings for almost four decades?

Today’s HMM-163 Boeing H-46 with “Evil Eyes” on nose
Today’s HMM-163 Boeing H-46 with “Evil Eyes” on nose

The H-34s at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, and the Leatherneck Aviation Museum at MCAS Miramar, are painted in HMM-163 colors, one with “Evil Eyes” on the nose, so clearly, it’s a significant question.

From February to October 1965, The HMM-163 “Ridgerunners” helicopter squadron became rather famous for it’s operations in Viet Nam. This was primarily due to a LIFE magazine cover story that appeared in the April 16, 1965 issue. The story, with photography by Mike Burrows, documented the combat death of Marine H-34 pilot, 1/Lt, James E. Magel and the rescue of wounded and paralyzed 1/Lt. Dale Eddy, while on a strike mission transporting South Vietnamese troops. For most U.S. citizens, this was the first time they were made aware of the extent of America’s involvement in Viet Nam.

April 16, 1965 LIFE magazine cover showing wounded 1/Lt Dale Eddy and Crew Chief James Farley

Later, in October 1965, HMM-163 relocated to the Marine Corps Air Station at Futema, Okinawa. LtCol Charles A. House replaced LtCol Norman G. Ewers as the new commanding officer. Since all the squadron personnel had finished their tour in Viet Nam, virtually all pilots and enlisted Marines were new replacements from other squadrons and bases. It was clear to LtCol House, and many in this composite squadron, that we needed to shake off the Life Magazine image, and begin jelling as a new unit.

And there wasn’t much time! The squadron was scheduled to return to Phu Bai, Vietnam in three months, on Jan 1, 1966.

One day, late in October ’65, Capt. Al Barbe, 1/lt Duel “Chris” Christian, and an unknown third officer, were discussing this need for unit cohesion symbol, when the Commanding Officer, LtCol House happened to join them. They tossed about various ideas to develop and build morale and espirit d’ corps. Suddenly, Al Barbe said, “I’ve got it!”

Al Barbe, HMM-163’s Intelligence Officer (S-2), was an experienced pilot who had left the Marine Corps to fly H-34s for Air America in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia for some time before re-joining the USMC and the squadron. He had married a Thai bride, had a home in Thailand, and was well versed in the SE Asian culture. Barbe suggested that two things upsetting to Orientals were evil spirits and being watched. This led to his idea of painting eyes on the clamshell nose doors of HMM-163’s Sikorsky H-34 helicopters.

After drawing a basic design, they presented the idea to LtCol House, who liked the concept and approved it immediately. Stencils were created and tested on one H-34, while still on Okinawa.

On January 1, 1966, HMM-163 flew by C-130 to Phu Bai, Viet Nam, relieving HMM-161 And taking over their H-34 helicopters. Painting of what were then called “Genie Eyes” (after the “I Dream of Jeannie” TV show), began immediately.

Painting the “Genie Eyes” for the first time. January 1966. Photo by Ted Mayberry
Painting the “Genie Eyes” for the first time. January 1966. Photo by Ted Mayberry

By March ’66, HMM-163’s “Genie Eyes” were being called “Evil Eyes” by ground Marines and squadron members. In August or September 1966, orders came from Wing to eliminate white paint on Marine helicopters. So the “MARINES” on the aft fuselage was changed from white to black, and other white markings, including the “star and bars” U.S. insignia, were to be eliminated or toned down. However, HMM-163 was now aboard a carrier off the coast, and used the excuse that they were therefore not directly under Wing command, so the “Evil Eyes” remained white. HMM-163 H-34 med-evac.

Note “Star and Bars” painted over with spray paint and white eyes
Note “Star and Bars” painted over with spray paint and white eyes

In October 1966, the squadron once again returned to Phu Bai, Viet Nam, still with black and white “Evil Eyes”. LtCol Otto Bianchi, now Commanding Officer, was a good friend of Major General Louis B. Robertshaw, First Marine Aircraft Wing Commander. Nevertheless, when Robertshaw, on a visit to Phu Bai, saw the “Evil Eyes”, he began to read Bianchi the riot act. However, also in the room, was the Marine General commanding the ground Marines in the area. He interrupted to say that; “It sure is great to have the “Evil Eyes” back here at Phu Bai!” Robertshaw relented and the “Evil Eyes” remained.

And have remained, ever since! Today “Evil Eyes” is the squadron logo, identity, trademark, and even radio call sign.

The above information has been collected from personal memories, interviews with HMM-163 veterans and internet sources. Any clarifications, additional information or corrections would be appreciated.

Norm Urban
nurban@adelphia.net

Semper Share:

The War of 1812

Battles at Sea and on Lakes
The Marines’ participation in the War of 1812 was both on land and aboard vessels sailing the high seas and lakes. In four major sea battles, Marines helped win three, and earned a reputation for deadly marksmanship.

In September 1813, Marines and woodsmen fought with Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s fleet that defeated the British in the bloody Battle of Lake Erie. This battle ended British and Indian attacks on the frontier, and opened the Northwest for American expansion.

Two hundred Marines fought during the crucial battle of the war. A Navy/Marine force met the lead elements of the Duke of Wellington’s 28,000 man British Army, fresh from victory over Napoleon at Waterloo, and defeated them on Lake Champlain.

Marines also fought on land, most notably at Bladensburg, Maryland, and at New Orleans.

The Battle of Bladensburg
In August of 1814, at Bladensburg, Maryland about 13 miles from our nation’s capital, 103 Marines and 400 sailors made a vain attempt to block a force of 4,000 disciplined British troops from advancing on Washington. The Marines stopped three headlong charges before both their Commanders (a Navy Commodore and a Marine Captain) were wounded and captured.

They were finally outflanked and driven back. The Commanding Officer of the British reported, “They have given us our only real fight.”

Andrew Jackson at New Orleans
Nine thousand British troops sailed from Jamaica and landed near New Orleans. An occupation force of Navy and Marines skirmished with the British in the bayous, killing 300 British and buying nine days for Major General Andrew Jackson to organize a defense of the city. For almost two weeks, beginning on 28 December 1814, the British shelled and assaulted the American position.

General Andrew Jackson
General Andrew Jackson

On 8 January 1815, an over-confident British commander led two regiments in a frontal assault across a flat plain into Jackson’s lines. 2,100 British were shot down in twenty-five minutes. The next day the British left American shores, badly beaten. Major General Jackson commended the Marines for their conduct and heroism, as did Congress, by passing an official resolution commending the “high sense of valor and good conduct” of the Marines.

Semper Share:

The Barbary Pirates War

For centuries, the inhabitants of present-day North Africa had made their living by extorting tributes from maritime countries that crossed the Mediterranean Sea.

Most European countries accepted this arrangement as a cost of doing business, and paid the tributes. The Federal Government of the new American nation did not have the deep pockets that their European counterparts did. Thus, they balked at paying what they considered exorbitant tributes to maintain free trade.

In 1801 the ruler of Tripoli declared war on the United States because of our refusal to pay extortion money for the protection of the United States ships sailing in the Mediterranean Sea. The U.S. re-created a Navy, and once again, the Marines were aboard.

Lt Presley O'Bannon at Derna by Col. Charles Waterhouse
Lt Presley O’Bannon at Derna by Col. Charles Waterhouse

The new Frigate Philadelphia, during blockade duty in Tripoli Harbor, was unlucky (or ill-captained) and ran aground in the harbor, and was captured by the Bashaw of Tripoli, one Yusuf Karamanli. Her crew of approximately 300 officers and men was captured and held for ransom.

A force of sailors and Marines, under the command of Navy Lieutenant Steven Decatur, snuck aboard the Philadelphia and, under the very guns of the fort in Tripoli Harbor, burned her to the waterline, to deny her use to the Tripolitanians. No lesser a person than Lord Horatio Nelson himself praised this action as the “most bold and daring act of the age. This still left the captured crew as a pawn for the Bashaw to use to extort tribute from the United States.

Attack on Derna, Tripoli
In 1805, with the blockade of Tripoli Harbor dragging on, President Jefferson authorized a former envoy to Tunis named William Eaton to attempt an overland attack from Egypt to try to pressure the Bashaw into releasing the hostages.

He was accompanied by a Marine Guard of 7 men under the command of Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon.

They supported the Bashaw’s brother, Prince Hamet, who Yusuf had forcibly deposed, in his bid to regain his throne, and gain the release of the Philadelphia hostages.

The Marines, with 400 of a mixture of European and Arabic mercenaries, and a few of Prince Hamet’s men, crossed 600-miles of Libyan Desert to attack the city.

Along the way, though vastly outnumbered, the Marines would stand by Eaton and Hamet during numerous small “mutinies” staged by the mercenaries to try to extort more money from Eaton.

Eaton’s first stage in the expedition was to attack and seize Derna, a seaport between him and Tripoli. This would give him a base to rest and re-supply with goods from the US Navy.

During the attack, the Marines would fight hand to hand in the city, while the navy bombarded the city from the harbor.

When the city surrendered, the Marines would raise the “Stars and Stripes” over the captured fortress, the first time the American flag was raised in the Old World.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, diplomatic maneuvering (and a reduced amount of tribute) had secured the release of the Philadelphia hostages, so Eaton and the Marines were evacuated from Derna to Navy ships, and the overland expedition came to an end no closer to Tripoli.

Despite never having been returned to his throne, as a token of gratitude, Prince Hamet presented his own Mameluke sword to Lieutenant O’Bannon. A replica of that sword was adopted for use and carried by all Marine Officers. The Mameluke Sword is the oldest weapon still in use today by any of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Lt Presley O’Bannon’s attack on Derna was commemorated by the phrase “To the Shores of Tripoli,” inscribed on the Marine Corps’ Battle Colors.

With the defeat of Tripoli, America would see very few years of peace before again having to defend her shores. As always, the United States Marine Corps would rise to the defense of our country.

Semper Share:

First Amphibious Landing

The attack on New Providence, Bahamas was led by Captain Samuel Nicholas and was the first amphibious raid in the history of the Marine Corps. It was done to support General Washington’s new army.

General Washington did not have the minimum amounts of ammunition needed to mount an attack on Trenton against the British. Eight vessels under the command of Commodore Esek Hopkins set out with a battalion of Marines, commanded by Captain Samuel Nicholas, for the British colony. The forts located at New Providence were known to have a large quantity of badly needed gunpowder.

Courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Marine_Corps
Courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Marine_Corps

Landing on 3 March 1776 the Marines made the first amphibious assault, taking the British defenders completely by surprise. The British withdrew from Fort Montague and the Marines captured the fort without firing a shot. Unfortunately, the British had moved the majority of the gunpowder to their main fort at Nassau. The Marines spent the night at Fort Montague; confident the next morning would bring a great victory.

During the night the British governor evacuated most of Fort Nassau’s gunpowder by ship to avoid capture by the Marines. The morning of the fourth, Nicholas demanded and received from the governor of New Providence, the surrender of the fort. The fortress yielded only twenty-four barrels of gunpowder, which was a disappointment to the victorious Marines. However, the Marines stripped the island of cannon and ordnance supplies before departing.

The expedition to New Providence was not over for the Marines. On their way home Commodore Hopkins’s squadron fell under attack with a British frigate.

In the ensuing battle, Marine sharpshooters fired their weapons from the ships riggings and masts, killing many British sailors.

The British frigate broke off the engagement and headed for home. Seven Marines died in the action, becoming the first of many Marines who would die in the fight for independence.

Semper Share:

Birth of the Marine Corps

When the Revolutionary War began, a debate ensued regarding the need for a Navy. One reason the colonies went to war with England was over the issue of taxation without representation. In order to fund a Navy, the newly formed “federal” government would need to raise money. Many colonies were apposed to such matters, but as the war progressed, a need for a Navy to stop British supply lines increased. Therefore, in October of 1775, the 2nd Continental Congress formed a Navy. Eight merchant ships in the Philadelphia Harbor were converted and outfitted with guns and officially became ships of the United States.

With the newly formed Navy, Congress now discussed the need for a Marine Corps. The British still had the strongest Navy and as previously discussed had a Marine Corps. In turn, Congress determined that the small American Navy too needed a Marine Corps. On 10 November 1775, Congress passed that two battalions of Marines be raised and to this date Marines around the globe meet on 10 November to celebrate the birth of the Corps.

First Commandant
With the formation of the Corps, the 2nd Continental Congress commissioned Samuel Nicholas, a Philadelphia merchant, as a Captain. As the senior Marine, Nicholas was ordered to raise the required number of Marines to form the two battalions. Although never officially called “commandant”, Nicholas is considered the first traditional Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Birthplace of The Marine Corps
Nicholas went throughout Philadelphia recruiting for his two battalions. It was difficult, however, to find individuals with a maritime background that wanted to serve. There was one particular venue, however, where 100 Rhode Island maritime men were recruited. This would be at the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia. Tun Tavern is now
recognized as the birthplace of the Marine Corps and was later established as the recruiting Headquarters of the newly formed Marine Corps.

Tun Tavern, Philadelphia
Tun Tavern, Philadelphia

The owner of Tun Tavern, and a close personal friend of Samuel Nicholas, was Robert Mullen. Mullen was so successful in his recruiting exploits at Tun Tavern; he was commissioned a captain in the Marine Corps and is now known as the first recruiter in the history of our Corps.

Leatherneck
The Marines long-standing nickname “Leatherneck,” goes back to the leather collar, or
neckpiece, which was worn from 1775 to 1875, was intended to ensure the Marines kept their heads erect, and to protect their necks from sword slashes. The high collar on the blue dress uniforms commemorates it today.

Quatrefoil
The quatrefoil (cross-shaped braid atop officer frame-type “barracks” covers) has been worn ever since 1859. The design, of French origin, is a distinguishing part of the Marine Officer’s uniform. Popular belief is that in the mid-1800’s, crossed pieces of rope were sewn to the top of officer’s covers so that sharpshooters in the ship’s riggings could readily identify them.

Semper Share: