Archive for August, 2015

The Marine Division Lands on Guadalcanal- 7 August 1942

August 7, 2015
73 years ago today the 1st Marine Division landed on Guadalcanal – the first step on the long road to victory over The Empire of Japan in World War II.    And in honor of this pivotal event in the glorious history of our Beloved Corps of Marines and Grand Republic, I thought it only fitting that we take a moment and look back at the way it was. . .
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II  Landing

FRIDAY, AUGUST 7

It was no trouble to get up at four o’clock this morning, without benefit of alarm clock, for my mind had been trained for this day for a long time.

Everyone was calm at breakfast.  We knew we must be very near our objective by this time, probably at the moment passing directly under the Jap shore guns.  And the fact that we had got this far without any action made us feel strangely secure, as if getting up at four o’clock in the morning and preparing to force a landing on the enemy shore were the perfectly normal things to do of an August morning in the South Seas.  We had a heavy breakfast and passed a normally humorous conversation.

Up on the deck the situation was the same.  Everyone seemed ready to jump at the first boom of a gun, but there was little excitement.  The thing that was happening was so unbelievable that it seemed like a dream.  We were slipping through the narrow neck of water between Guadalcanal and Savo Islands; we were practically inside Tulagi Bay, almost past the Jap shore batteries, and not a shot had been fired.

On the deck Marines lined the starboard rail, and strained their eyes and pointed their field glasses toward the high, irregular dark mass that lay beyond the sheen of the water, beyond the silently moving shapes that were our accompanying ships.  The land mass was Guadalcanal Island.  The sky was dark; there was yet no pre-dawn glow, but the rugged black mountains were quite distinct against the lighter sky.

There was not much talking among the usually vivacious Marines.  The only sounds were the swish of water around our ship, the slight noises of men moving about on the forward deck.

Up on the bridge I found the ship’s officers less calm than the Marines.  Theirs was the worry of getting the ship to anchorage without her being sunk, and they seemed high-strung and incredulous.

“I can’t believe it,” one lieutenant said to me.  “I wonder is the Japs can be that dumb.  Either they’re very dumb, or it’s a “trick.”

But there is no sign of any tricks as we plowed on into the bay, and the sky began to throw light ahead of us, and we could see even the misty outline of Tulagi and the Florida group of islands squatting to the east and north.

Now the rugged mass of Guadalcanal Island, on our right (to the south), was growing more distinct, and the sharp shoulders of the high mountains could be seen.  But there was no sign of any firing from shore, nor were any enemy planes spotted.

Suddenly, from the bridge, I saw a brilliant yellow-green flash of light coming from the gray shape of a cruiser on our starboard bow.  I saw the red pencil-lines of the shells arching through the sky, saw flashes on the dark shore of Guadalcanal where they struck.  A second later I heard the b-rroom-boom of the cannonading.  I should have been ready for that, but was nervous enough, so that I jumped at the sound.

Our naval barrage, which was to pave the way for our landing, had begun.  I looked at my watch.  The time was 6:14.

Two minutes later, a cruiser astern and to our starboard side began firing.  There were the same greenish-yellow flashes as the salvo went off, the same red rockets arching across the sky, geysers of red fires where the shells struck shore, a terrifying rumble and boom of the explosion.

Now, fore and aft, the two cruisers were hurling salvo after salvo into the Guadalcanal shore.  It was fascinating to watch the apparent slowness with which the shells, their paths marked out against the sky in red fire, curved through the air.  Distance, of course, caused that apparent slowness.  But the concussion of the firing shook the deck of our ship and stirred our trousers legs with sudden gusts of wind, despite the distance.

At 6:17, straight, slim lines of tracer bullets, a sheaf of them, showered from the bay in toward the shore, and simultaneously we heard the sound of plane motors.  Our planes were strafing, we knew, though in the half-light we could not make out the shapes of the aircraft.

Then there were more showers and sheafs of tracers needling into the dark land-mass, and we could see the red lines forming into shallow V’s, as, after they struck into their targets, they ricocheted off into the hills.

A moment later my heart skipped a beat as I saw red showers of machine-gun tracers coming from low on the shore and apparently shooting seaward at an angle toward our ships.  Was this the answering fire of the Japs?  Was heavier firing going to follow?  Was this the beginning of the fireworks?

The answer was clear.  When the firing was repeated a few seconds later, it looked more like ricochet than it had before.

Whatever the firing was, it stopped shortly after that, and from then on, there was no visible Jap resistance.

At 6:19 another cruiser, dead ahead of us, began firing.  A moment later other warships joined, and the flash of their firing, and the arcs of their flying shells, illumined the sky over a wide span ahead.

Other ships of our force – the group under General Rupertus – had turned to the left toward Tulagi, and there were the heavy reports of cannonading coming from them now.

At 6:28, I noticed a brilliant white spot of fire on the water ahead, and watched fascinated, wondering what it was, while it burgeoned into a spreading sheet of red flame.  Planes were moving back and forth like flies over the spot.

“It’s a Jap ship,” said the ship’s officer standing next to me.  His field glasses were leveled on the flames.  “Planes did it,” he said.  “They were strafing.”

Now the sheet of red flame was creeping out into a long, thin line, and then it was mounting higher and higher into a sort of low-slung, fiery pyramid.  For long minutes we watched the flames while the din of our thundering naval guns increased and reached a climax around us.

Ahead of us, to the left of still brightly burning Jap ship, I saw a bright, white pinpoint of light blink into existence.  It was a masthead light riding atop the Australian cruiser which had led our procession into the bay.  (The Canberra, sunk in subsequent naval action in the Solomon Islands area.)

Our ship was still moving forward, however, and the flaming ship ahead was growing nearer.  In the light of the red-orange flames we could see that it was not a large ship, and that it was low in the water.  Possibly it was 120 feet long.  “What kind of ship its it?”  I asked a deck officer.

“They say it’s a torpedo boat,” he said.  But it was in fact a schooner which had been carrying a load of oil and gasoline – whence the flames.

Our dive-bombers were swooping low over the beach.  In the growing daylight you could see the color of the explosions where bombs were landing.  Some, which struck at the edge of the water, had a bluish tinge.  Others, hitting farther back in the sand and earth, were darker.

As the planes dived, they were strafing.  The incandescent lines of their tracers struck into the ground, then bent back ricocheting toward the sky to form the now-familiar shallow V.

Or ship and one other, the vanguard of the transport fleet, slowed and stopped.  Immediately, the davits began to clank and the boats were lowered away.  There were a hubbub of shouts and the sound of many men moving about the ship.  On the forward deck, a donkey engine began to chuff and puff.  It was time for the beginning of our landing adventure.

It was daylight, but ahead the mass of flames that was the burning Jap boat glowed as brightly as in the dark of night.  There were new explosions, as we watched, within the fire – probably gasoline tanks.  A burning oil slick spread across the water astern of the boat.  And the thought crossed my mind that if there had been anyone alive aboard that ship, he certainly was not alive now.

Our ship and the other transports had swung bow-in toward Guadalcanal, and landing boats were in the water.  More were on the way down to the tune of clinking davits.  All around us, we could hear the muffled thrumming of engines; boats were cutting in and out at every angle, circling, sliding close alongside.  It was cheering to see that each boat carried a small American flag at the stern.

Troops, a mass of moving green uniforms, jammed the forward deck.  A sailor leaned over the rail with a signal flag, beckoning landing boats to come up beside the rope nets that served as dismounting ladders.  There was something peaceful about the bustle of activity.  For a moment one almost forgot about the Japs who might be waiting on shore with machine guns and artillery to blast us out of the water as we came in for a landing.

Our accompanying cruisers, which had stopped firing for a few moments, were opening up again.  One, lying astern and to our starboard side, was sending salvo after salvo into a dark point of land.  A column of dense black smoke was rising from the spot where the shells were landing.  And as we watched, the base of column glowed red and orange, and the boom of a distant explosion came to us.

We knew a gasoline or oil dump had been hit, because the red flames continued to soar at the base of the smoke column, and from time to time there were new explosions, so that the flames leaped momentarily higher into the sooty black smoke.

I walked among the troops gathered on the forward deck, and found them silent and nervous – a contrast to the gaiety and song  which had filled the few preceding days.  There did not seem to be much to say, although a few lads came up with the inevitable, “Well, this is it.”

The first of our Marines clambered over the rail and swung down the rope nets into the boats.  The boats pulled away and more came up, and the seeping waterfall of Marines continued to slide over the side.

I got the word that it was time for me to debark.  I took one last look around the ship.  Toward Guadalcanal shore, I could see the cruisers still pasting shells into the landscape.  On the point of land [Kukum] where the bombardment had set afire a fuel dump, there was a new fire now:  two columns of smoke instead of one.  From Tulagi-way, across the bay, one could hear the sounds of heavy cannonading.  The landing must be going ahead there.

It was just eight o’clock when I hit the deck of bobbing landing boat.  Colonel Hunt and his staff officers were already aboard.  This was to be a “free” boat; the colonel could take it ashore at any time he pleased.  He might go in after the first landing wave, and, at any rate, we would not be later than the fifth wave.

At 8:06, a covering screen of fighter planes appeared and flew low over the fleet of transports.  They shuttled back and forth overhead, weaving a protective net in the sky.

For a long time our landing boat circled astern of our ship, while we sat on the bottom, keeping our heads below the gunwale in the approved fashion.

At 8:34, the navy coxswain swung our boat around and we headed for the shore.  We were moving slowly, however, throttled back.

Kneeling so that I could look over the gunwale, I saw that our warships close to Guadalcanal shore had ceased firing for the time being, though from the north, Tulagi-way, came the sound of heavy cannonading.

Ay 9:02 our boat was moving toward the beach at full throttle when the line of cruisers and destroyers ahead of us began a terrific bombardment of the shore.  This, we knew, was the “softener” which would, we hoped, sweep the beach clean of any Japanese machine-gun or artillery emplacements, and make our landing easier.

Scores of naval guns blasted simultaneously into the shore.  The din of their firing was intense.  Sheets of yellow flame welled from the gun-barrels up and down the line, and along the beach a line of blue and black geysers leaped up where the shells were striking.

At 9:05 the intense bombardment on the shore was ending.  A haze of dirty black smoke hung over the edge of the land.  And we were heading straight for it.

We followed, not too distantly, the first wave of landing boats, which we could see as an irregular line of moving white spots against the blue water, each spot dotted at the center with black.  The white spots, we knew, were form; the black, the boats themselves, making maximum speed toward shore.

We could not see the boats strike shore; but signals rose ahead of us on the beach.  The colonel turned to the rest of us in the boat and smiled.  The agreed signal for a successful landing.  A signalman stood on our motor hatch and wig-wagged the good news back to our mother ship.

It was quickly acknowledged.

The fact of a successful landing, however, did not mean that our effort to take the beach-head would be unopposed.  We ducked well below the level of the gunwales as we reached a fixed line of departure, a certain number of yards from shore, and forged ahead.

At 9:28 we passed the boats of the first wave, coming out from the beach to the ships to get another load of troops.  We poked our heads up to see that they showed no signs of having been damaged by enemy fire.  We gathered a little more courage now and raised our heads to see what was happening.  Lieutenant Cory, squatting next to me, shouted to me over the rumble if the motor that perhaps there were no Japs.  Still, it seemed that this would be too good to be true.  Perhaps the Japs were merely drawing us into a trap.

At 9:40 we were close enough to land to see isolated palm trees projecting above the shore – sign that we were coming close to whatever trap the enemy might have prepared.

In our boat there was no talking, despite the excitement of the moment.  The motor was making too much noise, at any rate.  We sat and looked at each other, and occasionally peeped over the side to glimpse other boats plunging shoreward in showers of spray around us, or to cock an eye at the strangely silent beach.

At 9:47 we were close enough to the shore to see a long line of our landing boats drawn up on the dun-colored sand, close enough to see a wallowing tank moving along the shore line, tossing plumes of spray before and behind.  We could make out throngs of our troops moving on the beach amongst a line of thatched roof huts.  We then became very courageous, since it was apparent that there were no enemy troops in the vicinity.

At 9:50, with a jolt, our boat grounded on the dun-colored sand.  Our debarkation was leisurely.  I jumped carefully from the bow and got only one foot wet, and that slightly; hardly the hell-for-leather leap and dash through the surf, with the accompaniment of rattling machine guns which I had expected.

From down the beach, a jeep, evidently the first ashore, came past us.  There was noise, and motion, everywhere, as more troops leaped from the beached landing boats, and working parties struggled to unload bigger barges coming in with machinery, equipment, supplies.

A group of five fighter planes zoomed close overhead.  A tractor was being hauled from a tank lighter.  I saw two Marines setting up a small generator between two bamboo huts which had been knocked silly by the shellfire.  The generator would run a radio.

One shattered thatch hut had already been occupied as headquarters for a company of Marine Pioneers.  Evidence of civilization is the oilcloth sign they have posted outside their headquarters – with the green lettering “Shore Party CP – A Co.”  Pioneers were busy straightening out the interior of the shack.  It was a peaceful scene.

But just behind the strip of sandy beach, heading inland, I found a much less secure atmosphere.  Scattered through the cocoanut grove I could see Marines crouching behind trees, with their rifles at the ready.  From the jungly woods to the south came the occasional crack of a rifle.  Groups of Marines, their faces muddied and sprigs of bushes fastened to their hats for camouflage effect, were forming up patrols.  “I want you guys to watch every tree,” said a top sergeant, giving his platoon instructions.

I attempted to discover if any opposition had been encountered.  “I heard machine-gun firing when I came in, said one Marine, “but I don’t know whether it was ours or the Japs’.”

“There’s a little firing in there,” said another Marine, motioning toward the jungle.  “Looks like the Japs’ll take to the hills.  Another Nicaragua.  They’ll be in here alive next month, fighting in the jungles.”

At 10:20 a procession of jeeps towing carts of shells moved through the cocoanut trees and out toward our forward positions.  The procession was reminder that deep inland our troops might at that moment be tangling with the Japs.

But there were not sounds of cannonading coming from inland.  Only from the direction of Tulagi, twenty miles to the north, could we hear the boom of distant cannon fire.

Back on the beach the activity of peaceful unloading continued.  The sand was now torn and rutted by constant traffic of jeeps and tractors.  Our first tank was being pulled from a lighter.  Anti-aircraft guns were being rolled out and set up on the beach, their barrels pointing seaward.

A medical-aid station had been set up on the sand, under a Red Cross banner.  The attending medico, Dr. C. Douglas Hoyt, said that there had been no casualties so far – except for a lad who cut his palm with a machete while trying to open a cocoanut.  That was cheerful news.

By this time, fast-moving Colonel Hunt had evaporated from the beach, taking his staff with him.  I set out to overtake him, using him command post telephone lines – which it seemed had sprung through the conquered terrain almost instantaneously – as a guide.

I passed through the coastal belt of cocoanut palms, then through a beaten path cutting through a field of shoulder-high parched grass, and then into the thick, shadowy jungle, where, fortunately, a trail had been cut.

The Ilu River, which had sounded so sinister and impassable in the memorandum passed about on board ship, was disappointing.  It was a muddy, stagnant little creek, almost narrow enough to jump across.

Beyond the stream, it was easy to make one’s way through the wet, smelly jungle, for the Marines had cut a swath three or four feet wide – wide enough to allow passage for ammunition carts.  The trail penetrated for miles into the jungle – the advance elements of Marines were thousands of yards beyond that – and scarcely two hours had elapsed since our first wave hit the beach.  What wonder workers these Americans are!

I found Colonel Hunt’s command post, as it was called, actually only an undistinguished part of the jungle, where communications men were busy installing field telephones.  It was time for lunch.  We squatted in the matting of soft, wet leaves and opened ration cans.

Things were quite peaceful.  The colonel said that apparently no resistance had been encountered by our landing party.  If there were any Japs about, they had faded into the hills.  Captain Charles V. Hodgess, one of our Australia guides and the former owner of a cocoanut plantation on Guadalcanal, joked about the ease with which we had occupied Guadalcanal thus far.  “I’m exhausted by the arduousness of the landing against such heavy fire,” he said.

After we had eaten, I worked by way back to the beach, to find the transports lying close in, swarms of hustling lights still rushing back and forth.  Half-ton trucks had been brought in and were moving up and down the beach already hauling stacks of crates – food, medical supplies, spare parts, ammunition.

Some of the Marines were still occupied with cracking cocoanuts along the beach.  Others had gone on for a dip, to rest muscles wearied by four and half hours of unloading.

I went back to the jungle, headed for the colonel’s advance party – and missed the first Japanese air raid on the Marines at Guadalcanal.

At 1:30 I heard the quick, basso “whoomp, whoomp, whoomp” of anti-aircraft fire, and saw the sky fill with the dark-brown smudges of shellbursts.  The sky was overcast, and there were no planes visible, but the droning of motors could be heard.  It was evident that the Japs were after the transports and warships in the bay, for the anti-aircraft bursts were concentrated over that area.  Trees then blocked my view of the ships; but I was to learn later in the day that they had not been hit.

For a few minutes, the noise of plane motors grew louder, and then, amidst the steady drone, I heard the crescendo whine of a diving plane, followed by the unmistakable rattle of aircraft machine guns, probably one of our own fighter planes diving on the Japs.

At about 1:40, the sound of anti-aircraft firing stopped.  A few moments after that, a flight of eighteen of our fighter planes swung out of the overcast sky and swept across Tulagi Bay.  Evidently the air raid was over.

I caught up with the colonel’s party in the woods, and plowed steadily along with them through the jungle trails until just before four o’clock we reached a pleasant cocoanut grove.  We had just sat down to rest our bones when a terrific concentration of anti-aircraft fire could be heard breaking, and again the bursts were visible in the sky.

The command “Take cover” was passed, and we slid for the bush, wondering if the Japs would come in and strafe our troops.  But this time, as the last, their target was evidently the ships.  The anti-aircraft fire lasted five minutes.  We neither heard the bombs nor saw the planes.  Then the raid was over.  It had been as tame as our landing.  (But I was later to find out that for the ships involved, the raid had been furious.  Jap dive-bombers had attacked our warships, damaging one.  Two of the attackers had been shot down by anti-aircraft fire.)

At this juncture Dr. Pratt came up with our party.  He said he had been talking to an eyewitness of the first air raid (at 1:30), and that this eyewitness had said that he saw two Jap planes shot down and their pilots descending in parachutes.  But the “scuttlebutt” is being passed around among the men that there were as many as six Jap planes shot down in the first raid.  [False: there were three shot down, two by our fighters, one by anti-aircraft.]

We rested in the cocoanut grove for a few minutes before moving on.  It was quite peaceful, despite the rifle shots that cracked in the woods about us.  For it was now the general assumption in our group that there were no Japs in the vicinity.

Sergeant William A, Davis (of  Evansville, Ind.), an engineer, came up to tell me he believed he was the first Marine to be shot at in the Guadalcanal campaign.  He made a wrong turn somewhere and got out ahead of the advance troop elements, shortly after the landing.  Two shots were fired at him, he said, and they came within a few inches.

In the cocoanut grove, it was bizarre to see a Marine pick up a telephone and hear him say “Operator” into the receiver.  It seemed strange, too, to hear French horns, sounding exactly like those you might find on a fashionable roadster, tooting in the jungle.  It happened they were attached to the tanks.

“I’ll be right out,” said a Marine after one such toot; as if his girl were waiting outside with the top down.

There was an end even to this amusement.  We had to get up and march again for miles through the jungle, through the cocoanut groves, across boggy streams and over steep little hills.

At 4:30 we came out of the trees to an open field of tall grass.  Two Marines stood at the edge of the field.  They had their .45 automatics in their hands, and seemed a little nervous.  One of them approached the colonel.

“We found fresh cut trees, which looked like they’d be cut about an hour ago, sir,” he said.  “We think it was a Japanese gun emplacement.”

But half and hour later, after some more painful trudging under heavy packs, we had seen any signs of the enemy.  We halted, then, in a grove of tall, slender, white cocoanut palms – which must have been beautiful when it was well kept.  Now there are piles of decaying palms fronds and aged, rotting cocoanuts on the ground; but we settled down to rest without a murmur of compliant.  Anything would look like a home after the day’s hiking.

We had a canned ration supper, and since there was no water, many of the lads busied themselves with knocking down green cocoanuts from the trees, and cutting them open for milk.  Some of the Marines had already learned the art of rapid cocoanut-cracking.  One such was Private First Class Albert Tardiff (Albert C. Tardiff of Newark, N.J.), who opened one for me in two minutes flat.

Bedding down for the night under the tall palms and a panoply of stars would have been a beautiful experience, except for bugs, mosquitoes and thirst – which unfortunately were all too present.

With the coming of the dark, the mackaws began to squel in the tree-tops and rifle shots became more numerous.  The sentries were jittery on this their first night on the island.  I awoke from time to time to hear the call of “Halt!!” followed almost immediately by volleys of gunfire.

Once near midnight, I woke to hear a sub-machine gun cracking very near the grove.  Then a rifle barked.  Then another.  And soon five or six guns were firing simultaneously, and the bright white tracer bullets were zipping in several directions over the grove where we slept.  Some of the slugs whined through the trees close by.  And then the firing fell off, and died, and we went back to sleep again.

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Copyright 1942 by Random House – New York Transcribed by Major Paul L. Stokes, USMC on 25 July 2004

Guadalcanal
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The Return of the Marine Raider Battalions – One year ago

August 7, 2015
In case you didn’t get the word, on 6 Aug 2014, General Amos, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, announced that the Marine Special Operations Battalions will be redesigned as Marine Raider Battalions.    And in honor of this momentous event in the Glorious History of our Beloved Corps of Marines,  I thought you all might like an opportunity to read the attached Leatherneck article about “Red Mike” Edson and his 1st Raider Battalion’s Seizure of Tulagi on 7-8 Aug 1942.Subject: MARSOC units renamed for the Marine Raiders

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20140806/NEWS/308060054/MARSOC-units-renamed-Marine-Raiders

The fabled Marine Raiders live again, if in name only. The Commandant of the Marine Corps said Wednesday that Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command will be renamed and rebranded in honor of the elite World War II unit.

During MARSOC’s change of command ceremony at its headquarters in Sneads Ferry, N.C., Gen. Jim Amos said all units within the parent command would undergo a name change: 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion would become 1st Marine Raider Battalion, and so forth.

The move is a significant reversal for Amos, who has been careful to maintain official distance between the eight-year-old legacy of MARSOC and that of the Raiders, who many people consider the first elite Marine operators. In 2011, Amos rejected a proposal to rename MARSOC for the Raiders during a gathering of general officers in New Orleans, saying, according to one general in attendance, ‘your allegiance, your loyalty . is to the Marine Corps, based on the title you have on your uniform.'”

Nonetheless, Amos has been lobbied heavily by the Marine Raider association to make the change. Amos appeared at the organization’s annual reunion last August as the guest of honor, where a member of the group managed to surreptitiously slap a Raider patch on his uniform just as photographers snapped a photo.

In March during a social media forum, Amos hinted that the issue might resurface, saying officials were looking into the name change. He finally made the decision at an executive off-site meeting with other generals in late July. That meeting also resulted in the creation of a new primary military occupational specialty for MARSOC officers.

“The recent Marine Raider reunions have highlighted their strong desire for their legacy to not be forgotten and to be carried on by another Marine Corps unit,” MARSOC spokesman Capt. Barry Morris said in a statement. “We feel we owe it to those Marine Raiders still alive and their families to make every attempt to do so.”

Morris said the move also creates a logical historical link between the work of MARSOC and the elite Pacific missions of the Raiders, seven decades ago. Raiders were renowned for mounting long-term operations deep behind enemy lines, with little to no logistical support from larger American forces. Not unlike the Army’s Long Range Recon Platoons years later in Vietnam, Marine Raiders were proficient at the types of unconventional warfare methods most often attributed to today’s Special Operations Command.

“It helps tell our story that the Marine Corps is not necessarily new to the world of special operations,” he said.

While the MARSOC units will adopt the Raider name, Morris said they will not be authorized to use the most famous Raiders symbol: the blue-and-red emblem with stars and a menacing skull. MARSOC operators have been spotted sporting a patch with the raider skull during deployments in Afghanistan, albeit without authorization.

“MARSOC unit emblems will continue to use the blue Raider shield with southern cross,” Morris said.

The blue shield and the constellation, overlaid with an upward-facing Raider stiletto knife, already present in all MARSOC battalion emblems, are a nod to original Raiders imagery.

Nonetheless, Morris said the command is prepared to overlook unauthorized use of the patch by motivated MARSOC operators.

“MARSOC will continue to follow Marine Corps uniform standards with respect to wearing unit patches,” he said. But “We anticipate MARSOC Marines to informally use the original Raider patch as a means to display esprit de corps, unit pride, and Marine Corps heritage.”

MARSOC itself will retain its official title, but the tenant units will be formally reflagged with the publication of an upcoming Marine administrative message, Morris said.

The next change for MARSOC may be updated training that further emphasizes the linkage between today’s critical skills operators and the Raiders. The Raiders legacy is already mentioned during the individual training course that all operators pass through to enter MARSOC; it’s not yet clear how other training evolutions could be modified to reflect the Raiders history.

“MARSOC is the modern-day embodiment of the Marine Raiders of World War II,” Morris said. “Our mission set includes not only the raids and guerrilla operations conducted by the Raiders, but also foreign internal defense, security force assistance, counterinsurgency operations, and a host of other capabilities that are uniquely relevant to modern day conflict.”

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