Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

USMC returns to Belleau Wood

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • USMC returns to Belleau Wood

    From the USMC's website

    93 years in the waiting: 5th and 6th Marines return to Belleau Wood

    In the summer of 1918 two regiments of Marines arrived in the Picardy region of north-central France as part of the American Expeditionary Force. With combat experience limited to ship-born detachments and small land engagements, the Marines of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments would soon find themselves making history in the wheat fields and forests around a small village called Belleau.

    For the first time in the 93 years since one of the Corps’ most iconic battles, the Marines of 5th and 6th returned their battle colors to the hallowed grounds at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial to pay tribute to the men who fought and died in the battle that stopped the last major German offensive of World War I.

    In observance of the ceremony, Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent, sergeant major of the Marine Corps, the Honorable Charles H. Rivkin, U.S. ambassador to France, French dignitaries and representatives from the Ministry of Defense, and the United States Marine Corps Battle Colors Detachment joined Marines from the 5th and 6th Regiment; the Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Company out of Rota, Spain; Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa and thousands of French citizens to pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate price in defense of liberty.

    In addition to the ceremony, the Marines who attended were also given the chance to tour the battlefield, learn the history, and walk in the footsteps of their predecessors.

    “As a member of [2nd Battalion, 5th Marines], this experience has been amazing,” said Sgt. Thomas Stafford, platoon sergeant with Weapons Company, 2/5 and a Estcada, Ore. native. “As we learned during the tour, this is the birthplace of most of our infantry training and tactics, not to mention the legacy that the Marines made here. So, it’s pretty awesome to be here.”

    Known for its bloody wheat fields where on the 6th of June, 1918, the Marines sustained more casualties in one day than it had in its previous 143 years of existence, the battlefield tour had a profound impact on the participants.

    “It’s an inspiring moment, looking across those fields and walking through the wheat,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jeremy Marks, supply officer for 1st and 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines and a Caldwell, Texas native. “All Marines hear the story and know about Belleau Wood, but for the Marines here today; they will be able to go back and share with their Marines at the regiment and it will give it that extra bit of significance.”

    Although the Marines took heavy losses on the 6th, in the remaining 20 days of the battle, the Marines not only proved that they were a determined and ferocious fighting force, but birthed the “Devil Dog” legacy that has inspired generation after generation of Marines .
    The full article is linked above.


  • #2
    As a US Marine (retired) I must correct a common omission in the Belleau Wood legend. The US Marine role is well known due to a news story that got past the AEF censors. However the Marine Brigade was one of two infantry brigades in the US 2d Division. The other was the 3rd Infantry Brigade, which included the 9th Infantry Regiment and the 23rd Infantry Regiment. The Third Infantry Brigade also attacked on the left of the Fifth Marine Brigade & fought the same battle. Unfortunatly the Third Brigade & the Second Division in general have not received the same degree of recognition for their part in halting the German offensive.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
      As a US Marine (retired) I must correct a common omission in the Belleau Wood legend. The US Marine role is well known due to a news story that got past the AEF censors. However the Marine Brigade was one of two infantry brigades in the US 2d Division. The other was the 3rd Infantry Brigade, which included the 9th Infantry Regiment and the 23rd Infantry Regiment. The Third Infantry Brigade also attacked on the left of the Fifth Marine Brigade & fought the same battle. Unfortunatly the Third Brigade & the Second Division in general have not received the same degree of recognition for their part in halting the German offensive.
      True enough. It might also be worth noting that the 4th (Marine) Brigade was commanded by an Army general at Belleau Wood - James Harbord.

      Comment


      • #4
        In any case, the Marine Corps does commemorations well. I am glad to see a WWI battle so remembered.

        Regards, Marc
        Cheers, Marc
        www.wfa-eastcoast.org

        Comment


        • #5
          What is is about the 6th of June?

          Comment


          • #6
            6 June 1918 is the day that the Marines launched their counterattack at Belleau Wood.

            Regards, Marc
            Cheers, Marc
            www.wfa-eastcoast.org

            Comment


            • #7
              Wish I'd been able to join those young Marines...

              There were Army officers pretty liberally sprinkled throughout the chain of command at the time. The lieutenant commanding my grandfather's platoon (he was with 2/5) there was Army.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jrhead75 View Post
                Wish I'd been able to join those young Marines...

                There were Army officers pretty liberally sprinkled throughout the chain of command at the time. The lieutenant commanding my grandfather's platoon (he was with 2/5) there was Army.
                Is the Lt's name known? Any other information?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                  Is the Lt's name known? Any other information?
                  Yes it is. It was passed along to me by a fellow researching the battle for a book he's writing. He got in touch with me after running across my grandfather and great uncle during his research. Unfortunately, we were talking on the phone at the time and I didn't have a writing implement handy. I'll get the name from him next time we get in touch, and post it. The lieutenant was listed as a shell shock casualty, which coincides with what my grandfather told me about taking command of the platoon after the Lt lost control (earning him the CdG w/Palm and what was to become the Silver Star).

                  The dates I have for the incident in question are 10-13 Jun 1918. My grandfather was a Sgt with 1st Platoon, 43rd Co. 2/5.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Interesting. My first real introduction to this battle was a eyewitness account in a book by a USMC NCO. Unfortunatly I've long forgotton the title. It opened with the first shots of the Germans as the Marines came in range & ended 11 November as the cease fire started. In those five months the narrator went from the junior corporal to the second senior NCO in his company. His description of late night burials in no mans land has stayed with me since reading the book in 1973.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's sobering stuff indeed. Among the material this gentleman dug up and sent to me were the witness reports of my great uncle's death on 12 Jun, including a detailed description of where in the wood he was initially buried. He was hit in the had by German machine gun fire.

                      I really regret not getting more of my grandfather's story before he succumbed to Alzheimer's.

                      Comment

                      Latest Topics

                      Collapse

                      Working...
                      X