Letter: Celebrating 234 years of service

By on November 12, 2009

On Nov. 10, 1775, the Continental Congress resolved that two battalions of marines be raised, that they be distinguished by the names of the first and second battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the Continental Army before Boston was ordered to consist of.

Since that day, the United States Marine Corps has served our country in every clime and place. They have earned the right and privilege of being the head of the column, and right of line in military formations. These honors were hard-fought and earned at great sacrifice.

Marines have fought pirates off the Barbary Coast and to the halls of Montezuma. June 1918, Marines began reducing the positions of two German divisions in the Bois de Belleau (Belleau Wood). This 20-day action was one of the most intense of the war. The brigade suffered 55 percent casualties. Marines earned the nickname “Devil Dog” from the German soldiers in that battle.

During WWII, one of the most famous pictures taken was on Feb. 23, 1945, when Marines raised the American flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, Japan.

During the Korean conflict (war) in December 1950, the 1st Marine Division completed fighting a breakout from the Chosin entrapment. While not a victory in the classic sense, the withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir is revered as a high point in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps. In the fighting, the Marines and other UN troops effectively destroyed or crippled seven Chinese divisions which attempted to block their progress. Upon reaching Hungnam, the veterans of Chosin Reservoir were evacuated as part of the large amphibious operation to rescue UN troops from northeastern Korea.

From January to April 1968, NVA troops began shelling the base at Khe Sanh and the strongholds in the surrounding hills. This rocket, mortar and artillery barrage initiated the siege of Khe Sanh. The siege of Khe Sanh would be one of the defining battles of the Vietnam War. Supplied by air and supported by massive artillery and air bombardments, including B-52 strikes, the 6,000-man Khe Sanh garrison of Marines would hold out against elements of an estimated two North Vietnamese Divisions until relieved by U.S. forces on April 14.

Today, Marines still serve our country from the deserts of Iraq, to the mountains in Afghanistan. For 200-plus years, Marines have served our country, and our communities. Locally, the Marines Corps League provides funding for scholarships, charities and honor guards for local events.

If you have earned the title Marine or served with Fleet Marine Forces, please consider joining the League.
Michael Fogelsanger
Sycamore