My Dad the U.S. China Marine

My Dad the U.S. China Marine

Friday, October 29, 2010

China Pictures: 170th Anniversary of the Founding of the Marine Corp

These are pictures taken by my father in November 1945. Celebrations marking the 170th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps were held on Marco Polo Field in China.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The 170th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps: First Marine Recruiting Office Was In Philadelphia Tavern

The 170th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps brought to life much about its history and origins in the 1700s. This is the text of an article I found originally published in the Honolulu Advertiser on November 10, 1945:

First Marine Recruiting Office Was In Philadelphia Tavern

Tun Tavern in 1775 was a prominent Philadelphia hostelry on the east side of King (Water) St., at the corner of a small thoroughfare known as Tun Alley that led down to the Delaware River.

The historic resolution which brought the Corps of Marines into existence was passed by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia on November 10, 1775. Capt. Samuel Nicholas, named commandant of the corps, immediately established a recruiting rendezvous in the popular tavern and chose as his first recruiting officer big-fisted Robert Mullen, the proprietor.

Captain Nicholas instructed his recruiting chief to accept only candidates who were of “dependable and religious nature combined with proper robustness of body.”

To this were added other qualifications: a man had to be at least five feet four inches tall, between the ages of 18 and 40 years, a native-born American or if foreign-born a settled resident with family; he could not be a deserter from the British army, a vagabond, or “person suspected of being an enemy to the liberty of America.”

Lured Recruits
These limitations by no means meant that recruiting was merely a screening process. Suitable recruits were sorely needed and many devices and inducements were used to bring them in.

Lures of prize-money, advance money, expense money, bounties, pensions and promises of ample “grog,” adventure and glory were dangled before prospective volunteers. Handbills were distributed, glowing advertisements were put in the newspapers and vigorous broadsides were displayed in every tavern.

Drum Parades
Headed by drum, fife and colors, recruiting parties in brilliant uniforms marched up and down the streets to attract men thirsting for distinction and military excitement. At intervals and party, followed by a crowd, would pause to enable an officer to orate on patriotism and the cause of liberty.

“Drumming up” recruits was practically a literal term. The educated hands of the marine drummers beat hard and ceaselessly on instruments larger than snare-drums of today, and on each of which was emblazoned a coiled rattlesnake about to strike with the motto, “Don’t Tread on Me!” under it.

Inevitably the paraders ended at Tun Tavern accompanied by a queue of patriots who had decided to become marines. There the volunteers signed enlistment papers and a toast was drunk in their honor.

Officers were prohibited from enlisting a drunken man or from swearing in an applicant until 24 hours had elapsed from the time he signed his enlistment.

Occasionally recruits were advanced as much as one month’s pay, but usually only $2. (Recruiting officers were allowed two dollars expense money for each recruit.) The pay of a private was less than an ordinary seaman. A marine had to sign up for three years while a seaman was asked to sign for only one.

Press Ridicule
Efficient recruiting sergeants were hard to obtain, as the army offered a large inducement bounty to them. Editors of anti-military publications constantly sought to discourage volunteers by ridiculing men in uniform as ‘hired assassins and cutthroats.”

Despite these handicaps, the marines succeeded in enlisting their quota of loyal and courageous fighting men –those men who captured the British forts at New Providence in a daring amphibious operation, the men who fought with John Paul Jones, with Washington crossing the Delaware into New Jersey, and in other great victories of the Revolutionary War.

Tun Tavern no longer stands, but it has been commemorated by a bronze tablet on the site which reads: “This tablet marks the site of Tun Tavern, the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps. Here in 1775 Captain Samuel Nicholas, the first marine officer, opened a recruiting rendezvous for the marine battalions authorized by a resolution of the Continental Congress, November 10, 1775.”

Friday, October 15, 2010

History Shows Marines in China and Japan Nearly Century Ago

History Shows Marines in China and Japan Nearly Century Ago
Honolulu Advertiser: November 10, 1945. Page 17, Section 2.

When the Marine Corps observes its 170th anniversary, it will have reassumed its familiar role as guardian of American interests in the far corners of the world.

After having spearheaded victory in the Pacific from Guadalcanal to Okinawa, Marines have taken over posts in China and Japan and on scattered islands such as Truk and Guam to make sure that the peace so bitterly won is not disturbed.

The Marines were no strangers to China, for they first landed there more than 100 years ago. Nor, for that matter, were they strangers to Japan, for Marines landed there with Commodore Perry in 1853.

More than any other branch of America’s armed forces, the Marines have a reputation for being on hand when trouble arises. The world has been their beat and it still is.

Although best known as the “fightin’est outfit on earth,” the Marine Corps has augmented the defenses of our country since the Revolutionary War, both at home and abroad. Marines have acted as guards aboard ships of the navy and in navy yards. They have safeguarded American embassies and protected Presidents of the United States from possible harm.

Early Duties
One of the earliest duties of the Continental Marines was to guard prisoners taken by the American fleet, in addition to participating in the battle itself.

History records that back in 1800 during the naval war with France, Marines marched a miscellaneous collection of prisoners and buccaneers from the Atlantic coast to Frederick, Md., where a prison camp was maintained.

During the Revolution mutinies were not infrequent among the unreliable crews of the period, and the Marines were expected to be the force behind the captain in dealing with these serious breaches to discipline. Whenever the crew was called to quarters, the Marines habitually were mustered on the quarter-deck near the arms chest in the event of an emergency.

When vessels were engaged in actual battle, both during this period and later years, Marines armed with muskets and bayonets were used to enforce discipline over the gun crews and were expected to use the weapons for such purpose if necessary.

Far East Duties
The last century is marked with many instances were Marines were called upon to protect American interests and nationals in the Far East.

Names that are in the news today –Seoul, Tientsin, Shanghai, Pekin- are not new to the Corps. In the shifting rebellions and banditry that scarred China in the days before a stable government was finally produced, Marines, though few in number, were always ready to “take steps” to protecting U.S. interests. And “taking steps” frequently meant fighting.

In addition to serving as protectors of American interests in far-places, Marines have on numerous occasions been called upon to safeguard life and property in the wake of disasters at home.

"Always a Marine" 170th Anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps 1945

The Honolulu Star Bulletin (now the Honolulu Star Advertiser) published this editorial salute to the Marines on its 170th anniversary, dated Friday, November 9, 1945.


The 170th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps comes tomorrow at the peak of achievement for what is probably the finest fighting force the world has ever seen.

This is said with no thought of disparagement for the other services of this country. There are certain procedures possible for the Marine Corps which are denied to the army and navy because of their greater size, involving selection of personnel training and more compact organization.

These factors, plus a fighting spirit, which is a living thing in the face of danger, have made the Marine Corps immortal.

The Marines formed the point of the spear that was thrust across the central Pacific to strike at the heart of Japan. They fell by thousands, but they never faltered. Their job was to fight and the recognized it as such –to die, perhaps; perhaps to live- but to fight. And fight they did and each time won.

Many of us are familiar with the role of the Marines in seizing stepping stones across the Pacific, but it is worthwhile on this 170th anniversary to recall the indispensable part they played in the march on Japan.

In August, 1942, the Marines seized a foothold in the Solomon Islands and made it possible through action on land and sea, to halt the Japanese drive southeast, which was aimed at cutting the American supply line to Australia.

In November, 1943, the Marines, in one of the great gambles of the war –a gamble because it was a new departure in amphibious warfare against a reef enclosed, heavily fortified atoll- took the island of Tarawa, thus breaking down the door to Japan’s position in the Marshalls, which lay athwart the projected course westward.

In February, 1944, the Marines, in conjunction with the army, seized Kwajalein Atoll, the Marines capturing the northern point, the army the southern end.

In June the same year the Marines, assisted by the army but taking the major role themselves, finally tore down the door to Japan itself. They captured Saipan, then Tinian, then Guam.

Saipan sealed the fate of Japan but the Marines had still other chores to perform before the enemy could be dispatched.

Peleliu, in the Palau’s –Peleliu, with its Bloody Nose ridge, its heat, its heavy, humid atmosphere- came in September. It was a dreary, heartbreaking task. The Marines went through with it as usual.

There was one last hard rock to be blasted out of the way. Iwo Jima lay between the B-29 base in the Marianas and the target, Japan. The B-29s needed a place to sit down when, shot up and disabled, they headed home.

Okinawa came afterward but that was mainly an army show. The Marines, lacerated and weary but with chins up, helped finish off the enemy on Okinawa. And they were preparing for the landing in Japan itself when the Japanese quit.

The projected unification of the services is frowned upon by many Marines, who see the swallowing up of their proud corps if the plan supported by the army and air forces should win out.

Almost certainly the Corps as a personality would lose something by the change. Its old individuality and independence could not be exactly the same.

Nevertheless, whatever happens, we may be sure that the Marines will remain one of the great fighting organizations of the world.

There is something in Marine Corps history and tradition that no unification can ever remove. The Marine Corps spirit is a living thing that is rooted in the undying courage of the men who have fallen in battle. Whatever he is called, whatever uniform he wears, a Marine will always be a Marine.