In response to unrest at the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on 27 December following a series of CENTCOM strikes on Kata’ib Hizbollah (KH) bases, a group of 100 Marines from 2/7 attached to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command (catchily abbreviated to just “SPMAFTF-CR-CC”) 19.2, rushed from Kuwait to beef up the MSG and State Department DS contingents on New Year’s Eve. They arrived via MV-22 Osprey, as shown in the below USMC videos by Sgt. Robert Gavaldon & Sgt. David Bickel.
Of interest, 2/7 recently filmed this short where they talk about training to do more expeditionary stuff of a ship-to-shore nature.
They were quickly backfilled in the region by a reinforced battalion of the 82nd Airborne (All Americans), which were airmailed over the New Year’s holiday from Fort Bragg to Kuwait. The unit on IRF rotation was the famed 2nd Battalion, 504th PIR. The 504th since 1944 has carried the nickname “The Devils in Baggy Pants,” taken from a comment by a Wehrmacht officer at Anzio.
In a statement from SECDEF Dr. Mark T. Esper
At the direction of the Commander in Chief, I have authorized the deployment of an infantry battalion from the Immediate Response Force (IRF) of the 82nd Airborne Division to the U.S. Central Command area of operations in response to recent events in Iraq.
Approximately 750 soldiers will deploy to the region immediately, and additional forces from the IRF are prepared to deploy over the next several days.
This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today. The United States will protect our people and interests anywhere they are found around the world.
Meanwhile, the “haze gray stabilizers” of Carrier Strike Group Eight (CSG-8), built around USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), are now reporting to the 5th Fleet.
Further, the U.S. upped the ante on Friday by dusting Gen. Qassem Suleimani, who had almost cult hero status within IRGC and Quds Force Shia militias in the region, with many referring to him as the real man behind the curtain. The pressure for Tehran to retaliate will be immense.
From DOD this morning:
General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more. He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months – including the attack on December 27th – culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.
This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words
To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…
It’s been a long way from Tun Tavern. Some 243 years to be exact.
“SNIPER GOES TO ROOST— Garbed in captured Japanese sniper’s outfit, a U.S. Marine on Guadalcanal Island proves that the Japs are not the only fighters who can “shinny” up a coconut tree, secret themselves in the lush foliage and hammer away at unsuspecting troops. Here he is giving them a mock dose of their medicine…
A U.S. Marine dons Japanese snipers outfit and mocks ascent into a palm tree. So well taught in the art of camouflage are the Japanese that were it not for the report of their rifles it would be almost impossible to spot them. Photo was taken on Guadalcanal, B.S.I.P.”
“This is one of mine. This is Sergeant Art I believe, or maybe Sergeant Fue. I get them mixed up. He was one of the survivors of the Getge patrol. Here he’s demonstrating the way the Japanese used that clip thing to climb the trees. Japanese rain cape, Japanese helmet, Japanese rifle. And before he went up, he was very careful to make sure everybody knew that he was one of us and not one of them.”
November 4, 1942: “The U.S. Marine at the right shows a companion how he looks in a Japanese sniper’s jacket made of long-haired animal’s skin. The skin blends in with the underbrush making such snipers extremely difficult to locate.”
The above capture surely leads to this report:
“Japanese Camouflage Garment” from Tactical and Technical Trends, 14 Dec 1942, via Lone Sentry
The garment shown in the accompanying sketch was captured in the Solomons area. A number of similar garments were found packed in bales, and in at least one instance, one was found on a Japanese sniper shot out of a palm tree by U.S. Marines.
It is made from the shaggy, reddish-brown fiber that grows at the base of the fronds of the coconut palm tree. Sheets of this fiber are sewed together to form the garment.
It can serve as a camouflage garment to be used in areas where there are quantities of coconut palms. It has been used by snipers strapped in among the fronds of palm trees, and it could also be used effectively on the ground under suitable color conditions.
Comment: This type of garment is widely used in Japan as a raincoat. Those made of coconut palm fiber are used by Japanese fishermen, while the Japanese farmer makes his with reeds or rushes.
Beyond that, the suit was published in YANK in 1943, as a reference moving forward for Japanese uniforms (look at the right-hand corner).
It’s been a long way from Tun Tavern. Some 242 years to be exact.
How about some throwback uniforms from the early 1980s, around the time of the Beirut bombing and the Grenada invasion?
Note the white undershirts, legacy M-1 helmets, and pre-1986 M16a1’s and 1911s as well as the lack of PASGIT vests, but the post-1982 woodland and chocolate chip BDUs.
PLATE TEN – FIELD UNIFORMS :
Green linen or cotton hunting shirts were worn by Continental Marines. Work or fatigue uniforms of the same material were worn by Marines as early as 1808, but such uniforms generally were not used as combat uniforms until World War II. From 1898 to World War II, the Marine Corps’ commitment was mostly in the tropics, and cotton khaki was worn in the field. Blue denim coveralls or overalls and jacket were issued for dirty work. The familiar sage-green herringbone twill (HBT) utility jacket and trousers were introduced in 1941 and cap in 1943 and worn in all of the Pacific campaigns as a work and combat uniform. After undergoing several slight modifications during World War II a camouflage utility uniform printed with a green pattern on one side, brown on the other, was issued to raiders, parachutists, and scout-snipers. The “green sateen” uniform which replaced the HBT was developed and procured by the Army and was designated a universal issue uniform to be worn by all services. In 1968 the green sateen utilities were replaced in Vietnam by the Army green poplin jungle uniform. Subsequently, personnel in Vietnam wore the camouflage pattern rip-stop poplin jungle utilities. These were phased into the recruit issue in 1978, and were later replaced beginning in 1982 by the current woodland camouflage utility uniform.
Shown in this plate are the various different field /utility uniforms. At left is a male captain in the desert camouflage utility uniform. This uniform, which is issued, when required, as organizational property, is intended for personnel engaged in combat in a desert environment. (Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, paragraph 8100) Although a white undershirt is shown here, brown undershirts are being phased into the Marine Corps Supply System for future organizational issue and wear with this uniform.
Second from the left is a female enlisted Marine wearing the older-style “poplin” camouflage utilities. As shown here, the service sweater, when worn, is worn under the utility coat. (Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, paragraph 4129) Enlisted Marines shall wear their metal/plastic insignia of grade on the utility coat and field coat. (Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, paragraph 5303) The utility uniform is only authorized for wear for field type exercises, for work conditions where it is not practical to wear the service uniform, and within the Fleet Marine Force where the wear of utility uniform is an enhancement of readiness. (Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, paragraphs 3108, 3209, 3306, 3408)
The figure in the center is a male enlisted Marine wearing the “woodland camouflage” utility uniform with “782” field equipment. The Marine is also wearing the newly introduced lightweight camouflage body armor. When the helmet is worn, the appropriate camouflage helmet cover will normally be worn to match the surrounding terrain. The fourth figure from the left is a male captain wearing the “woodland camouflage” utility uniform with the recently adopted camouflage field coat and “782” field equipment. The field coat is not presently authorized for wear with the service uniform. (Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, paragraph 8108)
The Marine at far right is wearing the Arctic camouflage uniform. The items shown here include the white parka, overpants, and cold weather dry boots (also known as “Mickey Mouse” boots). This uniform, issued as organizational property, would be worn for combat or exercises when the surrounding terrain is predominantly white. (Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, paragraph 8100)
With that, Happy Birthday to the Corps.
Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship (in this case, doctrine) each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger
Warship Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017: Putting the ‘Marine’ back in the submarine
On 17 August 1942, just nine months after Pearl Harbor, 211 Marines of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion embarked aboard the submarines USS Argonaut and Nautilus crept ashore at Makin Island and did what the Raiders were meant to do– hit hard in the most unexpected area they could find and jack up a small Japanese garrison.
While that attack was the pinnacle of U.S. submarine commando ops in WWII, and the Raiders were disbanded by early 1944, the Marines did not forget the concept of amphibious scouts and small raiding forces carried by submarines when the war was over.
In 1948, the Marines pushed to convert a dozen Balao-class fleet subs into auxiliary Submarine Troop Carriers (ASSPs) which would involve removing all the torpedo tubes (the Navy loved that idea) as well as two of the big main diesels and using the new-found space to install extra bunks, showers and a pressure-proof hangar mounted outside of the pressure hull on deck. These subs would be able to carry 120 troops including an LVT with a jeep and equipment stowed aboard and eight rubber raiding rafts.
In theory, these boats could lift an entire reinforced battalion landing team with four 75mm Pack Howitzers, six 57mm recoilless rifles, 12 jeeps, 12 LVTs, 48 boats, 220 tons of ammo and ordnance; and 158 tons of supplies– enough to operate for ashore for ten days.
Bad news for the USMC was that the Navy just converted two of the subs– USS Perch (SS-313) and USS Sealion (SS-315). While they were later used extensively to support the Navy’s own UDT operations through the Vietnamese conflict, they didn’t come close to realizing the Marine’s vision in 1948.
Nonetheless, the Marines continued to trial submarine operations with smaller teams of amphibious recon troops in the 1950s, as seen in these great images:
The submarine above is USS Greenfish (SS-351). Greenfish was a Balao-class fleet sub commissioned 7 June 1946, too late for WWII. She did, however, perform duty during the Korean and Vietnam wars and, after she was decommissioned in 1973, was transferred to the Brazilian Navy as the submarine Amazonas (S-16), who kept her in service for another 20 years before she was ultimately scrapped in 2001. In U.S. service, Greenfish sank two submarines in her career, the captured U-234 in 1947 and her sister ship and former Warship Wednesday alumni USS Barbero (SS/SSA/SSG-317) off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 7 October 1964 after that ship was stricken.
The tradition of the Raiders and their use from submarines continues in the modern-day Raiders, recon teams and, of course, Navy SEAL units who utilize several dedicated boats including the Seawolf and modified Ohio-class SSGNs when they are feeling particularly froggy as well as the organic Combat Rubber Raiding Craft companies built into to each of the seven Marine Expeditionary Forces.
If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International
They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find. http://www.warship.org/membership.htm
The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.
With more than 50 years of scholarship, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.
PRINT still has its place. If you LOVE warships you should belong.
I’m a member, so should you be!
On July 12, 1965, Lt. Frank Reasoner of the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, led by U.S.M.C. became the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam. Reasoner repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire, killed two Viet Cong, single-handedly wiped out an enemy machine gun emplacement, and raced through enemy fire to rescue his injured radio operator. Trying to rally his men, Reasoner was hit by enemy machine gun fire and was killed instantly. For this action, Reasoner was nominated for America’s highest award for valor.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Commanding Officer, Company A, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, 3d Marine Division in action against hostile Viet Cong forces near Danang, Vietnam on 12 July 1965. The reconnaissance patrol led by First Lieutenant Reasoner had deeply penetrated heavily controlled enemy territory when it came under extremely heavy fire from an estimated 50 to 100 Viet Cong insurgents. Accompanying the advance party and the point that consisted of five men, he immediately deployed his men for an assault after the Viet Cong had opened fire from numerous concealed positions. Boldly shouting encouragement, and virtually isolated from the main body, he organized a base of fire for an assault on the enemy positions. The slashing fury of the Viet Cong machine gun and automatic weapons fire made it impossible for the main body to move forward. Repeatedly exposing himself to the devastating attack he skillfully provided covering fire, killing at least two Viet Cong and effectively silencing an automatic weapons position in a valiant attempt to effect evacuation of a wounded man. As casualties began to mount his radio operator was wounded and First Lieutenant Reasoner immediately moved to his side and tended his wounds. When the radio operator was hit a second time while attempting to reach a covered position, First Lieutenant Reasoner courageously running to his aid through the grazing machine gun fire fell mortally wounded. His indomitable fighting spirit, valiant leadership and unflinching devotion to duty provided the inspiration that was to enable the patrol to complete its mission without further casualties. In the face of almost certain death, he gallantly gave his life in the service of his country. His actions upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Thank you for your service, Lt. Reasoner.
I figured if this was new to me, it was likely new to some of your as well, but did you know that the table two portion of the Marine’s annual rifle range qualification has changed to become more practical?
Among the changes:
•Keeping up the heart rate: Instead of Marines staying stationary while shooting, they are required to start at the standing position and quickly get into the kneeling or prone position when the targets are ready to appear.
•Engaging the enemy: Marines begin qualifying at the 500-yard line then advance towards the 100-yard line, where previously they trained the other way around.
•Maintaining situational awareness in combat: New targets show both friendly and enemy forces and Marines must maintain awareness of the targets to determine when to shoot forcing them to make combat decisions.
During the darkest part of the war in the Pacific, a group of Marine Raiders stormed Japanese-held Makin Island. Today one of their Garands left behind is undergoing long-term preservation.
Scarcely eight months after the attack on Pearl Harbor and just weeks after the fall of Corregidor, the U.S. Navy was planning to take the war to Imperial Japan at a little known island in the Solomons by the name of Guadalcanal. As part of the initial assault on that chain, “Carlson’s” 2nd Marine Raider Battalion were to carry out a diversionary strike on Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.
Carried to Makin by two submarines, USS Argonaut and USS Nautilus, some 211 Raiders came ashore in rubber rafts in the predawn hours of August 17, 1942. By the end of the day they had annihilated the Japanese garrison, sunk two of the Emperor’s boats, and destroyed two of his planes. As part of the withdrawal the next morning, 19 fallen Marines were left behind in graves on the island.
In 1999 the military returned to Makin, now known as Butaritari in the island nation of Kiribati, to recover the Marines, 13 of whom are now interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
Now, attention is being paid a rifle found during the recovery process, a corroded M1 Garand discovered in the grave and returned to Hawaii before its eventual transfer to the Raiders Museum located at Marine Corps Base Quantico.
After an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team inspected the rifle to make sure it was not loaded, it has now been transferred to the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch at the Washington Navy Yard.
There, the archaeological conservators are formulating a plan to treat the rifle, buried in wet sand on a Pacific battlefield for over 50 years, and preserve it for future generations.
So it looks like Mabus is really pushing new programs before he leaves his office as SECNAV. I have to admit, some look pretty interesting.
The new eSailor initiative is supposed to put tablets and cell phones in the hands of bluejackets down at the recruit level and up, hoping to supe up the force IT wise. Of course, there are going to be intranet issues, ITSC issues, and further electrical demands on assets, but it’s still kinda neat.
Speaking of electrical demands on assets, check out these berths on the DDG-1000 class. Four words: “our own private heads”
On the bright side, the Marines are testing new lightweight tropical boots and full digital MARPAT green cammies