Archive for the 'Marine Corps' Category

Sep 2

Tales from a Tarawa Marine

Friday, September 2, 2016 3:05 PM

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Roy Elrod was a first lieutenant when he led his four-gun 37-mm antitank platoon ashore on Tarawa Atoll's Betio Island.

In the course of my duties as the oral historian for the U.S. Marine Corps History Division, I interview Marines, all ranks and all time periods. I was made aware of Lieutenant Colonel Roy H. Elrod in an unusual manner: through family friends from Muleshoe, Texas. This is where I grew up and, coincidentally, where Roy grew up, but about 30 years apart. Now Roy and I live within five miles of each other, but more than 1,500 miles from Muleshoe, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I was quite impressed when I met Roy. Here he was 93 years old; he lived… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 1

John Bradley’s Account of the Iwo Flag Raising

Friday, July 1, 2016 2:11 PM

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Pharmacist's Mate Second Class John Bradley points to one of the Iwo Jima flag raisers he claimed was himself. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

In preparing each issue of Naval History, one of the staff’s regular stops is the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. During a visit there several years ago I came across an account by Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class John Bradley of his role in the famous Iwo Jima flag raising on Mount Suribachi—the subject of Joe Rosenthal’s immortal, iconic photograph, which was the basis for the Marine Corps War Memorial. When news broke questioning Bradley’s role in the flag raising—and presence in the photo—I remembered that account, the transcript of a Navy interview with the corpsman recorded less than three… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 15

The Flying Banana

Monday, February 15, 2016 12:01 AM

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Marines fan out after disembarking from Piasecki HRP-1s during a demonstration at Quantico, Virginia. Twelve of the fabric-covered helicopters served with the Marine Corps between 1948 and 1952. (U.S. Marine Corps)

The Piasecki HRP Rescuer—usually called the “flying banana”—was the first U.S. helicopter developed under a military contract. The nickname came from the “bent” fuselage with overlapping tandem rotors at either end, the latter a characteristic of Piasecki helicopters. The HRP-1 design was the second helicopter developed by Frank N. Piasecki’s P. V. Engineering Forum, the first being a single-seat, single-rotor craft. A privately built Piasecki demonstration helicopter with tandem rotors—designated HRP-X—flew on 7 March 1945. The Navy had ordered two XHRP-1 models on 1 February 1944, with the flight-test aircraft delivered in June 1947. The second XHRP-1 was used for… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 28

The Marine Corps Goes Geodesic

Thursday, January 28, 2016 12:01 AM

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A Marine HRS-1 Helicopter flies away with its own hangar. Quantico, VA, August 3, 1954. Naval Institute Photo Archives.

By the time R. Buckminster Fuller received his patent in June 1954 for a “geodesic, hemispherical structure for enclosing space,” he had already formed a mutually beneficial relationship with a very important client for his new designs: the U.S. Marine Corps. His patent [.pdf]—the geodesic dome—was an ingenious use of engineering to produce a complex yet strong structure out of easy-to-assemble parts. The dome, with a framework of simple materials such as aluminum alloy or paperboard, could be easily erected with little advance training. And most important, it could be done quickly. The Korean War and the importance of mobility… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 4

On Naval History’s Scope

Monday, January 4, 2016 11:17 AM

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Cover-JF-16

Twenty-five years. It’s hard to believe Operation Desert Storm was so long ago. Perhaps that’s because the United States seemingly has been at war in that part of the world ever since. Or maybe because images of the conflict’s high-tech U.S. weapons in action were so indelible. Like many of you, I clearly recall being glued to the TV for much of the conflict. Otto Kreisher, on the other hand, witnessed the war firsthand as a journalist accompanying the U.S. Marines into Kuwait. A former enlisted Leatherneck, Kreisher is the author of the January/February Naval History cover story about the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 5

‘Marquee Title’

Saturday, December 5, 2015 12:01 AM

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Marine Corps Visionary: Lieutenant General Victor H. Krulak, in sunglasses,
and Brigadier General Frederick J. Karch (center) study the terrain atop Hill 327, near
Danang, Vietnam in March 1965.

I require all Marines to read and discuss . . . — LTGEN Brute Krulak’s FIRST TO FIGHT: AN INSIDE VIEW OF THE U.S. MARINE CORPS These words appeared some years back in an “ALMAR” message sent to the entire U.S. Marine Corps by its then-Commandant, General James Conway, in which he described the importance of a Marine Corps reading program and designated FIRST TO FIGHT as the “Marquee Title” of that program. Because the Marine Corps values its heritage so highly, it is likely that many Marines readily knew why he chose this book from the thousands that have… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 11

Ripley at the Bridge

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 12:01 AM

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Charles Waterhouse’s painting depicts Captain John Ripley dangling from the bridge to thwart the advance of the North Vietnamese Army.

As a young man I was fascinated by a tale from ancient Roman history that told of a warrior whose courage was beyond all reason, yet was inspirational as an ideal worth trying to live up to. It is a story, often recounted by Roman authors and later preserved for English literature in a poem by Lord Macaulay that tells us of an Etruscan army marching on Rome, headed for a bridge across the Tiber River that, unless destroyed, would give the enemy access to the capital city itself. Their van will be upon us Before the bridge goes down;… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 15

Navy on the Western Front: The 14″ Railway Guns in WWI

Thursday, October 15, 2015 4:00 AM

By

battery firing

With a clanking rumble and puffs of steam and smoke, the U.S. Navy rolled into Paris in September, 1918. Word of the Navy’s coming had been telegraphed beforehand, and jubilant and curious crowds gathered not on the Seine, but at the railways stations, to witness the spectacle: the Navy had arrived in its own specially-built train, trailing at its end a new gun to rival the Germans’ terrible Paris-Geschütz that had been lobbing death on the city since March. The effectiveness of the German long-range guns on the Western Front (those guns manned by their own German naval crews) convinced… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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