MARINE CORPS HISTORICAL REFERENCE PAMPHLET
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 4TH MARINES
Mr. James S. Santelli
Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps
Washington, D. C. 20380
"A Brief History of the 4th Marines" is a concise narrative of the
regiment since its initial activation over a half century ago. Official
records of the Marine Corps and appropriate historical works were utilized in
compiling this chronicle. It is published for the information of those
interested in the 4th Marines and in the events in which it has participated.
Lieutenant General, U. S. Marine Corps
Chief of Staff
Reviewed and approved: 1 February 1971
This historical reference pamphlet is the seventh of a series concerning
the regiments and aircraft groups which comprise the regular Marine Corps. In
time, it is planned to cover each of the major component units of present day
divisions and aircraft wings in similar fashion. The narrative not only
highlights the significant actions of the 4th Marines, but also furnishes a
general history of Marine Corps activities in which it took part. In briefer
form, it replaces and updates a comprehensive history of the regiment, "Hold
High the Torch," which was published by the Marine Corps in 1960 and is now
out of print.
Final editing and preparation of the manuscript for publication was done
by Henry I. Shaw, Jr., Chief Historian and Head, Histories Branch. Sergeant
Michael L. Gardner typed the final draft. Maps were prepared by Sergeant
Kenneth W. White. All illustrations are official Department of Defense
(Marine Corps) photographs from the files of the Combat Pictorial Branch, G-3
Division of this Headquarters.
F. C. CALDWELL
Colonel, U. S. Marine Corps (Retired)
Director of Marine Corps History
Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James S. Santelli has been a member of the staff of the Historical
Division since June 1967. Presently, he is Head of the Unit Histories Section
of the Historical Reference Branch. He received his B. A. with an emphasis in
modern European history from the University of San Francisco in 1962. Two
years later, he was granted a M. A. in diplomatic history from the same
Table of Contents
Preface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i 4
Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii 6
About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv 7
The Early Years. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 8
The Dominican Republic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 11
China Marines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 18
World War II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 29
Rebirth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 32
Guam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 33
Okinawa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 39
The Postwar Era. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 42
Reactivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 46
Vietnam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 48
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 58
Footnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 59
Commanding Officers, 4th Marines . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 66
Chronology, 4th Marines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 69
Honors of the 4th Marines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 72
4th Marines' Medal of Honor Recipients . . . . . . . . . 67 74
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 4TH MARINES
The Early Years
The 4th Marines is one of the more illustrious and colorful regiments in
the Marine Corps. It has since its activation over a half century ago served
throughout the world with distinction in both war and peace. The regiment was
originally activated on 16 April 1914. Three years earlier, however, a unit
with the numerical designation of 4th Regiment was activated for a very brief
period. This regiment was provisional in nature. The intent behind its
creation in April 1911 was that it be used primarily for expeditionary duty.
It was later redesignated as the Provisional Battalion and then was
deactivated on 12 July 1911.<1> The present 4th Marines, consequently does
not trace its history and lineage back to this organization.
In the spring of 1914, relations between the United States and Mexico had
deteriorated to an extremely low level. A very grave crisis developed early
in April when a number of American sailors from the USS DOLPHIN were seized by
Mexican authorities at Tampico. Although the bluejackets were soon released
with apologies, the Mexicans refused to salute the American flag as demanded
by Rear Admiral Henry T. Mayo, the senior U. S. naval officer present in the
area. Tensions were heightened when 11 days later it was learned that a
German vessel loaded with arms was about to land at Vera Cruz in violation of
an earlier American embargo on such shipments. As a result, on 21 April,
President Woodrow Wilson ordered United States naval forces to land and seize
the customs house at Vera Cruz.<2> American military forces, in addition,
were ordered to concentrate on the border and to embark for waters off Mexico.
One effect of this partial mobilization was the activation of the 4th
Regiment of Marines at Puget Sound, Washington on 16 April 1914. The regiment
was initially composed of the Field and Staff, the 25th, 26th, and 27th Marine
Companies. Colonel Joseph H. Pendleton, who had prior expeditionary command
experience in the Philippines and Nicaragua, was designated as the commanding
officer. Two days after its activation, the 4th Regiment embarked on board
the USS SOUTH DAKOTA and sailed for San Francisco. Upon the warship's arrival
on the 21st, the same day of the landing at Vera Cruz, four companies from
Mare Island joined the regiment. The 31st and 32d Companies embarked on board
the South Dakota while the 34th and 35th Companies embarked on board the
collier Jupiter. The regiment on the following day headed back out to sea,
this time bound for Mexican waters.
With the arrival of the two ships in Mazatlan, the SOUTH DAKOTA was
ordered to proceed further south. On 28 April, it steamed into Acapulco
harbor and dropped anchor.<3> Reinforcements for the regiment arrived in
Mazatlan a week and a half later. The USS WEST VIRGINIA, which carried the
reinforcements, had originally sailed from Puget Sound on 27 April with the
28th Company on board. The 36th Company, which had been at Mare Island,
embarked on the ship at San Francisco on 2 May. The 4th Regiment was now
comprised of 10 companies, all located in Mexican waters.<4>
The Marines maintained their vigil through May and June while preparing
for a possible landing, if the situation ashore warranted it. Although no
landing was necessary, the three ships with the regiment on board kept the
Mexican coast under surveillance by cruising up and down the shoreline. By
the end of June, tensions between Mexico and the United States had
sufficiently eased to allow the withdrawal of the 4th Regiment from Mexican
waters.<5> Thus ended the regiment's first expedition to Latin America, much
to the disappointment of its personnel who had expected to see action.
The 4th Regiment returned to the United States in early July. Home base
for the new unit was established at San Diego, California. Between 7 and 10
July, the regiment disembarked and went into quarters on North Island. There
it remained through the end of the year, being reduced in strength by the
deactivation of the 35th Company in July and the 36th Company in October.<6>
Part of the regiment, the 1st Battalion, was ordered north to Mare Island in
December. The battalion at this time was commanded by Major John T. Myers.
He had gained fame as a hero in the defense of the legations at Peking during
the Boxer Rebellion. Myers later was promoted to the rank of lieutenant
general. The remainder of the regiment, consisting of the Field and Staff,
the 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th Companies, moved into new barracks in San
Major Myers and his men in the following February transferred to San
Francisco to set up a model camp on the grounds of the Panama-Pacific
Exposition. The exposition commemorated the 400th anniversary of Balboa's
discovery of the Pacific Ocean while at the same time it celebrated the
opening of the Panama Canal. San Diego also was observing the opening of the
canal through the establishment of the Panama-California Exposition in that
city. Once again a battalion from the 4th Regiment was asked to set up a
model camp. This request was fulfilled by Major William N. McKelvy's 2d
A new dispute between the United States and Mexico in June 915 threatened
to disrupt the temporary calm in the relations between the two countries.
Such a possibility was occasioned by the threat of marauding Indians to the
lives and property of Americans living in the Mexican state of Sonora. Mexico
Former President T. R. Roosevelt visiting the Panama-California
Exposition in 1915. Colonel J. H. Pendleton, Commanding Officer of
the 4th Regiment, in the background. (USMC Photo #516302).
Marines in combat in the Dominican Republic. (USMC Photo #515027).
not taken any effective measures to prevent the Indians from attacking U. S.
citizens. The American Government responded by dispatching the USS COLORADO
to the west coast of Mexico. On board the cruiser was 2/4, less the 27th
Company which remained in San Diego. The vessel arrived off Guaymas on 20
June. As was the case in the previous year the Marines did not land. After a
month in Mexican waters the COLORADO returned to San Diego, arriving there on
30 July 1915. The battalion, however, did not disembark until 10 August.<8>
A few months later, elements of the regiment were again heading toward
familiar waters. Civil strife caused by Mexican revolutionaries and Yaqui
Indians necessitated the sending of an American force to the vicinity of the
disturbances. On 25 November, the 1st Battalion sailed on board the USS SAN
DIEGO from San Francisco. The regimental headquarters, the 25th, and 28th
Companies boarded the ship for its journey two days later. As ordered, the
San Diego anchored off Topolobampo; thus placing pressure on Mexican
authorities to act to end the threat to American lives and property. The
turmoil ashore, however, had subsided sufficiently by mid-December to allow
for the recall of the Marines. The regiment, upon transferring to the USS
BUFFALO, proceeded north to Guaymas and thence to San Diego. The ship entered
San Diego Bay early in February 1916, and all but the 1st Battalion
disembarked. That battalion then sailed north to San Francisco to pick up its
equipment. It rejoined the regiment shortly thereafter.<9>
The regiment, or elements of it, had in less than a year and a half
embarked three times for expeditionary duty in Mexico. In each case no
landing was required, nor did the regiment engage in combat. This would not
be the case during the unit's next expedition to Latin America.
The Dominican Republic
In the spring of 1916, civil war broke out in the Dominican Republic and
the Dominican Government was powerless to end the strife. The country had for
years experienced something less than domestic tranquility. It had been in
the past subjected to foreign intervention in one form or another as a result
of the chaotic conditions that were continually present in the country.
Intervention was nothing new therefore. The United States felt that the
situation in 1916 could not be tolerated any further. Fears for the safety of
Americans and other foreigners in the country arose among American Government
officials. The Wilson Administration promptly decided to support the
government of President Juan Jimenez, such as it was. American sailors and
Marines from nearby Cuba and Haiti and the United States were ordered to
intervene in May 1916. It was hoped that these forces would
Map of Dominican Republic
eventually bring some stability to the Caribbean nation.
As the Americans entered Santo Domingo, the capital, the rebels withdrew
to Santiago, the second largest city, where a rival government was
established. American authorities in the country called for reinforcements as
the rebels prepared to make a stand. The only Marines that could be spared
were those of the 4th Regiment. On 6 June, the entire regiment entrained at
San Diego for New Orleans. It boarded the USS Hancock three days later and
sailed immediately for the troubled country.<10> Colonel Pendleton, upon the
arrival of the regiment in Dominican waters, was designated commander of all
naval forces operating ashore. His command included a number of ships'
detachments and separate companies that already were deployed. The 4th
Regiment subsequently made its initial landing at Monte Cristi on 21 June
1916. Preparations were promptly begun for a drive on Santiago which was held
by rebel leader Desiderio Arias.
The advance on the city was begun on the 26th and was spearheaded by the
regiment. Two columns moved toward Santiago from two different points. The
main column, which included the 4th Regiment reinforced by artillery, departed
Monte Cristi by road. The other column which included the 4th and 9th
Companies of Marines and the Marine Detachments from the New Jersey and the
Rhode island left by train from the coastal town of Puerto Plata. This latter
column under Major Hiram (Hiking Hiram) Bearss was to link up with Pendleton's
force at Navarette for the final phase of the drive on Santiago.
During the first day of the operation, Colonel Pendleton's column made
exceptionally good progress -- advancing approximately 20 miles while
encountering only a few scattered snipers. The first enemy fortifications,
known as Las Trencheras, were encountered at the end of the first day. A
strong force of rebels was entrenched in two lines along this ridge which
dominated the road that the Marines had to march over.
Pendleton began preparations for the seizure of the position but delayed
his attack until the following morning. A frontal assault was ordered.
Pendleton brought up his artillery to cover the first line of trenches while a
machine gun company was emplaced in a flanking position. The regiment, after
working its way forward to effective firing positions, was drawn up in a line
for the assault. With support from the artillery battery and from the machine
guns, the infantry charged the enemy lines, only to be halted temporarily by
heavy defending fire. The assault, however, was continued after fixed
bayonets were ordered. This time the Marines were successful in forcing the
rebels to withdraw from the first line of trenches.
After falling back to their second line of defense, the
rebels were also forced in due course to flee from this line. Accurate Marine
rifle fire had weakened the Dominicans' disposition toward any further
resistance. Las Trencheras was seized by the Leathernecks at the cost to the
regiment of one killed and four wounded. Five enemy bodies were found later;
however, the natives reported the rebel losses were much greater. This
encounter with rebel Dominicans was the first actual combat engagement for the
4th Regiment and it more than adequately met the test of its combat
effectiveness. The significance of this battle lies in the fact that this was
the first experience of Marines advancing with the support of modern artillery
and machine guns.<11>
On the 28th, the Marines resumed their march as the rebels continued to
withdraw to their stronghold at Santiago. The rebels in their retreat burned
and destroyed a number of bridges while harassing the column with light
attacks. One such probe occurred that evening. A rebel patrol struck at a
Marine machine gun outpost but was easily repulsed with the Marines only
suffering one wounded. Two more clashes occurred two days later. Marine
casualties were again very light -- one killed.<12> In these brief encounters
the Dominicans had refused to make a stand. The next engagement proved to be
Information had been obtained to the effect that rebels were waiting for
the Marines on a fortified ridge that bisected the road at Guayacanas.
Pendleton ordered his Marines to advance against the position on 3 July 1916.
The 26th Company drew the first fire from rebel outposts at 0800. The column
was halted by Colonel Pendleton. The 1st and 2d Battalions of the 4th
Regiment were brought up and ordered to attack. As the Marines pushed
forward, they came under long range enemy rifle fire, necessitating the
call-up of machine guns for support. The fighting continued until about noon
when the Dominicans, who apparently had no stomach for further combat,
abandoned their fortifications to the Marines.
As it turned out, this became the final engagement for the regiment
before its entry into Santiago. Casualties for the Leathernecks amounted to
one killed and eight wounded. Rebel casualties could not be determined. The
battle was important in the history of the 4th Marines insofar as the regiment
subsequently acquired its first Medal of Honor recipient. First Sergeant
Roswell Winans, while manning his machine gun, displayed such exceptional
valor that he was later awarded the nation's highest military honor. Sergeant
Winans obtained his award for the bravado that he demonstrated when for a time
he single-handedly raked enemy lines with his weapon. Then, when the gun
jammed, he set about clearing it in full view of the Dominicans without regard
to his personal safety.<13>
On Independence Day, the column, after a rather uneventful
Marines in front of Headquarters of the 4th Regiment in Santiago,
Dominican Republic, July 1916. (USMC Photo #515281).
day's march except for an exchange of fire with a mounted enemy patrol,
reached Navarette and joined forces with Major Bearss' detachment.<14> After
sending the wounded back to the coast via the railroad, Pendleton, on 5 July,
now with the two columns combined, moved out toward his final objective --
Santiago. The rebels by this time were fairly-well demoralized following
their unsuccessful encounters with the Marines. With the Americans
approaching the city, a "peace commission" rode out from Santiago to parley
with Colonel Pendleton. The Dominicans withdrew after a futile attempt was
made to get him to delay his entry into the city. Pendleton decided to move
quickly to occupy Santiago so as not to give the enemy time to reorganize its
defense. He ordered his forces forward that night; by sunrise the Dominicans
arose to find the Marines looking down on them from El Castillo, a hill which
dominates the approaches to the city. The rebels wasted no time in arranging
for the peaceful entry of the Marines. That afternoon, Santiago and its
outlying defensive strongpoints -- Castillo and Fortaleza San Luis -- were
occupied by Pendleton's Marines.<15>
Following the completion of the American occupation of the country in
July, the Dominicans still continued to quarrel over the establishment of a
cohesive government. This continued disunity led to the formation on 29
November 1916 of an American military government in the Dominican Republic.
The country was then divided into zones for occupation purposes by the newly
activated 2d Marine Brigade of which the 4th Regiment was a component unit.
The 4th Regiment was assigned to the northern zone. Its primary mission was
that of maintaining law and order. Regimental headquarters was established at
Santiago with the numbered companies located elsewhere.
Most Dominicans complied with the provisions of the military government.
In San Francisco de Macoris, however, the situation was somewhat different.
Juan Perez, the provisional governor, and a band of followers had occupied a
local fort and refused to lay down their arms. This was a direct violation of
the directives that were promulgated by the military government. In the town,
some 30 miles southeast of Santiago, were two companies of the 4th Regiment:
the 31st and the 47th. First Lieutenant Ernest C. Williams, the commanding
officer, decided to forcibly oust the Dominicans from their stronghold after
they refused to evacuate their positions. Williams and 12 enlisted men on the
night of 29 November crept as close to the entrance of the fort as possible
without arousing suspicion. On a signal from Lieutenant Williams, the men
made a dash for the open gate. The Dominicans, taken by surprise, were unable
to slam the gate closed. The rebels were nonetheless able to let loose with a
fusilade from the fort which cut down eight of the Marines in their rush for
the gate. Williams and the remaining four men pushed their way through the
entrance, firing their weapons as they burst into the fort. Within 10 minutes
the fort was secured and the fight was over; the
Dominicans had either fled or surrendered. First Lieutenant Williams received
the Medal of Honor for his leadership in the battle. This engagement was the
last organized resistance that the 4th Regiment faced in the Dominican
Republic, although minor patrol actions continued to occur for some time.<16>
Second Brigade units supported the military government for the next six
years by garrisoning the country and carrying out the policies of the regime.
One of the most important tasks of the Marines was suppression of banditry
which at times was both difficult and frustrating for the Leathernecks.
Organized banditry did not cease until mid-1922. After persistent and
continuous efforts by the brigade, the most active bandit leaders by that year
had either surrendered or had been captured or killed.<17> The 4th Regiment
and the entire brigade had for years been actively occupied in disarming the
general populace while attampting to control banditry. By July 1922, the 2d
Brigade had collected about 53,000 firearms; 200,000 rounds of ammunition; and
some 14,000 cutting weapons.<18>
American authorities and Dominican representatives eventually agreed in
June 1922 to the withdrawal of United States forces from the country. A
principal provision of this agreement was the creation of a provisional
government to rule the nation until a duly elected one was established. On 21
October 1922, the Provisional Government took office in the Dominican Republic
and, as a result, all civil functions were transferred to it from the American
occupation forces. The 2d Brigade subsequently became a garrison force
only.<19> The 4th Regiment as part of the American garrison remained in the
Dominican Republic for almost two more years until elected government took
office. The Provisional Government was replaced on 12 July 1924 with the
swearing in of Horacio Vasquez as President. The American occupation was
terminated shortly thereafter.<20> During the eight years that the 2d Brigade
served in the country, its units were able to bring to the Dominican Republic
a stability that had not been known for some time. Banditry and rebellion had
been supppressed while relative peace and calm returned. Brigade casualties
resulting from hostile action amounted to 16 killed and 54 wounded during this
Even before official liquidation of the American presence, the 4th
Regiment began preparatory moves to leaving the country. It was reduced in
strength, and the personnel that remained were then organized into three
lettered companies: A, B, and C. Company D, which consisted of personnel
from other brigade units, was added later.<22> On 7 August 1924, the 4th
Regiment, with over eight years of continuous duty in the Dominican Republic,
departed and sailed from Santo Domingo on board the USS HENDERSON. The ship
docked at San Diego, California, 18 days later. The regiment immediately
disembarked and went into quarters at its old home.<23> A reorgan-
ization soon took place with personnel from the deactivated 7th Regiment
transferring to the 4th Regiment. This was followed by an intensive training
program which included maneuvers in Hawaii.<24>
Other than participating in training exercises the regiment's routine was
normal for peacetime. One exception occurred, however, on 1 July 1925 when
the 2d Battalion, consisting of 15 officers and 299 enlisted men, was ordered
to Santa Barbara, California to aid local authorities. An earthquake had
severely damaged the city. The battalion, besides rendering general
assistance to the townspeople, assisted civilian officials in restoring order,
guarding property, and preventing looting.<25> That fall saw a new
structuring of the regiment with the addition of a third battalion which was
activated on 1 October 1925. The new battalion's existence, at this time, was
fairly short, for on 6 July 1926 the 3d Battalion was deactivated.<26>
The 4th Regiment in 1926 was again called upon to perform a peacekeeping
mission. The Marine Corps for the second time during the 1920s had orders to
protect the United States mail. Following a series of mail robberies, the
Federal Government on 20 October 1926 directed the Marine Corps to furnish
units for mail guard duty. The country was divided into two zones with the
4th Regiment designated as the Western Mail Guards. Brigadier General Smedley
D. Butler with his headquarters in San Francisco was placed in charge of the
Western Zone. Units of the 4th Regiment were deployed throughout the western
states. Fourth Regiment Marines not only performed guard service on trains
and trucks carrying the mail but were also detailed to guard post offices and
The employment of Marines as mail guards caused the number of mail
robberies to drop sharply within a very brief space of time. On 10 January
1927, elements of the 4th Regiment began returning to San Diego. Withdrawal
was completed in February with the last unit of the regiment arriving back at
San Diego on the 24th.<27>
Threats to the security of the International Settlement in Shanghai,
China early in 1927 earmarked the 4th Regiment for a new and more colorful
period in its history. With its stationing in Shanghai the regiment became
known throughout the Marine Corps as the "China Marines."<*> Personnel of the
<*> During the 4th's tour in China six "China Marines" later went on to
become Commandant of the Marine Corps: Alexander
4th Regiment for nearly 15 years protected American interests and maintained
the American presence in Shanghai without ever having to resort to actual
combat, although the situation in the city was at times extremely critical.
China had for years been troubled by internal disorders and civil wars.
During times of crisis events in China often took on an anti-foreign tinge,
prompting the call by foreign nationals for intervention by their governments
on their behalf. The United States itself was not adverse to intervening, for
on a number of occasions Marines and sailors landed to provide protection for
American citizens and their property. In the mid-1920s, fighting broke out
between opposing Chinese factions around the city of Shanghai which contained
the largest foreign settlement in China. Twice in 1925 Marines landed to
protect American interests. Two years later, a more serious threat loomed
over Shanghai and the foreign interests located within the international
Settlement of the city. Nationalist Chinese forces in early 1927 were pushing
toward the city and crushing all those who opposed their advance.
This caused consternation not only in the local Chinese community but also in
the foreign settlement, because historically the defenders of a Chinese city
when threatened with imminent defeat would loot the city and then abandon it
to the opposing side who would in turn loot what remained. The fears of the
foreign element in Shanghai were intensified, moreover, by the reputation of
the Nationalists, especially the Communist faction, for being violently
opposed to foreigners and their interests. Old China hands recalled the
fanatic outbursts of the Boxers and urged their governments to send forces to
Shanghai to protect them and their interests. In addition, officials of those
countries who already had forces stationed in the city requested that their
garrisons be reinforced.
The United States, feeling that the situation warranted intervention,
ordered the transfer of about 340 Marines from Guam to Shanghai.<28> Their
arrival in February did nothing to quiet the fears of American citizens. In
the meantime, however, the 4th Regiment following its return from mail guard
duty was dispatched to China. The regiment, less the 2d Battalion, had
embarked on board the USS CHAUMONT and sailed from San Diego on 3 February
1927. On board the transport was Major Alexander A. Vandegrift's 3d Battalion
which had been reactivated on 10 January 1927 at San Diego.
Three weeks after its departure, the CHAUMONT dropped anchor off
Shanghai, but the regiment did not disembark at this time.<29> The State
Department had instructed Clarence Gauss, the consul general in Shanghai, not
to request military aid
A. Vandegrift, Clifton B. Cates, Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr.,
Randolph McC. Pate, David M. Shoup, and Wallace M. Greene, Jr.
until danger to American life and property was well-defined.<30> Immediate
criticism was forthcoming from American citizens and other nationalities,
because of the reluctance of American authorities to permit the deployment of
the regiment.<31> Nonetheless, the regiment was not permitted to land,
although fighting around the International Settlement increased in intensity
after the 4th's arrival. On 21 March, the Municipal Council of the
International Settlement finally declared a state of emergency. This was the
justification that American officials needed. Consul General Gauss approved
the landing of the 4th Regiment that same day.
Once ashore, the regiment's initial mission became one of reinforcing the
Marines already in Shanghai in the prevention of rioting and mob violence
within the American sector.<32> Its main concern was protecting American
lives and property. In so doing, the regiment cooperated with the forces of
seven other nations in the protection of the International Settlement. The
4th Regiment was assigned to help maintain internal security along with
Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch units. The Marines set up check points and
established roving patrols in the eastern and western sectors of the zone.
The regiment was limited to internal defense since its orders specified that
it was not to come into conflict with Chinese troops. It was, therefore, not
deployed at the barricades along the perimeter of the zone. But on several
occasions, British and Italian forces manning the barricades asked and
received machine gun support from elements of the regiment when the fighting
threatened to spill over into the International Settlement. The foreign
powers were determined to prevent the warring factions from entering their
sectors of the city. The British, in applying this policy, were forced to
open fire on those Chinese soldiers who attempted to break through the
Settlement's defense lines. Although the 4th Regiment furnished support to
the British, the Marines at no time found it necessary to open fire.<33>
A few days after the landing of the 4th Regiment, Brigadier General
Smedley D. Butler, a veteran of the Boxer Rebellion, arrived in Shanghai to
take command of all Marine forces ashore. Butler's command was originally
designated as the Marine Corps Expeditionary Force, Asiatic Fleet. The
Expeditionary Battalion which had landed on 9 February was attached on 1 April
to the 4th Regiment with the designation of Provisional Battalion. Shortly
thereafter, on 4 April, the Expeditionary Force was redesignated as the 3d
Marine Brigade.<34> The original instructions of the 4th Regiment, the main
element of the brigade, were subsequently amplified by General Butler who now
gave the regiment more leeway in accomplishing its mission. He specifically
ordered the Marines to support the perimeter defenses, if necessary, to
prevent a breakthrough.<35>
The American Government, fearing additional disorders in other parts of
China, ordered more reinforcements to the country in April. On the 17th, the
3d Battalion, 6th Regiment; 1st Battalion, 10th Regiment; the 2d Battalion,
4th Regiment, which had remained behind in California; and a number of smaller
units sailed from San Diego on board the SS PRESIDENT GRANT, arriving at
Olongapo in the Philippines on 4 May 1927. Upon arrival, 2/4 and 3/6 formed
the nucleus of the Provisional Regiment. The newly activated regiment
remained, however, in the Philippines for over a month before deploying to
China. It finally sailed on board the Chaumont for the Asian mainland on 10
June. Although the regiment did enter the port of Shanghai, its final
destination was elsewhere. Two and a half weeks after its departure, the
Chaumont disembarked the Provisional Regiment at Tientsin, China to strengthen
American forces in that area.<36>
As the Provisional Regiment was leaving the Philippines, the situation in
Shanghai was improving considerably. Fighting had ceased and the foreign
troops were pulled back from their defensive positions. The 4th Regiment
discontinued its patrolling in May and began assuming the responsibilities
associated with garrison duty.<37> The integrity of the International
Settlement had been preserved and maintained through the coordinated efforts
of British, Japanese, Italian, American, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch
military units and the Shanghai Volunteer Corps; no major intrusion into the
zone by the warring Chinese occurred. The French had manned their own
separate defenses in their concession and did not bring their sector into the
overall defense scheme.
The easing of the threat to the International Settlement caused a
reduction in strength for the 4th Regiment. During October 1927, two of its
units went out of existence. On 4 October, the 2d Battalion at Tientsin was
redesignated as the 2d Battalion, 12th Regiment. (With this redesignation
2/4's lineage and honors were transferred to 2/12. However, a new 2/4 would
be activated in the future, but for lineage and honors purposes it would in no
way be connected to the old 2d Battalion, 4th Regiment.) Three days after the
2d Battalion ceased to exist the Provisional Battalion was deactivated.<38>
Shanghai for the next few years was relatively peaceful, and garrison
duty for the 4th Regiment passed uneventfully. One unique fact stands out
during this periods -- the creation of the Fessenden Fifes and the subsequent
establishment of close ties with the 1st Battalion, Green Howards, a famous
British regiment. Under the auspices of Sterling Fessenden, the American
chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council and Civil Commandant of the
Shanghai Volunteer Corps, a number of musical instruments were given to the
4th Regiment in late 1927 as a token of appreciation for its service during
the previous crisis. The instruments were intended for use in the
Fessenden Fifes of the 4th Marines with members of the
Green Howards in Shanghai, China. (USMC Photo #515703).
A 4th Marines' machine gun unit in defensive position in
Shanghai during the 1932 crisis. (USMC Photo #527757).
formation of a fife and drum corps. The 4th Regiment, as a result, became the
only unit in the Marine Corps to be equipped with a fife and drum corps, known
as the Fessenden Fifes in honor of Sterling Fessenden. The Marines were
taught to play the instruments by fifers and drummers of the Green Howards
which was also stationed in Shanghai, thus cementing the close relationship
between the two regiments which had been established during the emergency
earlier that year. After the withdrawal of the Green Howards, the commanding
officers of both regiments would exchange annual greetings to commemorate
their service together in Shanghai.<39>
Continuing with its policy of reducing its forces in China, the United
States ordered the evacuation of the 3d Marine Brigade in early 1928. The 4th
Regiment was detached on 14 January, and a few days later most of those
Marines who had been a part of the brigade with the exception of the 4th
Regiment departed China.<40> The regiment, after three years in China,
received its present designation; it was redesignated as the 4th Marines on 13
February 1930. Numbered companies in both battalions were redesignated as
letter companies on the same day.
The security of the International Settlement was once again threatened in
early 1932. The occasion for this new disturbance of the peace in the
Shanghai area had its origins in the previous September when Japanese forces
stationed in Manchuria began the outright seizure of the region. Defeated on
the battlefield in the fall of 1931, the Chinese resorted to other measures to
oppose the taking of Manchuria; the most effective being an economic boycott
of all Japanese goods and products. The boycott was most noticeable in
Shanghai -- it was a center of anti-Japanese feeling. Hostility between
Chinese and Japanese civilians erupted into bloody clashes between the two
groups in January 1932. In retaliation, the Japanese garrison in the city
attacked regular Chinese Army units in neighboring Chapei.<41> The Shanghai
Municipal Council on 28 January 1932 declared a state of emergency and
requested the 4th Marines be used in guarding the boundaries of the
International Settlement. The regiment was deployed immediately along Soochow
Creek, the dividing line between the zone and Chapei. Elements of the
regiment also assisted the civilian police in patrolling the Settlement as was
the case in 1927. The mission assigned to the 4th Marines was one of
preventing the fighting from spilling over into the zone.
In early February, the garrison in Shanghai was reinforced by the arrival
of Marines from the Philippines and from the Marine detachment on board the
USS HOUSTON. The Army's 31st Infantry, moreover, was ordered to China to
strengthen American forces there. Fighting between the antagonists in the
meanwhile continued throughout the month. The regiment's defensive positions
were constantly exposed to fire from both sides. The
Map of Defense Sectors in Shanghai - 1937
conflict raged so close to the Marines' line that stray shells fell regularly
within the American sector. Fortunately, no casualties were sustained
although a number of narrow escapes were reported by regimental personnel.
Open warfare between the Japanese and the Chinese was halted on 3 March
1932 after the latter withdrew from Chapei.<42> An agreement reached between
the two combatants in May stipulated that Chinese forces would remain where
they were while the Japanese, on the other hand, would return to the positions
they had occupied prior to 28 January. Consequently, the Municipal Council on
13 June 1932 declared the state of emergency officially ended. The defensive
positions established in January were abandoned and those units still
deployed, including elements of the 4th Marines, were withdrawn. Internal
security patrols were also stopped. The regiment subsequently resumed normal,
routine garrison duties. Later that year, the Commandant of the Marine Corps,
Major General Ben H. Fuller, praised the regiment for upholding "the highest
traditions of the Marine Corps" by its conduct during the crisis.<43>
With the return of the 31st Infantry to the Philippines in June, the
commander in chief of the Asiatic Fleet recommended that the 4th Marines be
brought up to full strength so that it could effectively control the American
sector of the International Settlement, thus negating the necessity of calling
upon the Army for additional forces in times of crises.<44> A 2d Battalion was
therefore activated on 18 September 1932 following approval of the
recommendation. Personnel for the new battalion were drawn from the other
battalions in the regiment and from the United States<45>. For the first time
in five years the 4th Marines was a three-battalion-size regiment, but this
structure was not permanent in nature. The 4th Marines again reverted to a
two battalion organization with the deactivation of the 3d Battalion on 19
No noteworthy events interrupted the tranquil nature of the regiment's
garrison duties for the next few years, except for an interlude when it
performed guard duty on board ships plying the Yangtze River. Small
detachments of Marines from the regiment were placed on board vessels of the
Yangtze Rapid Steamship Company from late November 1933 until July 1935. The
Leathernecks were ordered to protect these ships on their voyages to the
interior of the country and to repel any attacks by Chinese river pirates.
Once the threat of piracy eased in 1935, the Marine detachments were
Five years after the termination of Sino-Japanese warfare around
Shanghai, another confrontation between the belligerents foreshadowed new
dangers to the security of the city. From 1932 onwards, Japan, utilizing
Manchuria as a base, continually
made encroachments on Chinese territory in north China in an effort to bring
more area under its influence. Japanese in-roads into China proper led to a
clash between Japanese and Chinese forces at the Marco Polo Bridge near
Peiping on 7 July 1937. The battle was used as an excuse by Japan to send
more troops to China. The outbreak of open hostilities was inevitable. As
tensions mounted, two members of the Japanese military were killed in Shanghai
by a Chinese. Japan retaliated by sending a number of warships to the city;
the landing of troops followed. The Nationalist Government in the meantime
began its own movement of troops to the beleagured city. Bitter fighting
eventually broke out between the two antagonists.
The 4th Marines was once again deployed along Soochow Creek at the time
of the actual outbreak of fighting. The defense of the International
Settlement was coordinated with the other powers as was the case in previous
crises. The 4th Marines was ordered to prevent both belligerents from
entering the American sector "by means other than rifle fire." Gunfire could
only be used as a last resort.<48> Recalling the crisis of 1932 and feeling
that the present crisis could have disastrous consequences, the American
Government decided to send reinforcements. The 2d Marine Brigade under
Brigadier General John C. Beaumont, former commanding officer of the 4th
Marines, sailed from San Diego in late August. The brigade, arrriving at
Shanghai on 19 September, was composed principally of the following
organizations: the headquarters element; Battery F, 2d Marine Anti-Aircraft
Battalion; and the 1st and 2d Battalions, 6th Marines. The 4th Marines was
attached to the brigade on the 20th.<49>
Heavy fighting between Japanese and Chinese forces in Shanghai persisted
throughout September and October. After well over a month of continual
employment in defensive positions along the perimeter, the regiment was
relieved on 23 September by other 2d Brigade units. While on the perimeter,
personnel from the 4th Marines had constantly been exposed to the danger of
small arms fire and stray shells and bombs. Re-deployment of the regiment
back along the front lines came after a 10-day rest period. Fighting around
Shanghai ended a month later with Japan in full control of the surrounding
territory.<50> The 2d Marine Brigade, less the 4th Marines, was withdrawn as
an uneasy peace settled over the city. The 4th Marines, as in the past,
became the sole protector of American interests in Shanghai following the
departure of the brigade on 17 February 1938.<51>
Although fighting in the area had ceased, tensions in the International
Settlement did not fully subside. Japan, with its jurisdiction of territory
adjacent to the city now assured, began a campaign to undermine the position
of the Western Powers in the International Settlement. The main concern of
4th Marines on parade in Shanghai, China in 1937. (USMC Photo #521007).
Lieutenant Colonel Herman Anderson and the staff of 2/4
on Corregidor in early 1942. (USMC Photo #58736).
the 4th Marines thus became one of the thwarting any Japanese attempt to
change to status quo of the American sector. A Japanese move in this
direction would probably result in little or no assistance to the 4th marines
from the other foreign military contingents, because of their reduction in
strength. The situation became more dubious and uncertain with the outbreak
of war in Europe in 1939. The value of Italian troops in preserving the
integrity of the zone was doubtful because of Italy's membership along with
Japan in the Axis alliance. The summer of 1940 saw a worsening of conditions
as Italy was now involved in a shooting war with Great Britain and France. In
Shanghai as the French garrison on orders from the Vichy Government was
neutralized from use in opposition to the Japanese. Two months later Britain
withdrew her forces because of pressing needs elsewhere.<52> The 4th Marines,
therefore, became the only obstacle in japan's designs on the International
The United States seriously began considering the evacuation of its
forces from China following the growth of Japanese power and hegemony in the
country. Admiral Thomas C. Hart, commander in chief of the Asiatic Fleet,
felt that war was inevitable and began pulling out those units under his
command that were in exposed positions along the Chines coast. He also
recommended that the 4th marines be withdrawn from Shanghai but no action was
taken on this suggestion.<53> By September 1941, conditions in China were so
grave that officials in Shanghai strongly urged the evacuation of all naval
personnel from north China, including the 4th marines. Information had been
obtained indicating the Japanese military intended within a short time to
seize the entire International Settlement. Incidents were planned by the
Japanese so as to give them an excuse to move troops into the American sector.
The regiment was placed on alert and ordered to watch for terrorists.<54>
Washington finally consented to the withdrawal of the 4th Marines in the
fall because of the increasingly perilous situation and the untenable position
of the regiment. Permission for the evacuation was received on 10 November
1941. Plans for its departure that had been drawn up previously were
immediately put into effect. The first contingent, consisting of the 1st
Battalion and part of the Headquarters, embarked on the newly arrived
PRESIDENT MADISON and sailed for the Philippines 17 days, 28 November, the
rest of the regiment boarded the PRESIDENT HARRISON and also sailed for the
Philippines.<55> The era of the "China Marines" thus came to an end.
World War II
The first echelon arrived at Subic Bay on 30 November, followed the next
day by the second. The regiment, shortly after the completion of its transfer
to the Philippines, was given the responsibility of protecting the Olongapo
Naval Station and the naval base at Mariveles. With war immediately on the
horizon, the 4th Marines began frantic preparations to make itself ready for
that possibility. Although war was expected, it broke out earlier than had
been anticipated. Japan launched a sneak attack on the Philippines on 8
December 1941 to coincide with its strike at Pearl Harbor. These attacks,
initially, were in the form of bombing and strafing runs on American
installations. It was not until four days after the beginning of hostilities
that the regiment first engaged the Japanese. Enemy planes made their first
attack on Olongapo on the 12th and were met by fire from the Marines' rifles
and .30 caliber machine guns, the only weapons available to the regiment.<56>
While air raids against Olongapo continued, the Japanese pressed forward
with a ground attack on Manila. They originally landed on Luzon on the 10th.
A major assault occurred 12 days later when the enemy came ashore in the
Lingayen Gulf area. Manila's capture appeared inevitable. When the enemy
neared the city the 4th Marines, now under Army control, was ordered to
evacuate its positions at Olongapo. Christmas Eve witnessed the beginning of
the destruction of all installations and the withdrawal to Mariveles where the
1st Battalion had been deployed since 8 December. The regiment's move to
Mariveles was subsequently followed by its transfer to Corregidor, the island
fortress off the southern tip of Bataan.<57> The Marines were immediately
given the task of preparing beach defenses on the island, a mission originally
entrusted to the Army. As the enemy bombed Corregidor, the Marines worked day
and night on strengthening its defensive installations. Antiboat booms were
constructed, mines laid, tank traps and trenches dug, and barbed wire strung
at potential landing sites.<58>
Once the war had started the regiment's composition and structure was
altered. The regiment, which had been understrength for some time, was
greatly increased in size. The Marine Barracks at Olongapo was deactivated
and its personnel were transferred to the 4th Marines on the 22d of December.
The regiment was again reinforced the day after Christmas by the arrival of
the 1st Separate Battalion which had been guarding Cavite. This battalion was
redesignated as the 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, making the regiment a three-
battalion-size organization for the first time in seven years.<60> It
continued to expand in size over the next four months, thus becoming one of
the strangest military organizations in Marine Corps history. Most of the
additional personnel came from the Army,
Map of Corregidor Island
Navy, and Philippine units. Members of the strengthened 4th Marines
represented all segments of U. S. and Philippine military services. The
regiment by mid-April 1942 had increased in size to five battalions. The
Reserve Battalion was activated on 19 February and the 4th Battalion was
activated on 9 April. This latter battalion was composed almost entirely of
As the weeks passed, the 4th Marines and other units garrisoning
Corregidor realized the hopelessness of the situation when it became clear
that no relief force would be forthcoming. The 4th Marines' mission of
defending the beaches gained new importance as the Japanese moved down the
Bataan Peninsula. Originally, the beach defenses were assigned as follows:
the 1st Battalion maintained the eastern sector of the island which included
the important Malinta Hill complex, the site of General Douglas MacArthur's
headquarters and later Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright's
headquarters for U. S. forces in the Philippines; the 3d Battalion was
entrusted with the middle sector; and the 2d Battalion held the western
sector. Headquarters and Service Companies functioned in the beginning as a
general reserve.<62> The activation of two more battalions strengthened the
reginent's defensive position. The general reserve, which was composed mainly
of personnel from the Headquarters and Service Companies, was reorganized in
February. New personnel were added to this force and it became the Reserve
Battalion. This battalion and 4/4 were subsequently employed as a regimental
On Bataan, American and Philippine forces were valiantly trying to stem
the Japanese tide that was sweeping down the peninsula. The inevitability of
defeat, however, was more than apparent by the beginning of April. American
commanders, feeling that further resistance was useless in the face of the
continued enemy offensive, surrendered their forces on 9 April. Only a small
percentage of the defenders of Bataan managed to escape to Corregidor. Among
these were a few members of the 4th Marines who had been previously detached
in January for service on Bataan. The fall of the peninsula now brought new
pressures to bear on Corregidor. For months it had been subjected to repeated
enemy air strikes. The Japanese, with Bataan secured, not only stepped up
these attacks but brought in artillery and subjected the isolated American
bastion to a heavy bombardment. A virtual rain of shells and bombs saturated
the island during April, resulting in the destruction of most beach defenses.
The likelihood of an amphibious assault became much more pronounced by May.
Following an unusually heavy bombardment, Japanese landing craft began
moving toward Corregidor on the evening of 5 May 1942. The enemy made his
first landing at 2300 on North Point, followed by further landings to the west
of the Point; all took place in 1/4's sector. Despite heavy resistance by the
ion and severe losses to the Japanese, the enemy was able to acquire a toehold
on the island. The 1st Battalion doggedly resisted the advance; nonetheless,
the Japanese were able to push forward, severing communications within the
area and cutting off elements of the battalion from those positions defending
Malinta Hill. The Reserve Battalion, as a result, was ordered to the area to
aid the beleagured 1st Battalion. The Reserve Battalion, after moving up to
the line of battle, launched three unsuccessful counterattacks. All took
place in the area around Denver Battery, a strategic American antiaircraft gun
position which stood on high ground south of Cavalry Point and which had been
overrun by the enemy. Colonel Samuel L. Howard, the 4th Marines' commanding
officer, committed the 4th Battalion to the battle following the failure of
the first three assaults. Another counterattack was launched at daybreak;
this time it was spearheaded by 4/4. The attack at first gained some ground
but stalled when the Japanese began landing tanks on the beachhead. Once the
American attack had faltered the Japanese unleashed a terrific artillery
bombardment on the Marines' lines from nearby Bataan.
The situation grew more perilous for the Marines by mid-morning, although
2/4 and 3/4 had not yet been committed. Concern over possible new landings in
other areas prescribed the necessity of maintaining these units in their
positions and not employing them in the battle. No major landings, however,
occurred that morning; the Japanese instead concentrated on expanding the
beachhead that had already been seized. The enemy continued to push towards
Malinta Hill; General Wainwright's headquarters was in jeopardy. The
situation grew worse when it was learned that the Marine defenders' ammunition
was almost exhausted and all their heavy guns had been destroyed.<64>
Feeling that further resistance was useless and fearing a possible massacre of
1,000 sick and wounded personnel in Malinta Tunnel, General Wainwright decided
to surrender. At 1200 the surrender went into effect.<65> Isolated pockets
of Marines, however, continued fighting for four more hours until the
surrender order reached them. Colonel Howard, in the meantime, ordered the
national and regimental colors of the 4th Marines burned to prevent their
capture. He then led his men into captivity. As of noon on 6 May 1942, the
4th Marines temporarily ceased to exist.
The capture of the regiment forced it into a state of limbo, but the
Marine Corps had no intention of permanently relegating such an illustrious
unit to history: The 4th Marines was slated for rebirth! Accordingly, it was
reborn on 1 February 1944 when it was reconstituted from units of the 1st
Raider Regiment. This unit itself was formed by the consoli-
dation of four separate raider battalions. These battalions had originally
been activated in 1942 and were organized and trained for commando-type
operations. The raider battalions were subsequently employed in this capacity
on Makin Island, on Guadalcanal, in the Central Solomons, and on Bougainville.
But by the beginning of 1944, the need for the specialized services of the
raiders had ceased to exist. It had been superseded by the demand for
additional regular infantry regiments.<67>
Partly as a result of fulfilling the requirement for more infantry
regiments and partly because of the desire to preserve the 4th Marines lineage
and honors, this regiment was reactivated on Guadalcanal by the following
changes in designation: the Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Raider
Regiment became Headquarters and Service Company, 4th Marines; the 1st
Battalion, 1st Raider Regiment became the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines; the 4th
Battalion, 1st Raider Regiment became the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines; and the
3d Battalion, 1st Raider Regiment became the 3d Battalion, 4th Marines. The
2d Battalion, 1st Raider Regiment was deactivated and its personnel were
absorbed by the newly activated Regimental Weapons Company of the 4th Marines.
<68> This reactivation was unique insofar as the lineage and honors of both
the "old" 4th Marines and the 1st Raider Regiment were passed on to this new
The first mission for the 4th Marines after its rebirth was the seizure
of Emirau Island in the St. Mathias Group. The objective of this operation
was the construction of airfields so that American planes could more easily
bomb the huge Japanese base at Rabaul. The regiment, having been recently
attached to the I Marine Amphibious Corps, sailed from Guadalcanal on 17
March. Three days later, it reached its destination and began landing on the
island. The Leathernecks having moved inland found no traces of the enemy but
learned from the natives that the Japanese had withdrawn some time earlier.
The regiment was relieved after a brief stay and was back on Guadalcanal by
mid-April. Its return was followed by its assignment along with the 22d
Marines to the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade for participation in the
forthcoming campaign for the recapture of Guam.<69>
Guam was important from the standpoint that its recapture (it had been
seized by the Japanese on 10 December 1941) would provide the United States
with air bases to attack Japan while also affording a good anchorage for the
Navy. Major General Roy S. Geiger's III Amphibious Corps, with the 3d Marine
Division and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade as its major components, was
given the task of retaking the island. The
Map of the island of Guam
Army's 77th Infantry Division was initially designated as a floating reserve.
The 4th Marines, reinforced by supporting elements, embarked on Navy
vessels at Guadalcanal in early June 1944 and began the long journey to the
Marianas. Units of the invasion force on board ships of Naval Task Force 53
finally appeared off Guam on the morning of 21 July. For days prior to the
landing on the island, Guam had been subjected to the heaviest naval air and
surface preparatory bombardment yet delivered in the Pacific. Unexpectedly
heavy casualties in the landings on Saipan had dictated more precautionary
measures for the taking of Guam. That morning the softening-up process
continued until the very landing of the assault force at 0832. The 3d Marine
Division stormed ashore on the west coast of the island between Adelup Point
and Asan Point, while the 1st Brigade landed further south between Bangi Point
and the town of Agat. The 4th Marines, except the 3d Battalion which remained
in reserve, was in the first assault waves that hit the beaches. As the
regiment moved inland it encountered some stiff resistance, resulting in the
ordering ashore of the 3d Battalion.
Regimental units reached the slopes of Mount Alifan by late afternoon.
The advance was halted and preparations were made for an expected enemy
counterattack that evening. The Japanese eventually began probing the
Marines' lines with mortar fire at about midnight. An hour later, the enemy
launched a drive against positions in 3/4's sector causing a breakthrough in
Company K's area. The Leathernecks regrouped and counterattacked only to be
driven off again. A second try to retake the lost ground was made following
the arrival of reinforcements. This time the Marines were able to hold their
ground and were not dislodged by the enemy. In the meantime, the Japanese had
struck the lines of 1/4 but were driven back. They also hit other units of
the brigade including the 22d Marines but were similarily repulsed.
After turning back the Japanese counterattack, the 4th Marines was
ordered to continue its drive on Mount Alifan. The 1st and 3d Battalions
resumed the advance at 0900 on 22 July. The 2d Battalion remained in reserve.
The two battalions in their move up the slopes found the enemy waiting,
entrenched in caves and tunnels. The difficulties in routing out the enemy
were compounded by the rough terrain. The summit was especially rugged; so
much so, that once the pinnacle was reached by the Marines it was found to be
indefensible. The Japanese had apparently made the same analysis as no enemy
forces were found there. Regimental personnel concluded their assault at
nightfall, having already attained their objective -- the crest of the
mountain. They then dug in to await further orders.
Marines moving up with tank support in the drive on Orote
Peninsula during the recapture of Guam. (USMC Photo #91371).
Colonel Allen Shapley, Commanding Officer of the 4th Marines,
pointing out an objective for a forthcoming battle on Okinawa
in May 1945. (USMC Photo #123072).
Two days later, 2/4, which had been in reserve, was committed to assist
the 22d Marines in its sweep across the neck of the Orote Peninsula. There
the Leathernecks found Japanese resistance to be extremely stubborn. Heavy
fighting had weakened the 22d Marines so as to delay temporarily the projected
campaign for the seizure of the peninsula. The other two battalions of the
4th Marines were thus alerted and, subsequently, ordered to move up for
participation in the assault. The Japanese, in the meantime, had failed to
take advantage of the precarious situation along the lines of the 22d Marines.
They failed to counterattack on the night of the 24th but waited until the
following evening to strike at the Marines. By that time, however, the
regiment was far better prepared to meet any counteroffensive. The enemy
attack proved to be a wild, head-long, banzai charge at the 22d Marines'
perimeter. The onslaught was nonetheless beaten back by the Marines with the
Japanese sustaining severe losses. A platoon from Company A, 1/4, which had
been brought up to assist the 22d Marines, was the only unit from the 4th
Marines to engage the enemy in this encounter. The platoon during the battle
killed an estimated 250 of the Japanese who were assaulting the lines of the
Shortly after daybreak on the 26th, the 4th Marines led off the offensive
on the Orote Peninsula. The 22d Marines jumped off an hour later and joined
in the engagement. Both regiments in the next three days had to fight their
way through determined pockets of enemy defenders, causing the postponement of
the peninsula's final capture until 29 July. Included in the casualties for
this operation was Lieutenant Colonel Samuel D. Puller, the executive officer
of the 4th Marines, who was killed on the 27th by fire from a hidden machine
After the taking of Orote, the 4th Marines was deployed to the area south
of Mount Alifan to conduct patrol operations while the 3d Division and the
Army's 77th Division began a concerted drive northward up the island. The
brigade, including the 4th Marines, was not committed to this final thrust at
the enemy until 7 August. It had been decided to employ the brigade at this
time to avoid overextension of the lines of the two divisions. The 1st
Brigade advanced rapidly against only sporadic resistance once it entered the
battle. When Ritidan Point, the northernmost point on Guam, was reached on 10
August the island was declared secure. The cost in casualties to the 4th
Marines for the Guam campaign was over 900 killed and wounded.
The regiment remained on Guam for nearly three weeks following the end of
organized resistance, participating primarily in mopping-up operations. By 30
August, all units of the regiment had embarked for the return trip to
Guadalcanal.<70> While some of its elements were still at sea, the 1st
Provisional Marine Brigade was redesignated the 6th Marine
Map of Invasion of Okinawa, 1 April 1945
Division in early September. The 4th Marines as a result, became one of the
component units of the newly formed division.<71>
Back on Guadalcanal the regiment commenced training for Operation
ICEBERG, the invasion of Okinawa, since the 6th Marine Division was slated for
a major role in this combined Army-Marine campaign. Besides the 4th and 22d
Marines the division's major elements were the 29th and 15th Marines, the
latter being an artillery regiment. The 6th Marine Division with the 1st
Marine Division formed the major part of the III Amphibious Corps which itself
was a major unit of the Tenth Army, the force that was responsible for the
seizure of Okinawa. The overall command of the Tenth Army was given to
Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner, Jr., USA.
The invasion of Okinawa proved to be the last major amphibious assault of
the Pacific War. Okinawa's significance lay in its proximity to the Japanese
home islands -- only 350 miles from southern Japan. Its capture would present
the United States with numerous sites for air and naval bases from which it
could strike at the heart of the Japanese Empire and with an important staging
area for a future amphibious invasion of Japan. Training for the Okinawan
campaign was concluded late in the winter of 1945, and by mid-March all units
of the 6th Division, including the 4th Marines, were on their way to the
objective. L-Day, the day of the assault, was scheduled for 1 April. The
vast armada carrying the invasion force took up positions off the coast of
Okinawa on the day of the landing. The initial mission for the 6th Division
was the capture of the Yontan airfield in the central part of the island. The
division would swing north once its seizure was completed.
The first assault waves hit the beaches at 0837. The 4th Marines, less
the 2d Battalion which was in reserve, was among the first units to go ashore.
The absence of enemy resistance was an unexpected surprise for most Marines.
The advance inland was rapid and significant gains were made the first day.
The 2d Battalion was put ashore at noon as a result. Yontan Airfield was
swiftly taken by the division on the first day. According to preliminary
plans, but far ahead of schedule, units of the 6th Division then turned north.
Northward progress was also rapid with the division reaching the Motobu
Peninsula on 7 April. There it encountered its first serious opposition of
the campaign. Japanese and Okinawan forces in this mountainous region had
emplaced a number of defense obstacles in the path of the advancing Americans.
The enemy decided to make a determined stand on the peninsula because the
natural advantages of the topography could be effectively used in any defense.
Mount Yaetake formed the core of the defensive structure for the area. The
primary mission of taking this bastion fell to the 4th Marines and the 3d
Battalion, 29th Marines while the 22d Marines and the rest of the 29th Marines
were given the job of sealing off the peninsula.
The attack began at 0830 on 14 April with a preliminary assault by 2/4
and 3/29 on a 700-foot ridge that was on the rim of Mount Yaetake. A few
hours later 1/4 was brought up. Its commanding officer, Major Bernard W.
Green, was killed in an ambush that afternoon. The struggle for the mountain
was bitterly contested until 16 April. Marines were forced to seek out and
destroy the well-concealed enemy. The Japanese were able to persevere in
their resistance in spite of continued infantry attacks that were supported by
air and sea bombardment. On the 16th, 3/4 was brought up from reserve to give
the drive a new impetus. A and C Companies finally reached the crest late in
the afternoon. The Marines were able to secure the summit by boldly charging
through a heavy barrage of enemy mortar and machine gun fire. The cost in
casualties for the two companies was 50 killed and wounded.
Leathernecks of the 6th Division quickly pushed northward once Mount
Yaetake was in American hands. Enemy resistance was limited to ineffective
harassing tactics. The capture of Motobu Peninsula was completed on 20 April.
Organized resistance in northern Okinawa ended a day later and that area was
declared secure by Major General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., commander of the 6th
Division. In the south, on the other hand, progress against the enemy had
been halted at the Shuri Line. The Army's XXIV Corps had fought hard to
breach Japanese fortifications along this defensive position. General Buckner
and his staff decided that a new drive there would necessitate the sending of
reinforcements to the zone. The III Amphibious Corps, as a consequence, was
directed to redeploy to southern Okinawa and to move into the line to the left
of the XXIV Corps. The Army's 27th Division in conjunction with this
directive relieved the 6th Division in its mopping up operations in the
northern sector. All major elements of the 6th Division completed the
transfer south by 6 May. The Tenth Army, shortly thereafter, launched another
effort to achieve a breakthrough in the Shuri Line. The 6th Division in its
phase of the offensive was committed to the capture of Naha, the capital. The
4th Marines role in this engagement began on 19 May when it moved out of
reserve and relieved the weary 29th Marines. The regiment remained in the
thick of the fighting for 10 days, trying to wrest control of the area from
the Japanese. The battle at times was so intense that the Marines had to
dislodge their adversaries in hand to hand combat. Once the exhausted men of
the 4th Marines reached Naha they were relieved by the 29th Marines.
Map of Yokosuka, Occupation
The 4th's next assignment was the assault on the Oroku Peninsula on which
Naha Airfield was located. An amphibious landing was ordered and the regiment
was given the primary responsibility of making it. The 1st and 2d Battalions
under a blanket of naval and artillery support fire landed at dawn on 4 June,
followed somewhat later by the 3d Battalion. The 29th Marines was put into
the line that afternoon to reinforce the regiment. The two regiments slugged
it out with the well-entrenched enemy for a week and a half. Their progress
against the fanatical Japanese was hampered by torrential rains and mud. The
use of supporting armor by the Americans was seriously curtailed as a result.
But, by the 12th, the final outcome of the battle had become self-evident.
The Japanese were at this time fighting with their backs to the water with no
possibility of escape. The 22d Marines during the operation had closed the
back door by moving into blocking positions at the base of the peninsula. The
enemy had no choice but to surrender or die fighting. As a result, organized
resistance quickly ended. General Shepherd reported to Tenth Army
Headquarters on 13 June that the peninsula was indisputably in American hands.
Sixth Division units following the conclusion of the battle for the Oroku
Peninsula proceeded south and linked up with 1st Marine Division forces for
the final engagement on Okinawa. The 4th Marines moved up to the front on the
19th and joined in the attack on the next day. Although some resistance was
encountered, the ferocity of the fighting was considerably diminished. For
the most part the starch had been taken out of the Japanese will to resist.
The effect of this was the termination of all organized resistance on 21 June
1945. The 4th Marines had suffered over 3,000 casualties in 82 days of
fighting. The month of July saw the redeployment of the regiment to Guam for
training for the expected invasion of Japan.
The Postwar Era
The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August hastened Japan's
decision to come to terms with the Allies. All plans for the invasion of
Japan were cancel led while new plans for the occupation of the home islands
were drawn up. Preliminary preparations, however, were formulated prior to
Japan's acceptance of the terms of the surrender on 14 August. Three days
before, 11 August, Task Force A was organized with Brigadier General William
T. Clement as its commanding officer. This unit was one of the first to be
assigned a role in the occupation. Its prime objective was the seizure of the
large naval base at Yokosuka in Tokyo Bay. The main element of Task Force A
was the 4th Marines. At the time of the creation of the task force the 6th
Marine Division was directed to supply
one regimental combat team for the occupation.<73> General Shepherd
unhesitatingly selected the 4th Marines. This was a symbolic gesture designed
to avenge the capture of the "old" 4th on Corregidor. The "new" 4th, in
effect, vindicated the "old" 4th by becoming the first American combat unit to
land in Japan.<74>
The 4th Marines quickly readied itself for its new assignment and then
sailed from Guam on 15 August. Fifteen days later it was on Japanese soil.
Units of the occupation force were transferred to landing craft on the
monrning of the 30th for the trip ashore. Half expecting treachery from the
Japanese, the Marines were prepared to meet any eventuality including armed
opposition. First ashore was the 2d Battalion, landing on Futtsu Cape shortly
before 0600. Personnel of this unit were the first American combat troops to
set foot in Japan and, thus, the first foreign invader to ever touch the
Japanese mainland. The battalion rapidly made sure that the guns on the cape
which guarded the approaches to Tokyo Bay were inoperable. The battalion,
after accepting the surrender of the garrison, reembarked to become the
reserve for the main landings at Yokosuka which were underway by this time.
Both 1/4 and 3/4 had come ashore at 0930 with the latter occupying the naval
base while the former seized the airfield. Demilitarization of all
installations was begun immediately. As in the case of the first landing, the
later landings were unopposed, with Japanese military officials cooperating
with the Marines to the fullest extent.<75>
The occupation plan was promptly executed, so much so that Task Force A
was disbanded on 21 September 1945. All 6th Marine Division units were
withdrawn with the exception of the 4th Marines. This regiment, although
still administratively attached to the division, was placed under the
operational control of the Eighth Army. Primary duties for the regiment in
the fall of 1945 were maintaining perimeter defense for the Yokosuka Naval
Base, providing an interior guard for the base, and the continued disarming of
By November, the regiment began to feel the first effects of postwar
demobilization which was then in progress. Administrative control of the 4th
Marines on the 20th passed to Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Two
weeks later, 1/4 was ordered to Camp Pendleton, California, where it was
deactivated on 29 December. All remaining elements of the regiment except a
part of Headquarters and the 3d Battalion sailed from Japan on 1 January 1946.
The detachment from Headquarters that had been ordered to California and the
Weapons Company were deactivated at Camp Pendleton on 20 January. The 2d
Battalion was also deactivated at Pendleton, but 11 days later.
Those units that remained in Japan were not destined to be there much
longer. The complete withdrawal of the 4th Marines from the occupation of
Japan took effect on 15 February when the 3d Battalion was deactivated at
Yokosuka. Most of its personnel formed the newly activated 2d Separate Guard
Battalion (Provisional). The Headquarters element that had remained in Japan
left Yokosuka on 6 January for Tsingtao, China. After an absence of four
years, the 4th Marines was once again in China, although in a very abbreviated
state. Upon its arrival on the 17th, this detachment was once again attached
to the 6th Marine Division which was a major component of the American
occupation force in north China.<77> The 4th Marines existed only as a paper
organization until 8 March 1946. Reactivation of all three battalions and the
weapons company occurred on that date. Personnel used to form the rejuvenated
regiment were drawn from the 22d and the 29th Marines.<78> The regiment was
for the next few months mainly occupied with winding up the program of
repatriation of former enemy civilian and military personnel who were still in
north China. Repatriation was completed by the summer of 1946; subsequently,
the 4th Marines' primary mission became once more associated with a garrison
force. One of its major responsibilities was that of providing security for
the American naval base at Tsingtao, the home port of the Seventh Fleet.<79>
Continued demobilization and the uneasy situation in China compelled the
withdrawal and deactivation of more Marine units in the Far East during the
spring of 1946. One of those organizations to be effected was the 6th
Division which was deactivated on 31 March. Those units that still remained
in China and had been a part of the division were organized as the 3d Marine
Brigade. The 4th Marines formed the core of the brigade and at that time was
the only infantry regiment in the Marine Corps to retain the World War II
organization of three rifle battalions.<80> Its attachment to the brigade was
short lived, for on 10 June 1946, the 3d Marine Brigade was deactivated and
the 4th Marines was reassigned to the 1st Marine Division.<81>
Further reductions in force in the second half of 1946 brought about
another reorganization of Marine forces in China. As part of this program of
decreasing American military strength in that country, the 4th Marines with
the exception of the 3d Battalion was redeployed to the United States on 3
September. The 3d Battalion upon the departure of the regiment was placed
under the operational control of the Commander, Naval Port Facilities,
The regiment, minus the 3d Battalion, for the first time since 1927 was
reestablished in the United States, arriving at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
on 1 October. The regiment had for nearly 20 years seen duty outside the
country; it was now home, although at a reduced level. Most of its personnel
discharged or reassigned to other units immediately following the regiment's
arrival and attachment to the 2d Marine Division. The 4th Marines, as a
result, became once more a paper organization despite the retention of its
companies and battalions.<83> The next year saw further changes in the
structure of the regiment. Beginning in May the 1st Battalion was built back
up. The 3d Battalion, which was still in China, was deactivated at Tsingtao
on 1 October. The regiment underwent another major reorganization a few weeks
later when on 18 November the 4th Marines lost its battalion structure. It
now became a four-company-size organization, with its elements bearing the
following designations: Headquarters Company, Company A, Company B, and
This structure was retained for the next two years of the unit's
existence. During this period the 4th Marines participated in a number of
postwar exercises in the Caribbean. In September 1948, however, it was again
ordered overseas but not to the familar environs of China or of the Pacific.
On this occasion it was deployed on board vessels of the Sixth Fleet in the
Mediterranean Sea. Cold War antagonisms between the Soviet Union and the West
had by this time threatened to erupt into full scale war. The United States,
realizing the ominous consequences of a soviet-dominated Europe, had begun
shipments of both military and economic aid to those countries menaced by
Communist aggression. The American Government, in addition, had decided that
a military presence must be maintained in the Mediterranean to offset the
pressures that were being exerted by the Soviet Union on such countries as
Greece and Turkey. The Marine Corps, accordingly, initiated a program of
keeping a battalion landing team (BLT) afloat in the Mediterranean. The 4th
Marines formed this BLT from September 1948 until January 1949. Throughout
its cruise it stopped in many ports in southern Europe, North Africa, and the
Middle East. While in the eastern Mediterranean area a detachment from the
4th Marines was landed at Haifa, Palestine on 11 October 1948. The detachment
then proceeded to Jerusalem to perform temporary guard duty at the American
Consulate. This was at the time when the first Arab-Israeli War was in
progress. The detachment remained on duty through January and returned to the
United States in early February 1949, shortly after the arrival of the rest of
the 4th Marines. The stay at Camp Lejeune for the 4th Marines was very brief
as the unit was deployed to Puerto Rico in February and March for training
exercises. Once it was back in North Carolina, the 4th Marines settled into a
routine peacetime schedule until its deactivation on 17 October 1949.<85>
War in Korea was the cause for the expansion of the Marine Corps in 1950.
A stalemate in the war resulted in the reactivation of the 3d Marine Division
two years later. One of the infantry regiments assigned to the newly
reactivated division was the 4th Marines. It was reactivated on 2 September
1952 at Camp Pendleton and placed under the command of Colonel Robert O.
Bowen. The units reactivated on that date were: Headquarters and Service
Company, Anti-Tank Company, 4.2-inch Mortar Company, and the 1st Battalion.
Fall saw the additional reactivation of two more battalions: the 2d Battalion
on 30 October and the 3d Battalion on 28 November. Furthermore, the 4th
Battalion was reactivated on 5 January 1953 after a lapse of 11 years. This
battalion's existence, however, was only temporary as it was later deactivated
on 29 July 1953.<86>
The 4th Marines following its reactivation occupied itself in preparing
for combat duty, but nearly a year passed before the regiment mounted out.
The 3d Division was eventually alerted for a move to the Far East shortly
before the Korean Armistice went into effect. It began movement to Japan in
August despite the cessation of fighting on 27 July 1953. Included in this
deployment was the 4th Marines. Camp Nara on Honshu became the regiment's new
home.<87> Since it arrived too late for participation in the Korean conflict,
the 4th Marines assumed the role of a garrison force in Japan. Its assigned
mission was that of sharing in the defense responsibilities for southern
Honshu and of being ready for rapid transfer to potential hot spots in the Far
East, should an American military presence be needed.<88>
While stationed in Japan the regiment was engaged in numerous exercises
to maintain its combat proficiency. Most of these exercises took place in
Japan with a few occurring on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In January and February
1954, the 3d Battalion was given a special assignment. The battalion was
ordered to Inchon, Korea to help escort those former Communist Chinese
soldiers who wanted to go to Taiwan rather than be repatriated to China
proper. A tragic accident befell 3/4 as it was performing this task. Twenty-
seven Marines and two Navy corpsmen were drowned at Inchon when a loaded
landing craft in which they were riding capsized in the icy waters of the
Less than 18 months after its arrival in Japan, the entire regiment,
reinforced by supporting units, was transferred to the Territory of Hawaii in
February 1955, to become the ground echelon of the 1st Provisional Marine Air-
Ground Task Force which was located at Kaneohe Bay. The 4th Marines, once
established in Hawaii, embarked upon an intensive program of coordinated
training with the squadrons of Marine Aircraft Group 13, the other major
element of the task force. Redesignation
Map of I Corps Region Vietnam, 1965 - 1969
of the task force to the 1st Marine Brigade took place on 1 May 1956. The
brigade's immediate goal was to become completely air transportable, while
simultaneously being capable of conducting an assault employing the techniques
of vertical envelopment. The uniqueness of the brigade lay in the fact that
it was the only combat unit in which air and ground elements lived and trained
together. Preparedness became the watchword of the brigade, since it was
designed and maintained as a force-in-readiness for use in crises in the
Pacific. Its high state of combat readiness that was attained through
rigorous training was praised by the Commandant, General Randolph McC. Pate.
After an inspection of the brigade in late 1957, General Pate said he
considered the 1st Marine Brigade to be "the outstanding Fleet Marine Force
unit in the Marine Corps."
Its training schedule, and that of the 4th Marines, during the next few
years included maneuvers in such widely separate areas as California, Taiwan,
and the Philippines. In one such exercise, Operation GREENLIGHT, (March-June
1961), 1/4 was diverted from its original destination in California and
ordered to the Far East in connection with a Communist threat to Laos.
However, after only a very brief stay on Okinawa, the battalion, following the
easing of the crisis, reembarked and sailed for its initial objective.<90>
The 4th Marines' combat readiness was put to the test in early 1965 when
the American involvement in the war in Vietnam was enlarged. The 3d Marine
Division, which was primarily stationed on Okinawa, became the first ground
combat force to send units to the war torn Republic of Vietnam. After the
decision was made to deploy the division to Vietnam, the 4th Marines was
placed on alert for an immediate transfer to the Far East. Forward elements
of the division in the meantime had already made a landing at Da Nang on 8
March. A few days later, between 11 and 15 March, the 4th Marines began
movement to Okinawa, arriving there on 25 and 26 March. Transfer to South
Vietnam for the regiment began in April. The first unit to enter the country
was the 3d Battalion. Elements of the unit came ashore initially in the Da
Nang area on 14 April with the remainder of 3/4 landing the next day at Hue,
the old imperial capital of Vietnam. Regimental Headquarters, the other two
battalions, and supporting units disembarked at Chu Lai on 7 May.<91> All
connection between the regiment and the 1st Marine Brigade was severed when
the 4th Marines arrived in Southeast Asia. Those 3d Division units that were
in Vietnam were placed under the overall command of the III Marine Amphibious
Force on 7 May.
Once deployed in Vietnam, the 4th Marines, as well as other Marine units,
experienced a rather curious change in its normal task organization because of
the nature of the war. Since the Vietnamese conflict often was fought on a
battalion level, or, more accurately, on a company and platoon level, one or
more battalions of one regiment were frequently fighting under the operational
control of another regiment. Conversely, it often occurred that an infantry
regiment had operational control of a number of units which were not its own,
and which could enlarge the regiment to brigade size. For example, in the
summer of 1965, the 4th Marines had operational control of not only 1/4 and
2/4 but also 3/3 and 3/12 plus supporting elements. The 3d Marines in the
meantime had operational control of 3/4.
The 3d Battalion upon its arrival in Vietnam was deployed to Hue and
assigned the mission of occupying and defending the TAOR (Tactical Area of
Responsibility) in the Hue/Phu Bai area. First contact with Communist forces
came on 19 April when the enemy instigated light probes along the battalion's
perimeter.<92> The other elements of the regiment on their arrival in country
were given the responsibility of maintaining security in the Chu Lai TAOR. Two
days later these units also experienced light probing attacks. Vigorous
patrol operations were immediately begun in the TAOR to counteract such
attacks. These search and clear missions were expanded that summer to include
operations other than protecting military installations. As time passed, units
from the regiment gradually moved out beyond their perimeters in search of the
Enemy contact at first was usually limited to snipers and one to six-man
probes. The elusiveness of the enemy was heightened by the inaccessability of
the Viet Cong strongholds. Inclement weather and the absence of good roads
hindered large scale operations. Punji sticks, mines, and booby traps --
typical devices used in a guerrilla war -- were set by the enemy to further
hamper the progress of the Marines in their sweeps. Lack of available
helicopters at first often forced the regiment to resort to the timeworn
tactic of foot marches in carrying out its search and destroy missions.
Although mobility was somewhat wanting initially, the regiment was still able
to keep the enemy off balance by preventing the Communists from massing troops
in the Chu Lai and Hue/Phu Bai TAORs.<94>
The first major engagement for a unit from the regiment was Operation
STARLITE. The 2d Battalion had the distinction along with other Marine
battalions of taking part in this first regimental-size battle for American
forces since the Korean War. It was a combined amphibious/helicopter-borne
assault on enemy fortified positions on the Van Tuong Peninsula, 15 miles
south of the Chu Lai airstrip. The 2d Battalion was helilifted into the
jumping-off point on 18 August. It then began a drive toward the sea to block
any escape for the Communists. Two
3/4 coming ashore at Red Beach in Da Nang, Republic of
Vietnam in April 1965. (USMC Photo #A183959).
Company F, 2/4 during one of the first operations to clear the Chu Lai
area of the Viet Cong in May 1965. (USMC Photo #A184473).
days later, the battalion completed its phase of the operation and was
withdrawn. STARLITE terminated on the 24th with the 1st Viet Con Regiment
being decisively defeated. This first major confrontation between American
forces and a Viet Cong regiment not only resulted in a Marine victory but in
the prevention of a probable enemy attack on Chu Lai.<95>
The rest of 1965 saw elements of the 4th Marines engaging the enemy,
mostly in small unit actions. An increase in the tempo of fighting occurred
however in the following January. Operation DOUBLE EAGLE (Phase I) was the
first significant engagement of the new year for a battalion of the regiment.
The 2d Battalion along with 3/1 made an amphibious landing 20 miles southeast
of Quang Ngai City on 28 January. The objective of this assault, the largest
of the war up to that time, was the elimination of Viet Cong forces in the
region. Although the enemy's main force had moved north prior to the landing,
the Leathernecks were able to account for 312 enemy dead in the sporadic
fighting that occurred in the next three weeks.<96>
March 1966 witnessed a series of hard fought encounters for units of the
4th Marines. These were characterized by assaults upon well fortified enemy
positions. Regimental forces in the ensuing battles met not only the Viet
Cong but regular elements of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA). The 2d
Battalion had two major encounters with the enemy near Quang Ngai City that
month: UTAH (4-7 March) and TEXAS (20-25 March). The latter was the scene of
the heaviest fighting. The 1st Battalion in the meantime was engaging the
enemy in northeastern Thua Thien Province during Operation OREGON (20-23
March). The Marines in all three operations were forced to break through and
breach previously prepared defenses before the enemy could be overcome.<97>
The 4th Marines during the spring shifted its operations from the
southern part to the northern part of the I Corps Tactical Zone of South
Vietnam. Headquarters was established at Phu Bai. The regiment thus joined
the 3d Battalion in conducting missions in the vital northern sector.<98>
That battalion had originally been located in the Hue/Phu Bai area except when
it displaced to Okinawa on 23 December 1965. It later reentered Vietnam at
Hue on 18 March 1966.<99> With all its battalions now located in the north,
the regiment embarked upon a vigorous program of offensive action against the
The threat of infiltration across the demilitarized zone (DMZ) by the
North Vietnamese was a main reason for strengthening northern I Corps.
Despite this move to counteract the enemy build-up in the area, movement of
new NVA troops into South Vietnam continued. As a result, Operation HASTINGS,
a coordinated Marine/South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) search and destroy mission,
was launched on 7 July. Intelligence reports
indicated that a veteran division of the North Vietnamese Army had moved into
Quang Tri Province. Allied forces including 2/4 and 3/4 were deployed to the
area and when contact was made the subsequent battle proved to be the most
ferocious of the war up to that date.<100> A feature of the battle was the
number of sharp, small unit engagements that occurred. In one such encounter,
an estimated enemy force of 1,000 hit two platoons of Company K, 3/4 on 18
July. Although the close-in fighting caused heavy casualties among enemy
troops, the 3d Battalion's forces were only able to withdraw after artillery
and air strikes were called in to support the beleaguered Leathernecks. The
Communist attack cost the Americans over 60 casualties.<101> Two members of
the battalion -- Captain Robert J. Modrzejewski and Staff Sergeant John J.
McGinty, III -- were later awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroic action
during this battle.
As soon as HASTINGS ended (3 August 1966), Operation PRAIRIE I commenced.
The enemy after his defeat in HASTINGS had retreated into nearby Laos. This
fact notwithstanding, the NVA moved back in strength into Quang Tri Province.
The Communists apparently had assumed that the Americans would not come back
into the area after their victory. To the contrary, Marine units had remained
and were prepared to open a new operation. PRAIRIE originally began as a
reconnaissance in force operation but later was expanded. The first important
contact between the enemy and a 4th Marines' unit came on 23 August when
Company E, 2/4 engaged troops of an NVA regiment. Both the 1st and 2d
Battalions continued to experience steady fighting during the remainder of the
month and through September. The 3d Battalion joined in the operation on 18
September. This battalion had previously been located at its base camp at Phu
Fighting subsequently eased for 4th Marine units, although PRAIRIE
continued through the fall. In November, the 2d Battalion temporarily
displaced to Okinawa for two months of retraining. On the 18th, the
regimental organization was altered when a Provisional Battalion was activated
for duty in the Cam Lo area. This battalion's existence was only of a brief
duration for it was deactivated on Christmas Eve. Another regimental unit had
relocated to Okinawa in December. The 1st Battalion had temporarily departed
Southeast Asia shortly before the deactivation of the Provisional Battalion.
<103> Most of the regiment's integral units had therefore been relieved of
duty in PRAIRIE by the end of the year.
The second anniversary of the 4th Marines' participation in the war in
Vietnam was observed in the spring of 1967. The primary concern for the
regiment in these two years was the pursuit and destruction of the enemy.
Notwithstanding its basic role as an infantry unit, the regiment and its
subordinate elements were also involved in the other war -- the vital
A Marine from Company M, 3/4 moves out with a 3.5-inch rocket
while two companions work their radio and compass near the DMZ
in September 1966. (USMC Photo #A187904).
Men of 2/4 double timing across an open field during Operation
KENTUCKY in February 1968. (USMC Photo #A650034).
effort to win the hearts and minds of the people. Civic action programs were
instituted almost immediately upon entry into Vietnam. In May 1965, for
example, 800 pounds of clothing was distributed to villagers in the Chu Lai
TAOR. The clothing had originally been collected by Marine dependents in
Hawaii. Additional forms of assistance included the creation and development
of a number of self-help projects in the Chu Lai and Hue areas. These were
designed to improve the living conditions of the civilian populace. The 4th
Marines directed their efforts towards such projects as the digging of wells,
the grading of roads, and clearing of home sites.<104> Other civic action
programs in which the regiment participated were the GOLDEN FLEECE and COUNTY
FAIR operations. The former type of operation was designed to protect
peasants in the rice harvest, freeing them from Viet Cong harassment. In such
an operation, the Marines protected the rice from confiscation. The latter
operations were intended to break down the infrastructure of the Viet Cong in
villages that were located in the unpacified areas.<105>
The most important contribution to the civic action effort by the 4th
Marines, however, was the creation and development of the Combined Action
Companies (CACos). The formation of the above organizations began under the
auspices of the 3d Battalion. In the summer of 1965, the commanding general
of the 1st ARVN Division assigned a number of Vietnamese Popular Forces units
in the Phu Bai area to the operational control of 3/4. The concept of
integrating Marines with the Popular Forces soon evolved with First Lieutenant
Paul R. Ek as the original CACo commander (at that time it was referred to as
Joint Action Company). The 3d Battalion felt that the CACo was one way of
responding to the complicated problem of reestablishing government control
over South Vietnamese villages while freeing the inhabitants from the terror
of the Viet Cong. This concept of integrating local militia with Marines
subsequently proved to be a saving of manpower for Marine units as fewer
Americans were needed to secure a village. Those Marines that were assigned
to the CACos were permanently located in a particular village where they lived
alongside the Vietnamese. The CACo was not only utilized in providing local
security and in conducting reconnaissance missions, but was also used in civic
action programs that were intended to improve and foster a better American-
DECKHOUSE VI was the first major operation of 1967 for a 4th Marines
battalion. The 1st Battalion, which had been temporarily relocated to
Okinawa, was one of the main participants in this engagement. The battalion
was directed to make an amphibious landing near Sa Huyn in the southern
portion of I Corps. On 16 February, 1/4 stormed ashore in search of the
enemy. Nine days later, it completed its phase of the operation and
reembarked on board transports of the Seventh Fleet. The 1st Battalion,
shortly thereafter, made another amphibious
assault, but some 200 miles north of the DECKHOUSE VI area. This time it
landed near Gio Linh on 20 March to take part in Operation BEACON HILL. In
1/4's 13-day sweep of the area, which was just a few miles south of the DMZ,
the battalion claimed a total of 334 enemy dead while sustaining 29 killed and
The northern I Corps region continued to be the scene of fighting for the
regiment through the remainder of the year. All three of its battalions,
beginning in March, were deployed there. Intense fighting broke out near the
DMZ in May. The 1st Battalion's Company D which was at Con Thien was
particularly hard hit on the 8th. A 250-round mortar barrage was unleashed on
the Marines' position. It was followed by a ground assault by two enemy
battalions and a sapper unit. Despite substantial American casualties (49
killed and 100 wounded), the enemy was thrown back at a loss of 197 men killed
and 10 captured.<107> Four days later, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore J. Willis,
1/4's commanding officer, was wounded three times in fighting in the same
area.<108> The 3d Battalion, in the meantime, had advanced to positions
northwest of Con Thien for Operation HICKORY, the first major Marine thrust
into the DMZ. The battalion acted as blocking force while units from the 3d,
9th, and 26th Marines as well as ARVN forces swept the southern half of the
zone. The operation resulted in the successful relocation of thousands of
civilians to a resettlement area near Cam Lo.<109>
The next major confrontation between elements of the regiment and the NVA
took place late in the summer. The enemy's objective was again the American
outpost at Con Thien. Pressure on the base was occasioned by the desire of
the North Vietnamese for a significant military victory. A month-long seige
was initiated in September. To frustrate the advance of Communist forces, the
Marines in the region inaugurated a plan that called for vigorous patrol
missions. These were devised to keep the enemy off balance while denying the
North Vietnamese access to forward positions from where they could launch an
attack. Both 2/4 and 3/4 at times found themselves heavily engaged with NVA
forces. Companies from the two battalions were in the thick of the fighting
and consequently both battalions sustained a large number of casualties. The
North Vietnamese were unable to push the Marines out of Con Thien. In
October, NVA pressure subsided and the seige was broken. The successful
defense of the base can be attributed to two factors: the vigorous patrolling
by Marine units, including 2/4 and 3/4, and the heavy air bombardment by all
supporting air units including the Air Force's B-52s.<110>
Combat activity for the 4th Marines and its attached units slackened
considerably with the breaking of the seige. Except for periodic flare-ups
the tempo of fighting remained at a low level until the 1968 Tet Offensive.
On 31 January 1968, the
Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese launched an all-out offensive throughout
South Vietnam. Severe fighting erupted between the Allies and the enemy in
most sections of the country.
The 2d Battalion in April was involved in especially bitter clashes near
Dong Ha and along the Cua Viet River. In attempting to keep the river open to
naval logistic traffic, elements of the battalion uncovered a virtual enemy
fortress late that month. The North Vietnamese had fortified the village of
Dai Do and had emplaced artillery, mortars, and heavy machine guns around the
village. The village's defenses were further enhanced by the placement of
antiaircraft weapons behind the enemy's perimeter. Dai Do was being used as a
base camp from where the NVA could easily interdict the Cua Viet. The 2d
Battalion with reinforcements from 1/3 launched an attack against the village
on 30 April. By nightfall, the opposition, estimated to be a regiment, had
been pushed back within the confines of Dai Do. The NVA retaliated the next
day by striking the Leathernecks' position with rocket and artillery fire.
Company G was especially hard hit as it was subjected to over 250 rounds of
mixed mortar and artillery shells. Air strikes and naval gunfire were ordered
that day in a futile attempt to dislodge the enemy. On 2 May, 2/4 launched
another assault against the entrenched NVA. Progress was impeded, however,
when the Communists mounted two separate counterattacks which overran segments
of the battalion's lines and resulted in the wounding of Lieutenant Colonel
William Weise, 2/4's commanding officer. A massive artillery and naval
gunfire barrage plus air strikes finally halted the NVA drive. The battle for
the village was over the following day as 2/4 was able to secure the enemy
bastion. The 2d Battalion's seizure of Dai Do was highly significant from the
standpoint that it blunted the enemy drive on the strategic base at Dong Ha.
In three days of fighting nearly 600 enemy were killed while 2/4 suffered 80
dead and 256 that were wounded and evacuated.<111>
Another important though less costly engagement for 2/4 took place a
short time later. Companies E and H on 25 May encountered a well-equipped NVA
battalion dug in at the village of Nhi Ha 2. Following a fire-fight, the
enemy abandoned his positions and withdrew without making further contact with
the Marines.<112> Major fighting continued through June with 4th Marines
units participating in Operation SCOTLAND. During the operation, elements of
the regiment made a telling discovery while attempting to locate and destroy
an enemy road south of Khe Sanh. Included in the uncovering of a large enemy
supply cache were two Russian-made trucks, indicating the earlier infiltration
of sizable forces into the area from Laos.<113>
In September, 1/4 unearthed another major enemy cache. Battalion
personnel in a sweep just south of the DMZ found a large supply of arms and
ammunition, including 350 Soviet
rifles, over 335,000 rounds of ammunition, 26 122mm rocket warheads 3,000
pounds of TNT, and over 5,000 pounds of rice.<114>
Contact with enemy forces tapered off for the 4th Marines in the fall.
It was obvious that the enemy at this time was unwilling to stand and fight
after suffering extremely severe losses in the previous Tet Offensive.
Towards the end of the year, however, there was a slight increase in enemy
activity in the regiment's sectors. The 2d Battalion in one engagement came
across a massive fortified North Vietnamese bunker system along the southern
boundaries of the DMZ. With the assistance of artillery and air strikes, the
battalion forced the enemy to relinquish his position. The Marines secured
the objective on 12 December, having compelled the NVA to retreat. The
importance of this victory was the discovery of an extensive enemy base on the
south side of the DMZ. The complex was later revealed to contain hundreds of
bunkers; innumerable fighting holes, trenches, and firing pits; and a
considerable quantity of military materiel. Among the enemy dead were a
battalion commander of the 27th NVA Regiment and his staff.<115>
Operations conducted by the 4th Marines in the first six months of 1969
included SCOTLAND 11, HERKIMER MOUNTAIN, and PURPLE MARTIN. In the last
mentioned operation Lieutenant Colonel George T. Sargent, Jr., commanding
officer of 1/4, was killed in a mortar attack on 21 March. Fighting at this
juncture was still typified by fire-fights and clashes with small groups of
enemy soldiers rather than with large NVA forces. In spite of the fact that
contact with the enemy was relatively light, the above operations cost the
North Vietnamese a total of 670 dead.
A new turn in the American war effort occurred in June 1969. President
Richard Nixon announced that the United States participation in the war would
be gradually toned down with the eventual redeployment of most, if not all,
American combat troops from South Vietnam. The initial contingent of Marines
to leave was the 9th Marines in August. The next month, the entire 3d Marine
Division received orders to commence stand down operations in preparation for
its departure from Southeast Asia. The 4th Marines, as a result, was ordered
to Okinawa in conjunction with the division's relocation. The 1st Battalion
became the first element of the regiment to leave Vietnam. Its departure was
completed on 22 October All remaining units were redeployed to Okinawa in
The 4th Marines has a long and proud history. Those Marines who have in
the past been members of the regiment have not only brought honor to the 4th
Marines but also to the Marine Corps and to the United States. Throughout its
history the regiment has courageously performed whatever duties it has been
assigned. The 4th Marines is at the time of this writing deployed on Okinawa.
Its combat effectiveness, most recently demonstrated in Vietnam, has been
tested and clearly proven. Its readiness to meet any emergency has shown that
the 4th Marines has an ability to respond to crises that is second to none.
Should a future threat to the United States or its Allies arise, the regiment
will continue to respond with the professionalism and esprit de corps that it
so often has displayed in the past.
<1> "Muster Rolls," Provisional Battalion, Jul 1911 (HistDiv, RB, HQMC),
hereafter "Muster Rolls" with unit, month, and year.
<2> Col Robert Debs Heinl, Jr., USMC, "Soldiers of the Sea -- The United
States Marine Corps," 1775-1962 (Annapolis, Maryland: United States
Naval Institute, 1962), pp. 162-63, hereafter Heinl, "Soldiers."
<3> "Muster Rolls," 4th Regiment, Apr 1914.
<4> Kenneth W. Condit and Edwin T. Turnbladh, "Hold High the Torch -- A
History of the 4th Marines" (Washington: HistBr, G-3 Div, Ref. HQMC,
1960), p. 18, hereafter Condit, "Hold High."
<5> 2dLt Ernest B. Furgurson, Jr., USMCR, "The 4th Marines: A History,"
MCAS, Kaneohe Bay, Territory of Hawaii, 1955. (HistDiv, Ref. Library,
HQMC), p. 4, hereafter Furgurson, "4th Marines."
<6> "Muster Rolls", 4th Regiment, Jul 1914; Furgurson, "4th Marines,"
<7> Furgurson, "4th Marines," pp. 5-7.
<8> "Muster Rolls," 4th Regiment, Jun-Aug 1915.
<9> "Muster Rolls," 4th Regiment, Nov 1915-Feb 1916; Condit, "Hold High,"
<10> Heinl, "Soldiers", pp. 180-82.
<11> LtCol Clyde H. Metcalf, USMC, "A History of the United States Marine
Corps" (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1939), pp. 348-49, hereafter
<12> Condit, "Hold High", pp. 51-53.
<13> Ibid., pp. 54, 57; Heinl, "Soldiers," pp. 183-84.
<14> Condit, "Hold High," p. 58.
<15> Furgurson, "4th Marines," pp. 12-13.
<16> Ibid., pp. 14-15; Condit, "Hold High", pp. 70-71.
<17> LtCol Charles J. Miller, USMC "Diplomatic Spurs -- Our Experience in
Santo Domingo," part 1, Marine Corps Gazette, v. 19, no. 1 (Feb 1935),
<18> LtCol Charles J. Miller, USMC, "Diplomatic Spurs -- Our Experience in
Santo Domingo," part 2, "Marine Corps Gazette," v. 19, no. 2 (May
1935), p. 53.
<19> Condit, "Hold High," p. 97.
<20> Ibid., p. 98.
<21> Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, vol. II (Subj Files, HistDiv, RB,
<22> Condit, "Hold High", p. 98; Muster Rolls, 4th Regiment, Jul 1924.
<23> "Muster Rolls," 4th Regiment, Aug 1924.
<24> CMC, "Report...in Annual Reports of the Navy Department for the Fiscal
Year 1925" (Washington: GPO, 1926), p. 1229, hereafter "CMC Rpt" with
<25> "CMC Rpt," 1926, pp. 1232-33.
<26> "Muster Rolls," 4th Regiment Oct 1925, Jul 1926.
<27> Condit, "Hold High", pp. 112-13, 116; "Muster Rolls," 4th Regiment,
<28> Metcalf, "USMC," pp. 531-32; LtCol F. D. Kilgore, USMC, ltr to
Regimental Commander, dtd 28 Jun 1929 (4th Mar Unit File, HistDiv, RB,
HQMC), hereafter "Kilgore ltr."
<29> "Muster Rolls," 4th Regiment, Jan-Feb 1927.
<30> Condit, "Hold High," p. 129.
<31> "Kilgore ltr."
<32> Annual Rpt of the U. S. Asiatic Fleet, 1 Jul 1926-30 Jun 1927 (4th
Mar Unit File, HistDiv, RB, HQMC).
<33> Furgurson, "4th Marines," pp. 31-32; "Kilgore ltr."
<34> "Muster Rolls," 4th Regiment, Feb-Apr 1927; Expeditionary Battalion,
Feb 1927; and 3d Marine Brigade, pr 1927.
<35> Condit, "Hold High," p. 137.
<36> "Muster Rolls," 4th Regiment, Apr-Jun 1927.
<37> USMC, "Fourth Marines Annual," 1931-32 (Shanghai, China: The Mercury
Press, 1932), p. 17, hereafter "4th Mar Annual" and year.
<38> "Muster Rolls," 4th Regiment, Jan 1929.
<39> Ltr of 25 Feb 1959 to Col John Oldfield from Gen Lemuel C. Shepher,
Jr., USMC (Ret) as appeared in "The Green Howard's Gazette", v. LXVI,
no. 781 (Apr 1959), pp. 315-18.
<40> "Muster Rolls," 4th Regiment, Jan 1929.
<41> Metcalf, "USMC", p. 535.
<42> "CMC Rpt," 1932, p. 1159; "4th Mar Annual, 1933-34."
<43> "CMC Rpt," 1932, p. 1160; Condit, "Hold High", p. 163.
<44> Metcalf, "USMC," p. 536.
<45> "Muster Rolls," 4th Marines, Sep 1932.
<46> Ibid., Dec 1934.
<47> Condit, "Hold High", pp. 164-65.
<48> Ibid., pp. 167-72.
<49> "Muster Rolls," 2d Marine Brigade, Aug-Sep 1937; 4th Marines,
<50> Condit, "Hold High," pp. 175-76.
<51> "Muster Rolls," 2d Marine Brigade, Feb 1938.
<52> Condit, "Hold High," pp. 178-79.
<53> Ibid., pp. 189-90.
<54> BGen Samuel L. Howard, USMC, ltr to CMC, dtd 26 Sep 1945 (4th Mar
Unit File, HistDiv, RB, HQMC), hereafter "Howard ltr".
<55> Condit, "Hold High," pp. 192-93.
<56> Ibid., pp. 195-96, 199.
<57> Ibid., pp. 202-03.
<58> USMC, "The Fourth Marines -- A History," (4th Mar Unit File, HistDiv,
RB, HQMC), p. 8, hereafter "4th Marines -- A History;" "Howard ltr."
<59> "Muster Rolls," Marine Barracks, Naval Station, Olongapo, Dec 1941.
<60> "Muster Rolls," 4th Marines, Jan 1942.
<61> Condit, "Hold High," pp. 225-26, 229.
<62> "Howard ltr."
<63> "4th Marines -- A History," pp. 8-9.
<64> LtCol Frank O. Hough, USMCR, et. al., Pearl Harbor to "Guadalcanal --
History of U. S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II," v. I
(Washington: HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, 1958), pp. 193-199, hereafter
"Pearl Harbor -- USMC in WW II; "4th Marines -- A History," p. 9;
<65> Gen Jonathan M. Wainwright, USA, "General Wainwright's Story," ed.
Robert Considine (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1946),
<66> "Pearl Harbor -- USMC in WWII," p. 199; "Howard ltr".
<67> "Brief History of the 4th Marines," HistBr, Ass't Chief of Staff, G-3,
HQMC, Mar 1954 (4th Mar Unit File, HistDiv, RB, HQMC), p. 7.
<68> "Muster Rolls," 4th Marines, Feb 1944.
<69> Condit, "Hold High," pp. 245-50.
<70> Maj. O. R. Lodge, USMC, "The Recapture of Guam" (Washington: HistBr,
G-3 Div, HQMC, 1954), pp. 1-3; Condit, "Hold High," pp. 250-76.
<71> "Muster Rolls," 4th Marines, Sep 1944.
<72> Condit, "Hold High," pp. 279-330.
<73> Bevan G. Cass, ed., "History of the Sixth Marine Division"
(Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1948), pp. 197-98, hereafter 6th
Division History; "Muster Rolls," 4th Marines, Aug 1945.
<74> Benis M. Frank and Henry I. Shaw, Jr., "Victory and Occupation --
History of U. S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II", v. V
(Washington: HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, 1968), p. 476.
<75> "6th Division History", pp. 202-03.
<76> Condit, "Hold High," pp. 343-44.
<77> "Muster Rolls," 4th Marines, Nov 1945-Jan 1946.
<78> Ibid., Mar 1946.
<79> Condit, "Hold High," pp. 353-54.
<80> Henry I. Shaw, Jr., "The United States Marines in North China,
1945-1949" (Washington: HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, 1968), p. 14,
hereafter "Marines in North China."
<81> "Muster Rolls," 4th Marines, Jun 1946.
<82> "Marines in North China", p. 18.
<83> Condit, "Hold High," p. 356.
<84> "Muster Rolls," 4th Marines, May, Oct-Nov 1947.
<85> Ibid., Sep 1948-Mar, Oct 1949.
<86> "Unit Diaries", 4th Marines, Sep-Nov 1952; Jan, Jul 1953 (HistDiv, RB,
HQMC), hereafter "Unit Diaries" with unit, month, and year.
<87> Ibid., Aug 1952.
<88> Condit, "Hold High," p. 370.
<89> Ibid., p. 373.
<90> James S. Santelli, "A Brief History of the 1st Marine Brigade,"
HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, Mar 1969 (Subj Files, HistDiv, RB, HQMC),
<91> "Unit Diaries," 4th Marines, May 1965 (UD, PersDiv, HQMC).
<92> "Command Diary," 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, Apr 1965 (S), hereafter
"Command Diary" with unit, month, and year.
<93> "Command Diary," 4th Marines, May 1965(S).
<94> "Command Chronology," 4th Marines, Nov 1965(S), hereafter "Command
Chronology" with unit, month, and year.
<95> BGen Edwin H. Simmons, USMC, "Marine Corps Operations in Vietnam,
1965-1966," "Naval Review, 1968," pp. 18-19, hereafter Simmons,
<96> Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, "Operations of the III Marine
Amphibious Force, Vietnam," Feb 1966, pp. 23-25(S).
<97> "Command Chronology," 3d Marine Division, Mar 1966(S); Fleet Marine
Force, Pacific, "Operations of U. S. Marine Forces, Vietnam," Mar
1966, p. 12(S), hereafter FMF, "Marine Forces Vietnam" with date.
<98> "Command Chronology," 4th Marines, Apr 1966(S).
<99> "Command Chronology," 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, Mar 1966(S).
<100> Simmons, "Vietnam, 1965-66."
<101> "Command Chronology," 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, Jul 1966(S).
<102> "4th Marines' Combat Operation After Action Report, Operation
Prairie," 3 Aug-30 Sep 1966(S); "Command Chronologies", 1st Battalion,
4th Marines, Aug-Sep 1966(S).
<103> "Command Chronologies," 4th Marines, Nov-Dec 1966(S); Provisional
Battalion, 4th Marines, Dec 1966(S); 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, Nov
1966(S); 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, Dec 1966(S).
<104> "Command Diary," 3d Marine Division, Jun 1965(S).
<105> Simmons, "Vietnam, 1965-66," p. 28.
<106> Capt Russel H. Stolfi, USMCR, "U. S. Marine Corps Civic Action Efforts
in Vietnam, March 1965-March 1966" (Washington: HistBr, G-3 Div,
HQMC, 1968), pp. 39-40; Simmons, "Vietnam, 1965-66," p. 25.
<107> BGen Edwin H. Simmons, USMC, "Marine Corps Operations in Vietnam,
1967," "Naval Review, 1969," pp. 119, 121, 125, hereafter Simmons,
<108> "Command Chronology," 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, May 1967(S).
<109> Reference Log, 29 Sep 1969 (HistDiv, RB, HQMC).
<110> Simmons, "Vietnam, 1967."
<111> "Command Chronologies," 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, Mar-May 1968(S);
FMF, Marine Forces, Vietnam, p. 20(S).
<112> "Command Chronology," 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, May 1968(S).
<113> "Command Chronology," 4th Marines, Jun 1968(S).
<114> MajGen R. C. Davis, USMC, and 1stLt H. W. Brazie, USMC, "Defeat of
the 320," "Marine Corps Gazette," v. 53, no. 3 (Mar 1969), p. 28.
<115> Col Martin J. Sexton, USMC, and LtCol J. E. Hopkins, USMC, "Assault
at Mutter's Ridge," "Marine Corps Gazette," v. 54, no. 3 (Mar 1970),
<116> "BLT 1/4 Departs for Okinawa in Phase II of U. S. Redeployment," "Sea
Tiger," Oct 31, 1969, p. 1; "Command Chronology," 4th Marines, Oct-Dec
Commanding Officers, 4th Marines
Col Joseph H. Pendleton 16 Apr 1914 - 11 Dec 1916
Maj Arthur T. Marix 12 Dec 1916 - 31 Dec 1916
Col Theodore P. Kane 1 Jan 1917 - 4 May 1917
LtCol John H. Russell 5 May 1917 - 2 Nov 1917
LtCol Arthur T. Marix 3 Nov 1917 - 20 Dec 1917
Col William N. McKelvy 21 Dec 1917 - 17 Apr 1919
Col Dion Williams 18 Apr 1919 - 14 May 1921
Col Charles H. Lyman 15 May 1921 - 9 May 1923
LtCol Robert Y. Rhea 10 May 1923 - 22 Jul 1923
Col Alexander S. Williams 23 Jul 1923 - 7 Mar 1926
LtCol Ellis B. Miller 8 Mar 1926 - 27 Jun 1926
Col Charles S. Hill 28 Jun 1926 - 4 Sep 1927
LtCol Fred D. Kilgore 5 Sep 1927 - 6 Oct 1927
Col Henry C. Davis 7 Oct 1927 - 26 Sep 1928
LtCol Fred D. Kilgore 27 Sep 1928 - 13 Jan 1929
Col Charles H. Lyman 14 Jan 1929 - 20 Nov 1930
Col Richard S. Hooker 21 Nov 1930 - 3 Dec 1932
LtCol Emile P. Moses 24 Dec 1932 - 12 Mar 1933
Col Fred D. Kilgore 13 Mar 1933 - 6 May 1933
LtCol Emile P. Moses 7 May 1933 - 10 Jul 1933
Col John C. Beaumont 11 Jul 1933 - 6 May 1936
Col Charles F. B. Price 7 May 1936 - 23 Oct 1938
Col Joseph C. Fegan 24 Oct 1938 - 3 Dec 1939
LtCol Charles I. Murray 4 Dec 1939 - 2 Jan 1940
Col DeWitt Peck 3 Jan 1940 - 13 May 1941
Col Samuel L. Howard 14 May 1941 - 6 May 1942
LtCol Alan Shapley 1 Feb 1944 - 3 Jul 1945
LtCol Fred D. Beans 4 Jul 1945 - 27 Jan 1946
2dLt Paul W. Stone 28 Jan 1946 - 7 Feb 1946
2dLt Lawrence H. Cuthart, Jr. 8 Feb 1946 - 6 Mar 1946
Col William J. Whaling 7 Mar 1946 - 25 Mar 1946
Col John D. Blanchard 26 Mar 1946 - 8 Jun 1946
Bgen William T. Clement 9 Jun 1946 - 24 Aug 1946
LtCol Robert L. Denig 25 Aug 1946 - 20 Oct 1946
LtCol Wesley McC. Platt 21 Oct 1946 - 10 Jul 1947
Col Robert B. Luckey 11 Jul 1947 - 11 Nov 1947
LtCol Robert M. Reinecke 12 Nov 1947 - 28 Oct 1948
LtCol Donald J. Decker 29 Oct 1948 - 8 May 1949
Maj Donald E. Asbury 9 May 1949 - 19 Jun 1949
LtCol John F. Dunlap 20 Jun 1949 - 17 Oct 1949
Col Robert O. Bowen 2 Sep 1952 - 2 Oct 1953
Col John C. Miller, Jr. 3 Oct 1953 - 6 Apr 1954
Col Frederick A. Ramsey 7 Apr 1954 - 21 Aug 1954
LtCol Richard L. Boll 22 Aug 1954 - 23 Sep 1954
Col Wood B. Kyle 24 Sep 1954 - 5 Jun 1955
LtCol John E. Decher, Jr. 6 Jun 1955 - 22 Jun 1955
Col Robert E. Hill 23 Jun 1955 - 18 Aug 1955
Col James M. Masters, Sr. 19 Aug 1955 - 8 Jun 1956
Col Bryghte D. Godbold 9 Jun 1956 - 24 Aug 1957
Col George A. Roll 25 Aug 1957 - 2 May 1958
Col John H. Masters 3 May 1958 - 3 Jul 1959
Col Charles J. Bailey, Jr. 4 Jul 1959 - 6 Jul 1959
Col John W. Antonelli 7 Jul 1959 - 1 Aug 1961
Col Allan Sutter 2 Aug 1961 - 5 Jun 1962
Col William H. Marsh 6 Jun 1962 - 1 Sep 1963
Col Donald J. Robinson 2 Sep 1963 - 22 Jan 1964
Col Jules M. Rouse 23 Jan 1964 - 24 Apr 1964
Col Edward P. Dupras, Jr. 25 Apr 1964 - 25 Jul 1965
Col James F. McClanahan 26 Jul 1965 - 24 Jan 1966
Col Donald W. Sherman 25 Jan 1966 - 29 Jul 1966
Col Alexander D. Cereghino 30 Jul 1966 - 15 Feb 1967
Col Roy H. Thompson 16 Feb 1967 - 9 Jul 1967
Col William L. Dick 11 Jul 1967 - 25 Feb 1968
Col Edward J. Miller 26 Feb 1968 - 13 Sep 1968
Col Martin J. Sexton 14 Sep 1968 - 31 Dec 1968
Col William F. Goggin 1 Jan 1969 - 9 Aug 1969
Col Gilbert R. Hershey 10 Aug 1969 - 3 Dec 1969
Col William E. Barrineau 4 Dec 1969 -
Chronology, 4th Marines
16 Apr 1914 Activated as 4th Regiment of Marines at Puget Sound,
27 Apr - Deployment of regiment in Mexican waters.
9 May 1914
7 Jul - Disembarked at San Diego, California.
10 Jul 1914
20 Jun - Elements of regiment deployed in Mexican waters.
29 Jul 1915
30 Nov 1915- Elements of regiment deployed in Mexican waters.
2 Feb 1916
21 Jun 1916 4th Regiment landed at Monte Cristi, the Dominican Republic.
27 Jun 1916 Regiment defeated Dominican rebels at Las Trencheras. This
was the first combat engagement for the 4th Marines.
7 Aug 1924 4th Regiment departed and sailed from the Dominican Republic.
Redeployed to San Diego, California.
21 Oct 1926- Employment of the regiment as mail guards in western U. S.
18 Feb 1927
24 Feb 1927 4th Regiment, less the 2d Battalion, arrived in Shanghai,
21 Mar - Employment of the regiment as a security force in the
16 May 1927 international Settlement.
4 May 1927 2/4 arrived in the Philippines.
13 Feb 1930 4th Regiment redesignated 4th Marines.
28 Feb - Employed in guarding the boundaries of the International
13 Jun 1932 Settlement.
13 Aug - Employed in guarding the boundaries of the International
9 Nov 1937 Settlement.
27 Nov - 4th Marines departed and sailed from China.
28 Nov 1941 Redeployed to the Philippines.
26 Dec - Relocated to the island fortress of Corregidor.
29 Dec 1941
6 May 1942 Corregidor fell to the Japanese. All surviving personnel
captured. 4th Marines temporarily ceased to exist.
1 Feb 1944 4th Marines reborn on Guadalcanal.
20 Mar 1944 4th Marines made unopposed landing on Emirau Island.
21 Jul - Participated in Guam Campaign.
10 Aug 1944
1 Apr - Participated in Okinawa Campaign.
21 Jun 1945
30 Aug 1945 Began participation in the occupation of Japan.
17 Jan 1946 Token force from the 4th Marines landed in Tsingtao, China.
1 Oct 1946 4th Marines, less the 3d Battalion, arrived at Camp Lejeune,
1 Oct 1947 3/4 deactivated in Tsingtao.
18 Nov 1947 4th Marines reorganized into tour companies.
13 Sep 1948- Deployed with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean
24 Jan 1949
17 Oct 1949 Deactivated at Camp Lejeune.
2 Sep 1952 4th Marines reactivated at Camp Pendleton, California.
24 Aug 1953 Arrived in Japan.
4 Feb 1955 Arrived in Territory of Hawaii.
11 Mar - 4th Marines began movement to Okinawa.
15 Mar 1965
14 Apr - 3/4 landed in Hue and Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam. First
15 Apr 1965 unit from the 4th Marines to commence operations against the
enemy in the war in Vietnam.
7 May 1965 Rest of regiment landed at Chu Lai.
22 Oct - Redeployment of the 4th Marines from the Republic of Vietnam
20 Nov 1969 to Okinawa.
Honors of the 4th Marines
PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION STREAMER WITH ONE BRONZE STAR
(Okinawa, 1 Apr - 21 Jun 1945)
(Vietnam, 7 May 1965 - 15 Sep 1967)
PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION (ARMY) STREAMER WITH ONE BRONZE OAK LEAF CLUSTER
(Philippines, 7 Dec 1941 - 6 May 1942)
(Philippines, 14 Mar - 9 Apr 1942)
NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION STREAMER
(Guam, 21 Jul - 10 Aug 1944)
MEXICAN SERVICE STREAMER
(9 May - 3 Jul 1914)
MARINE CORPS EXPEDITIONARY STREAMER WITH ONE BRONZE STAR
(Dominican Republic, 5 Dec 1916 - 5 Apr 1917; 12 Nov 1918 - 7 Aug 1924)
(China, 27 Oct 1927 - 28 Feb 1930; 1 Jan 1933 - 24 Sep 1934)
WORLD WAR I VICTORY STREAMER WITH ONE BRONZE STAR
(West Indies, 6 Apr 1917 - 11 Nov 1918)
YANGTZE SERVICE STREAMER
(Shanghai, 24 Feb - 21 Oct 1927; 1 Mar 1930 - 31 Dec 1932)
CHINA SERVICE STREAMER WITH ONE BRONZE STAR
(Shanghai, 7 Jul 1937 - 7 Sep 1939)
(Tsingtao, 8 Mar 1946 - 1 Oct 1947)
AMERICAN DEFENSE SERVICE STREAMER WITH ONE BRONZE STAR
(China, 8 Sep 1939 - 28 Nov 1941)
(Philippines, 1 - 7 Dec 1941)
ASIATIC-PACIFIC CAMPAIGN STREAMER WITH ONE SILVER AND TWO BRONZE STARS
(Philippine Islands Operation, 8 Dec 1941 - 6 May 1942)
(New Georgia Group Operation, 21 Jun - 29 Aug 1943)
(Treasury-Bougainville Operation, 1 Nov - 15 Dec 1943)
(Consolidation of Solomon Islands, 15 - 19 Mar 1943, 16 Dec 1943 -
12 Jan 1944)
(Bismarck Archipelago Operation, 20 Mar - 11 Apr 1944)
(Marianas Operation, 21 Jul - 15 Aug 1944)
(Okinawa Gunto Operation, 1 Apr - 30 Jun 1945)
WORLD WAR II VICTORY STREAMER
(7 Dec 1941 - 6 May 1942; 15 Mar 1943 - 31 Dec 1946)
NAVY OCCUPATION SERVICE STREAMER WITH ASIA AND EUROPE CLASPS
(Asia, 2 Sep - 14 Feb 1946)
(Europe, 13 Sep 1948 - 23 Jan 1949)
NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE STREAMER WITH ONE BRONZE STAR
(2 Sep 1952 - 27 Jul 1954)
(1 Jan 1961 to date)
KOREAN SERVICE STREAMER
(24 Aug 1953 - 27 Jul 1954)
VIETNAM SERVICE STREAMER WITH TWO SILVER STARS AND ONE BRONZE STAR
(Vietnam Defense Campaign, 7 May - 24 Dec 1965)
(Vietnamese Counteroffensive Campaign, 25 Dec 1965 - 30 Jun 1966)
(Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase II, 1 Jul 1966 - 31 May 1967)
(Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase III, 1 Jun 1967 - 29 Jan 1968)
(Tet Counteroffensive, 30 Jan - 1 Apr 1968)
(Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase IV, 2 Apr - 30 Jun 1968)
(Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase V, 1 Jul - 1 Nov 1968)
(Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase VI, 2 Nov 1968 - 22 Feb 1969)
(Tet 69 Counteroffensive, 23 Feb - 8 Jun 1969)
(Vietnam, Summer-Fall 1969, 9 Jun - 31 Oct 1969)
(Unnamed Campaign, 1 - 9 Nov 1969)
PHILIPPINE DEFENSE STREAMER WITH ONE BRONZE STAR
(7 Dec 1941 - 6 May 1942)
PHILIPPINE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION STREAMER
(7 Dec 1941 - 5 May 1942)
VIETNAM CROSS OF GALLANTRY WITH PALM
(7 May 1965 - 20 Nov 1969)
4th Marines' Medal of Honor Recipients
1stSgt Roswell Winans 28thCo., 3 Jul 1916
4thRegt Dominican Republic
1stLt Ernest C. Williams 31stCo., 29 Nov 1916
4thRegt Dominican Republic
*Sgt Clyde Thomason 2dRdrBn 17-18 Aug 1942
*Maj Kenneth D. Bailey 1stRdrBn 12-13 Sep 1942
Col Merritt A. Edson 1stRdrBn 13-14 Sep 1942
*PFC Henry Gurke 3dRdrBn 9 Nov 1943
Cpl Richard E. Bush 1stBn, 16 Apr 1945
*LCpl Joe C. Paul 2dBn, 18 Aug 1965
4thMar Republic of Vietnam
Capt Robert J. Modrzejewski 3dBn, 15-18 Jul 1966
4thMar Republic of Vietnam
SSgt John J. McGinty, III 3dBn, 18 Jul 1966
4thMar Republic of Vietnam
Capt Howard V. Lee 2dBn, 8-9 Aug 1966
4thMar Republic of Vietnam
*PFC Douglas E. Dickey 1stBn, 26 Mar 1967
4thMar Republic of Vietnam
*LCpl Jedh C. Barker 2dBn, 21 Sep 1967
4thMar Republic of Vietnam
*Cpl Larry L. Maxam 1stBn, 2 Feb 1968
4thMar Republic of Vietnam
Capt M. Sando Vargas, Jr. 2dBn, 30 Apr-2 May 1968
4thMar Republic of Vietnam
Capt James E. Livingston 2dBn, 2 May 1968
4thMar Republic of Vietnam