This Month in Marine Corps History: August

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The following events from Marine Corps history took place in August:

This Week in Marine Corps History: Tinian Declared Secure
*Image info: Marines wading ashore on Tinian.
(U.S. Government photo/released).


Tinian Declared Secure

On August 1, 1944, Major General Harry Schmidt, commander of V Amphibious Corps, declared the island of Tinian secure. This declaration came after nine days of fighting Japanese forces that were occupying the island.

The combination of surprise, heavy preassault bombardment, and effective logistical support resulted in significantly fewer casualties (344 killed and 1550 wounded) than were experienced in previous landings during the Corps' Pacific Campaign. As a result, the assault on Tinian was coined "the perfect amphibious operation of World War II."

This Week in Marine Corps History: Black Sheep Squadron Begins Marine Aviation Involvement in Korean War
*Image info: Four U.S. Marine Corps Vought F4U-1 fighters armed with bombs in late 1943 or early 1944.
(U.S. Government photo/released).


Black Sheep Squadron Begins Marine Aviation Involvement in Korean War

On August 3, 1950, eight Corsair fighter planes launched from the USS Sicily and carried out the first Marine aviation mission in the Korean War. The raid targeted enemy installations with incendiary bombs, rockets, and strafing runs near Inchon, Korea. The Corsairs were with VMF-214, more famously known as the "Black Sheep" squadron of World War II.

This Week in Marine Corps History: U.S. Troops and Aircraft Sent to Saudi Arabia
*Image info: Four Marine Corps CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters, foreground, and six AH-1 Sea Cobra helicopters sit on the flight line at Landing Zone 32 Site Alpha during Operation Desert Shield, January 1991.
(U.S. Government photo/released).


U.S. Troops and Aircraft Sent to Saudi Arabia

On August 7, 1990, President George H.W. Bush ordered U.S. military troops and aircraft to Saudi Arabia as part of a multinational force to defend that nation against possible Iraqi invasion. The following week, the Marine Corps announced that it had committed 45,000 Marines to the Persian Gulf area as a part of Operation Desert Shield, which would become the largest deployment of U.S. forces since the Vietnam War.

This Week in Marine Corps History: Henderson Field Secured
*Image info: Aerial view of Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, April 11, 1943.
(U.S. Navy photo/released).


Henderson Field Secured

On August 9, 1942, the 1st Engineer Battalion began work on an airstrip taken from Japanese forces on the island of Guadalcanal.

The work was done with captured Japanese equipment and three days later, on August 12, the first American airplane, a Navy PBY, landed on what by then was known as "Henderson Field" to evacuate two wounded Marines.

Over the next few months, as U.S. Marines fought to take control of the island, Henderson Field would be the staging area for the evacuation of almost 3,000 wounded Marines.

Makin Island Raid
Marine Raiders in Operation at Makin Island, 1943.
(U.S. government photo)


Marine Raiders Strike Makin Island

On August 17, 1942, the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion under Lietenant Colonel Evans F. Carlson landed on Makin Island.

The Raiders, who were launched from the submarines Nautilus and Argonaut, destroyed a seaplane base, two radio stations, and a supply warehouse, in addition to killing approximately 100 Japanese soldiers before leaving the island the following day.

PFC James Anderson Jr. Awarded Medal of Honor
PFC James Anderson Jr.
(USMC photo/released).


PFC James Anderson Jr. Awarded Medal of Honor

On August 21, 1968, Secretary of the Navy Paul R. Ignatius posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to Private First Class James Anderson Jr. for heroism in Vietnam, the first time an African-American Marine received this medal (and one of only five African-American Marines to ever be awarded this medal).

The award was received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Anderson, Sr., at Marine Barracks 8th & I, in Washington D.C. This event was also notable in that it indicated the Marine Corps was evolving and that some of the long-standing prejudices within the Corps (namely those against minority Marines) were being eroded.

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Marines Return Home from Lebanon
The Marine barracks building in Beirut, Lebanon.
(USMC photo Courtesy of II MEF/released).


Marines Return Home from Lebanon

On August 23, 1984, the last Marines to serve on peace-keeping duty in Lebanon arrived back in Ameria. The 24th Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU) arrived off the coast of Lebanon on 9 April to relieve Marines of the 22nd MAU, who were guarding the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. The 24th MAU left Beirut on 31 July, marking the end of U.S. combat troops in Beirut for the first time since Marines had entered the city almost two years earlier.

Battle of Bladensburg
"The Final Stand at Bladensburg," by Colonel Charles Waterhouse, USMCR (Ret), depicts Marines, as part of Commodore Joshua Barney's naval battalion, manning 12-pound guns at the Battle of Bladensburg, Md., 24 Aug. 1814.


Battle of Bladensburg

On August 24, 1814, Captain Samuel Miller led a detachment from Marine Barracks, Washington, in the Battle of Bladensburg in defense of the nation's capital.

After fighting back three British charges, Captain Miller was wounded as British forces began to flank the Marines, forcing the Marines to retire to avoid capture. Eight Marines were killed and 14 were wounded.

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