This Month in Marine Corps History: December

Learn about the Corps

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


Hagaru-Ri
*Image info: Raymond G. Davis
(official USMC image)

 

Hagaru-Ri

On December 4, 1950, after four days of fighting their way through the Taebek Mountains, Lieutenant Colonel Raymond G. Davis and the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines arrived in Hagaru-Ri, in present-day North Korea. Their victory over the numerically-superior North Korean and Chinese forces helped clear the way for the 5th and 7th Marines, and Davis was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism.


Chueylite
*Image info: U.S. Marines hold the Sandino (Nicaraguan bandits) flag.
(U.S. government photo)

 

Chueylite

On December 6, 1928, a small detail of Marines under the command of Captain Maurice G. Holmes defeated Nicaraguan bandits near Chuyelite.

Captain Holmes was awarded the Navy Cross for gallantry, and Gunnery Sergeant Charles Williams was killed during the fighting.


Pearl Harbor
*Image info: An aerial view of the submerged USS Arizona, which was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickham, Hawaii. The memorial straddles the hull of the sunken battleship, which was declared a National Historic Landmark on 5 May 1989.
(U.S. government photo)

 

Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, Japanese forces launched a surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii. The attack began just before 8:00 am local time, and in the two hours it lasted, nearly 20 American ships and more than 300 aircraft were destroyed. 2,000 American troops died in the attack and a further 1,000 were wounded. The following day, the United States declared war on Japan, marking its official entry into Worl War II. For the next three-plus years, American soldiers, sailors, and Marines battled Japanese forces across the Pacific, until Japan surrendered in August of 1945.


Wake Island
*Image info: Approximately 100 U.S. and Japanese historical structures, including this Japanese gun bunker, remain on Wake Island. (USMC photo by Gunnery Sergeant Bill Lisbon).

 

Wake Island

On December 8, 1941, Japanese forces launched an attack on American sailors and Marines stationed on Wake Island, roughly 3,000 miles west of Honolulu, just hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. For more than two weeks, Marines from the 1st Defense Battalion and Marine Fighting Squadron 211 fought off Japanese forces, until being forced to surrender on December 23.


Operation Restore Hope
*Image info: A U.S. Marine Corps Bell UH-1N helicopter lifts off from the ramp at Moi International Airport, Mombasa (Kenya). The helicopter was ferrying personnel and equipment to and from naval vessels off the coast of Africa. U.S. forces were bringing in personnel, material and equipment to support the withdrawal of United Nations peacekeeping forces (UNOSOM II) from Mogadishu, Somalia.
(U.S. government photo)

 

Operation Restore Hope

On December 9, 1992, Marines from the 15th Expeditionary Unit (special operations capable) landed in Somalia to begin Operation Restore Hope, the largest humanitarian relief operation of its kind.


Bosnia
*Image info: U.S. Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit establish a security perimeter in a muddy soccer field at Sokalac, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
(U.S. government photo)

 

Bosnia

On December 10, 1995, 22 Marines from Marine Corps Security Force Company, Naples, Italy were among the first American troops to arrive in Bosnia. The Marines provided security for Allied Forces Southern Europe headquartered in the nation's capital, Sarajevo. Approximately 2,500 NATO troops would be in place by 19 December taking on the task of peace enforcement in former Yugoslavia from the U.N.


Marine Security Guard Program
*Image info: The Marine Security Detachment in Moscow. October 7, 2015.
(Marine Corps photo by MCESG USMC.)

 

Marine Security Guard Program

On December 15, 1948, then-Secretary of the Navy John L. Sullivan signed a "Memorandum of Agreement" with the State Department. This memorandum laid the groundwork for the establishment of the modern Marine Security Guard program at U.S. embassies throughout the world.


Astronaut Security
*Image info: The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga moored at a pier, January 1962.
(U.S. Navy photo)

 

Marines Provide Security for Astronauts

On December 19, 1972, the Marine detachment of the USS Ticonderoga provided shipboard security for three U.S. astronauts, Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans, Harrison Schmitt, and their Apollo-17 space capsule. The astronauts had successfully completed a (then) record lunar stay of more than 75 hours.


!-- Operation Just Cause -->
Operation Just Cause
*Image info: A U.S. Marine task force on a reconnaissance patrol during Operation Just Cause.
(USMC photo by Sergeant Robert C. Jenks).

 

Operation Just Cause

On December 20, 1989, Operation Just Cause was launched in Panama to protect American lives, restore democracy to the country, preserve the integrity of the Panama Canal Treaty, and remove dictator General Manuel Noriega from power. One Marine, Corporal Garreth C. Isaak, was killed and three other were wounded during the operation.


Wake, Wilkes, Peale Islands Captured
*Image info: Approximately 100 U.S. and Japanese historical structures, including this Japanese gun bunker, remain on Wake Island.
(U.S. government photo)

 

TWake, Wilkes, Peale Islands Captured

On December 23, 1941 Japanese forces launched a pre-dawn amphibious assault on American forces, including U.S. Marines stationed on Wake Island and Wilkes Island, as well as launching airstrikes against Wake, Wilkes, and Peale islands. After approximately 12 hours of resistance, the islands were surrendered.


Marines Provide Flood Relief
*Image info: The USS Princeton.
(U.S. Navy photo)

 

Marines Provide Flood Relief

On December 26, 1957, 20 helicopters from Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 162 were rushed to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) onboard the USS Princeton. Upon arrival, Marines participated in the rescue and evacuation of flood victims.


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