This Month in Marine Corps History: February

Learn about the Corps

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


Operation Prairie II Begins
*Image info: A squad of 3rd Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines patrolling along the Quang Tri River near CA LU Vietnam June 1967.
(photo by Russell Jewett/released.)

 

Operation Prairie II Begins

On February 1, 1967, elements of the 3rd Marine Division began Operation Prairie II in Quang Tri province, South Vietnam. The 46-day search-and-destroy operation, which concluded on March 18, 93 Marines and 693 enemy troops were killed.


Battle of Roi-Namur
*Image info: Marines from the 24th Marine Regiment during the Battle of Roi-Namur.
(Dept. of Defense photo/released)

 

Battle of Roi-Namur

On February 2, 1944, the 4th Marine Division captured Roi-Namur and eight other islands in the Kwajalein Atoll. This was done as part of the first assault on islands controlled by the Japanese before the beginning of World War II.


Hue's Hospital, Jail, Provincial Headquarters Recaptured
*Image info: A Company C, 1st Battalion 5th Marines machine gunner, with his assistant close by, fires his M-60 machine gun at an enemy position.
(Dept. of Defense photo/released)

 

Hue's Hospital, Jail, Provincial Headquarters Recaptured

On February 6, 1968, two reduced Marine battalions, the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines with two companies, and 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines with three, recaptured Hue's hospital, jail, and provincial headquarters. It would take three more weeks of intense house to house fighting, and nearly a thousand Marines killed and wounded, before the imperial city was secured.


John H. Russell Appointed U.S. High Commissioner to Haiti
*Image info: John H. Russell.
(USMC photo/released.)

 

John H. Russell Appointed U.S. High Commissioner to Haiti

On February 11, 1922, Brigadier General John H. Russell was appointed U.S. High Commissioner and personal representative of the President to the government of Haiti. For the next nine years, the future Commandant in supreme command of both the occupying American forces and the Haitian Gendarmerie.


USS Maine Explodes
*Image info: The USS Maine prior to its explosion.
(image released)

 

USS Maine Explodes

On February 15, 1898, 28 Marines and 232 sailors were killed when the U.S. battleship Maine exploded under suspicious circumstances in the harbor of Havana, Cuba. Despite the fact that no definitive evidence of the Spanish being involved in the explosion, "Remember The Maine" became a rallying cry and less than three months later, the United States and Spain were at war.


Operation Deckhouse VI
*Image info: Marines move through elephant grass in Vietnam .
(USMC photo by Lance Corporal Don Barr)

 

Operation Deckhouse VI

On February 17, 1967, the first full day of "Operation Deckhouse VI" took place near the city of Quang Ngai, Vietnam. Over the course of the operation, which lasted until March 3, the Special Landing Force (BLT Y4 and HMM-363) killed 280 enemy combatants.


Iwo Jima
*Image info: This iconic photograph by Joe Rosenthal depicts five Marines and a Navy Corpsman raising a U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
(National Archives and Records Administration photo.)

 

American Flag Raised on Iwo Jima

February 23 marks the anniversary of one of the most iconic moments in Marine Corps history and in all of World War 2—the American flag being raised over Mt. Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Background

By February of 1945, the United States Marine Corps had been fighting Imperial Japanese forces across the Pacific for three years. As the Marines slowly but surely worked their way across the Pacific in their island-hopping campaign and closed in on the Japanese homeland, the already fanatical Japanese resistance intensified, leading to some of the of the most brutally intense fighting in a campaign known for it ferocity.

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First Marine Expeditionary Force Attacks Iraqi Defenses
*Image info: US Marines drive their M-60A1 main battle tank over a sand berm while rehearsing their role during Operation Desert Storm. The tank is fitted with reactive armor and an M-9 bulldozer kit.
(USMC photo by Staff Sergeant M.D. Masters).

 

First Marine Expeditionary Force Attacks Iraqi Defenses

On February 24, 1991, the First Marine Expeditionary Force, along with coalition forces, began a ground assault on Iraqi defense forces in the final stages of Operation Desert Storm. The First and Second Marine Divisions attacked Iraqi defenses from the front while allied armored forces attacked from the rear. Approximately 100 hours later, Iraqi forces surrendered.


Operation Desert Storm Cease-Fire
*Image info: U.S. Marine Corps fire a 155mm artillery piece during Operation Desert Storm.
(US Navy photo/released)

 

Operation Desert Storm Cease-Fire

On February 28, 1991, Operation Desert Storm came to an end when a cease-fire declared by George W. Bush went into effect. Over the course of the war, the First Marine Expeditionary Force had a strength of more than 92,000 Marines, making Operation Desert Storm the largest Maine Corps operation ever. In total, 24 Marines were killed during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.


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