III ‘Phib Proud
of Its Record
The Marine Corps standard was returned to North China by triumphant men, the Marines of the Third Amphibious Corps and its First and Sixth Divisions.
The Leathernecks who came to help the Chinese disarm the Japs and get the country on a peacetime footing were fresh from the war's last land battle at Okinawa.
Farther behind them lay other islands whose now-historic names mark the path the Marines beat to victory in the Pacific.
Commanding the American garrisoning of North China is Marine Major General Keller E. Rockey, who took charge of the corps in the final stages of the Okinawa campaign.
He, like the organization he leads, has a proud battle record, with service in every war and campaign since the Mexican border troubles preceding World War I.
The North China operation from the start has been like nothing the Third Amphibious Corps Marines had seen in their trek across the Pacific.
Landing on docks lined with people cheering instead of battle beaches; through streets thronged with friendly people instead of crawling through jungle underbrush; a toast instead of a target - this was something new.
For the Third Amphibious Corps had reached the end of a long, hard road.
Born October 1, 1942, a month before the first American offensive in the Pacific, the organization, then the First Marine Amphibious Corps, took part in every operation in the Solomon Islands, beginning with Guadalcanal.
With Major General Clayton B. Vogel in command, it served on Guadalcanal; in February, 1943, a Marine-led force of Raiders and Army troops landed in the Russell Islands, and four months later units operating under the Army hit New Georgia.
The following month Major General Alexander A. Vandegrift succeeded General Vogel as commander. Vandegrift's promotion to lieutenant general and transfer to Washington came in September, 1943.
His successor, Major General Charles D. Barrett, was killed in an accidental fall only three weeks later and General Vandegrift returned.
In November of '43 Major General Roy S. Geiger, a pioneer marine pilot and former head of Marine South Pacific aviation, assumed command.
While these changes were taking place, the Corps wound up the New Georgia campaign, occupied surrounding islands, including Arundel, Gixo and Kolombangara.
Next came Bougainville, New Zealand troops attached to the Corps for the operation hit the Treasury Islands, October 27, 1943, followed a day by paramarines, serving as infantry, in a strike against Choiseul.
Meanwhile, Raiders and the Third Marine Division, a part of the Corps at that time, caught Japs off balance with a landing at Empress Augusta Bay.
The Solomons were secured in early '44, and the last landing of the Marine Amphibious Corps was made March 20, 1944, at Emirau Island in the St. Matthias group. In April the name was changed to the Third Amphibious Corps.
The organization was handed a big assignment as its initial operation as the Third 'Phib Corps.
Then comprising the Third Marine Division, the First marine Provisional Brigade (later to become part of the Sixth Marine Division) and the Army 77th Division, the Corps was assigned to liberate Guam. The campaign took 20 days, most of the Japs killed or captured between July 21 and August 10. On September 15 First Division, under Third Corps administration, attacked Peleliu island, one of the most violent Pacific operations.
then, its composition changed to the First, Second and Sixth Marine Divisions, the corps trained for Okinawa, and the First and Sixth Divisions captured Yontan airfield and adjacent territory on D-Day, April 1. The Sixth Division pushed for 24 days to the island's northern tip, thereby capturing two-thirds of the island's land mass.
The First Division was rushed in early May to the Naha-Shuri line to aid 10th Army troops. The Sixth Division joined the battle on May 9.
In breaking the Naha-Shuri line the Sixth captured the capital of Naha, its airfield and Oroku peninsula, and the First stormed Shuri and battled down the defenses of Shuri Castle.
The island was secured June 21 after the two divisions, with their Army comrades, routed the stubbornly-resisting Japanese from their caves in the southernmost cliffs.
|This is How We Felt on Okinawa . . . How About China? (By Sgt. Roland G. James USMCR.)|
(The following are excerpts from the Tientsin Evening Journal column by Sergeant William Martin Camp, USMC, author of "Retreat, Hell!" and "Skip to My Lou," two recent novels.)
A Marine who said "Gung Ho," after the fashion of Colonel Carlson's Raiders to a Chinese passer-by the other day, wondered why the Chinese grinned broadly and bowed. Finally an English-speaking Chinese explained to the Marine that "Kung ho fa ts'ai" meant "Congratulations! May you gather wealth." The Marine just shrugged and passed on.
* * *
We have a Chinese friend who, upon hearing the Marine Band concert last Sunday in Victoria park, was asked what he thought of it. "I'm afraid," he replied, "that it has no harmony."
And to show you how much the Chinese appreciate their own music, here's what you'll find in "Gems of Chinese Literature" about the sound of a Chinese symphony:
"** Softly, as the murmur of whispered words, now loud and soft together, like the patter of pearls and pearlets dropping upon a marble dish. Or liquid, like the warbling of the mango-bird in the bush; trickling like the streamlet on its downward course. And then, like the torrent, stilled by the grip of frost, so for a moment the music lulled, in a passion too deep for words.***"
* * *
"When victory crowns your arms, And I your triumph learn, What bliss for me to fly To welcome your return."
* * *
We wonder if "inflation" prices hit San Francisco as they did when the Marines landed in China.
* * *
"Long Life to the American Allies.
For sale - good luggage - cheap!
NO CUTTEE, NO SAVVY
Sign on a Tientsin barber shop:
"Marines heads cut off here.
Ladies heads cut fine."
|Salutes from United States Marines and the Japanese alike signify the end of Japanese domination.|
|Japanese Lieutenant General Giosuke Uchida salutes General Rockey at the start of signing surrender papers in Tientsin. Lieut. Colonel C. P. Van Ness, Officer in Charge of the Surrender, is at left.|
|General Uchida's aide looks on remorsefully as his chief (seated) signs the documents. All surrender papers were signed thrice, in Japanese, Chinese and English. Japs were first to sign.|
|Ten thousand troops in Shantung Province were handed over by the Japanese to Major General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., commanding the Sixth Marine Division during formal surrender ceremonies pictured here in Tsingtao, October 25, 1945.|