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History of the U.S. Marine Corps Chronology-Part 2

From the War for Independence to the Invasion of Iraq, the Marine Corps has been the first to enter many conflicts in an attempt to bring stability to struggling parts of the globe. Marines today are intensively trained and equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry, primarily to attack in combined land, sea, and air operations.

Conflicts Other Events Inclusive Date(s) Explanation

France surrendered to Germany
June 17, 1940
Terms of the surrender included the disarmament of French forces and the occupation of two-thirds of France by the Germans.

2nd Marine Division was organized
February 1, 1941
The 2nd Marine Division was officially organized by a change of designation from the 2nd Marine Brigade.
Germany attacked U.S.S.R. on 2,000-mile front
June 22, 1941
Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, sending his armies into Poland. The German Army, with Finnish, Romanian, Hungarian, and Italian contingents, put 3,000,000 men into the Soviet Union along a 2,000 mile front.
Marines in defense of Iceland
July 7, 1941
1st Provisional Marine Brigade landed at Iceland.

Marines were deployed from China
November 27, 1941
4th Marines left Shanghai, marking the end of an era.
Pearl Harbor Attack
December 7, 1941
Marines tried to fight back when Japanese attacked U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. Marines at Tientsin and Peking were forced to surrender.
Japanese defeated American garrison on Guam
December 10, 1941
During the two days of bombing, and in the fighting on 10 December; four marines killed and 12 wounded. The Japanese evacuated American members of the garrison to prison camps in Japan a month later.
Japanese overwhelmed garrison on Wake Island
December 23, 1941
Japanese forces returned in strength to Wake Island. This time, they overwhelmed the U.S. forces on the island. Japanese bombers hit Rangoon, Burma.
Marines were forced into Manila Bay
December 28, 1941
Most of 4th Marines moved from Bataan to Corregidor Island in Manila Bay. Fortress island fell on May 6, 1942.
105 marines among Americans on Bataan Death March
April 9, 1942
70,000 American and Fillipino captives were forced to march about 60 miles north to the prison Camp O'Donnell. American prisoners of war were beaten randomly, and denied food and water for several days. Those who fell behind were executed.

First black marines
June 1, 1942
About 19,000 will join the Corps during World War II.

1st Marine Division landed on Guadalcanal
August 7, 1942
Guadalcanal became the first major American offensive of World War II, which began the U.S. Island Hopping campaign. That operation won the division its first of three World War II Presidential Unit Citations.
2nd Raider Battalion raided Makin Atoll
August 17, 1942
The objectives of the Makin Atoll operation were diverse: to destroy installations, take prisoners, gain intelligence on the area, and divert Japanese attention and reinforcements from Guadalcanal and Tulagi.
Battle of Edson's Ridge
September 13, 1942
On Guadalcanal, Marines turned back Japanese attack in Battle of Edson's Ridge.

3rd Marine Division was born
September 16, 1942
The 3rd Marine Division was officially activated at Camp Elliott, San Diego, California.

Army forces took over at Guadalcanal
December 9, 1942
Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Alexander Vandegrift turned over command of Guadalcanal to U.S. Army.
Soviets gained momentum
January 18, 1943
Soviets cracked the German siege of Leningrad, followed two weeks later by German surrender.

Women Marine Corps birthday
February 13, 1943
Woman's Reserve program was announced.
4th Raider Battalion landed on New Georgia
January 18, 1943
Adm. William F. "Bull" Halsey initially focused on New Georgia, a large island located on the southern flank of the Slot about halfway up the Solomons.
Russians won war's largest tank battle at Kursk
July 13, 1943
The Battle of Kursk was a significant battle of World War II. It marked the largest armored engagement of all time, and included the highest single-day casualty count of aerial warfare in history.
U.S. Army invaded Italy
September 3, 1943
American 5th Army invaded Italy at Salerno.
Marine Maj. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington forms "Black Sheep" squadron
September 16, 1943
Maj. Boyington shot down five enemy aircraft; he would total 28 during the war, the most of any marine pilot.
2nd Marine Division assaulted Betio Island of Tarawa Atoll in Central Pacific
November 20, 1943
Marines landed on Betio's northwest shore. The 2nd Marine Division initiated LVTs (Landing Vehicle, Tracked) as assault craft. LVTs would be effective in crossing the island's reef and manmade obstacles.
Marines landed in the Marshalls
February 1, 1944
4th Division's 23rd and 24th Marines landed on Roi and Namur of Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshalls.
D-Day at Normandy
June 6, 1944
Marines and U.S. Army land in Normandy which began the Allied assault on German positions in France.
Battle of Saipan
June 15, 1944
2nd and 4th Marine divisions assault Saipan.
Marine Division took on Guam / Marines landed on Tinian
July 21 - July 24, 1944
3rd Marine Division opened battle for Guam; 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions land on Tinian. Against suicidal resistance, the islands are won by early August.
1st Marine Division assaulted Peleliu (southeast of the Philippines)
September 15, 1944
Five infantry battalions of the 1st Marine Division's 1st, 5th, and 7th Marines, in LVTs lumbered across 800 yards of coral reef before landing and assaulting the jungles of Peleliu, in the Palau Island group.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines
October 21, 1944
MacArthur's forces invaded Leyte Gulf in the Philippines, and trudged ashore with his men at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. By doing so, MacArthur fulfilled his promise to return.
Marines attacked the Japanese on Iwo Jima
February 19, 1945
4th and 5th Marine divisions assaulted Iwo Jima, raised the American flag on Mt. Suribachi four days later.
Iwo Jima
March 26, 1945
The battle for Iwo Jima caused a total Marine casualty count of 26,000.
Marines landed on Okinawa
April 1, 1945 (Easter)
U.S. 10th Army, including 1st and 6th Marine divisions, landed on Okinawa.

Germany surrendered unconditionally
May 7, 1945
Gen. Alfred Jodl, on behalf of the German High Command, signed the papers that endorsed the unconditional surrender of all German forces.
Marines took Okinawa
June 21, 1945
Americans were victorious on Okinawa despite ruthless Japanese Kamikaze pilots.

Japan given surrender ultimatum
July 26, 1945
President Harry S. Truman issued Potsdam Declaration calling on Japan to surrender unconditionally.
Atomic Bomb
August 6, 1945
The B-29 "Enola Gay" dropped atomic bomb, dubbed "Fat Boy," on Hiroshima; three days later, Nagasaki also was bombed.

Japanese surrendered
August 14, 1945
The Japanese surrendered; the formal surrender took place aboard the battleship Missouri on September 2.

History of Marines-Part 2