MARINE OF THE WEEK // TACOMA NATIVE, WWII FLYING ACE:

Col. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington Graduate of Lincoln High School, Tacoma, WA World War II, 1943-1944 Award: Medal of Honor (highest U.S. military award)   “Consistently outnumbered throughout successive hazardous flights over heavily defended hostile territory, Major Boyington struck at the enemy with daring and courageous persistence, leading his squadron into combat with devastating results to Japanese shipping, shore installations and aerial forces. Resolute in his efforts to inflict crippling damage on the enemy, Major Boyington led a formation of twenty-four fighters over Kahili on October 17, and, persistently circling the airdrome where 60 hostile aircraft were grounded, boldly challenged the Japanese to send up planes. Under his brilliant command, fighters shot down 20 enemy craft in the ensuing action without the loss of a single ship … Major Boyington personally destroyed 26 of the many Japanese planes shot down by his squadron…”

read more

CAMP PENDLETON BASE ARCHIVES SECTION PRESERVES THE HISTORY OF THE MARINE CORPS

The Marine Corps has a long-established history, which is cherished and preserved by all Marines who earn the title. The History and Museum Branch’s Base Archives Section aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton works to aid in preserving the history and distinguished legacy of the Marine Corps.

read more

Marine of the Week

On Dec. 18, 1965, then-1stLt. Harvey Barnum was serving as an artillery forward observer with Company H, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines in Vietnam. The company suddenly became pinned down by a hail of accurate enemy fire and separated from the remainder of the battalion by over 500 meters of open and fire-swept ground. Casualties mounted rapidly. Barnum quickly made a hazardous reconnaissance of the area, seeking targets for his artillery. Finding the rifle company commander mortally wounded and the radio operator killed, he, with complete disregard for his own safety, gave aid to the dying commander, then removed the radio from the dead operator and strapped it to himself. He immediately assumed command of the rifle company, and moving at once into the midst of heavy fire, rallying and giving encouragement to all units, reorganized them to replace the loss of key personnel and led their attack on enemy positions from which deadly fire continued to come. His sound and swift decisions and his obvious calm served to stabilize the badly decimated units and his gallant example as he stood exposed repeatedly to point out targets served as an inspiration to all. Provided with two armed helicopters, he moved fearlessly through enemy fire to control the air attack against the firmly entrenched enemy while skillfully directing one platoon in a successful counterattack in the key enemy positions. Having thus cleared a small area, he requested and directed the landing of two transport helicopters for the evacuation of the dead and wounded. He then assisted in the mopping up and final seizure of the battalion’s objective. For his gallant initiative and heroic conduct, Barnum received the Medal of Honor. After 27 years of service, he retired as a Colonel. (U.S. Marine Corps photos)

read more

MARINE OF THE WEEK // “We had to buckle down. There was no time to dwell.”

MARINE OF THE WEEK // “We had to buckle down. There was no time to dwell.”

Sgt. Ken Rick
1st Battalion, 7th Marines
Afghanistan, June 22-23, 2012
Award: Silver Star

After the completion of an air assault into an Afghan village, then-Sgt. Ken Rick (now a Staff Sgt.) and his squad were attacked from multiple positions by high volumes of medium machinegun and indirect fire. Rick subjected himself to the enemy fire four times to employ his M4 carbine and M203 grenade launcher accurately while directing his squad’s maneuver. By his leadership, Rick’s squad served the enemy with devastating firepower and forced their immediate withdrawal. Later that day, with complete disregard for his own safety, Rick forfeited cover and ran out of their patrol base, covering 200 meters of open ground to lead a security team and recover a mortally wounded Marine. Though enemy rounds impacted within feet of his position as the security team maneuvered to the patrol base, Rick calmly directed his squad’s fires. He remained outside the patrol base, suppressing the enemy until all of his Marines were safely inside. The following day, Rick again led his squad in countering a complex ambush. The precision fire he employed from his grenade launcher destroyed two enemy fighters and oriented close air support aircraft onto their targets, ultimately leading to the destruction of the enemy.

read more

June 6, 1944

June 6, 1944 marks the 76th Anniversary of Allied Forces landing on a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified Normandy coastline. Comprising British, Canadian and American soldiers, the invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history with more than 73,000 American soldiers making the initial landings with the support of nearly 7,000 US Navy vessels. Although Marine Corps involvement in the Pacific theater of World War II is well known, there were some Marines that participated in the European campaign as well. Marine Major General Robert O. Bare was awarded the Bronze Star for his efforts on D-day and obtaining valuable intel as an observer attached to British Assault Force J. See these photos from the Robert O. Bare Collection depicting what he saw on the beaches of Normandy!

read more

MARINE OF THE WEEK:

MARINE OF THE WEEK:

Sgt. Franklin Simmons
2nd Battalion, 7th Marines
Farah, Afghanistan, Aug. 8, 2008
Award: Silver Star

In August 2008, then-Cpl. Franklin Simmons was serving in Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines as a Force Recon platoon team leader and designated marksman. While conducting clearing operations in the village of Shewan, Cpl. Simmons’ platoon was ambushed by a numerically superior enemy force. Volleys of intense rocket propelled grenade and machine gun fire disabled one of the platoon’s vehicles and trapped several Marines in the kill zone. Without regard for his own safety, Cpl. Simmons exposed himself to intense enemy rocket propelled grenade and machine gun fire as he crawled to the top of a berm to locate targets with his Mark 11 sniper rifle. He resolutely ignored enemy machine gun rounds impacting within a foot of his position as he calmly employed his weapon to kill the enemy firing at his fellow Marines in the kill zone. Remaining in this exposed position to get the necessary observation of his targets, he killed an estimated 18 enemy fighters and wounded at least two others. Cpl. Simmons’ devastating fires during an 8-hour battle in oppressive heat were critical in saving the lives of his fellow Marines

read more

I am Legacy

Have you ever wondered about who you are in this life, in this world? What is your purpose in life? What will be or IS your contribution? After watching American Sniper, I wondered. Chris Kyle was a defender of our country and protector (overseer) of the troops he was with. That was his purpose. Looking back, I wondered what my purpose was, what did I do or what was I doing…. I recall going to my Marine Corps squadron’s several years ago, when Iraqi Freedom was being fought. The squadron was on their way back off of the carrier. There was a small crew from the squadron that was there to attend the reunion (lead team) and I was able to dine with a Marine that was with me from the time I was at my AFUN school. He has achieved the rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant and was telling me of some of the operations that they did off of the carrier. While he was telling me that, I was feeling less and less of a Marine. I did not feel worthy of claiming the title because during my time with the squadron there were no wars, or battles. We were the ‘transition’ squadron, making the change from the older F-4 Phantoms to the new F/A-18 Hornets. We learned. We maintained. We were awarded trophies for being safe and being able to keep all of our aircraft 100%, we traveled. What MGySgt Monroe said next nearly brought me to tears. He said “Guyer, what we did back then was setting the bar for these kids that are coming into the squadron today. We set that bar so high and they are trying to reach it so much, it is the new standard. And, because of that, we were able to bring back EVERY ONE. We lost no Marines while we were there…because of what we did then. You should be proud” After the movie and reflecting on what MGySgt Monroe said, I now know more about who I am and what I am doing….my contribution. I have been in aircraft maintenance for 30 years now and I am currently a maintenance instructor getting young men and women ready to take their Airframe and Powerplant licenses. I challenge my students, they are the next generation to keep, maintain and make those flying machines safe. They will be the ones that will be working on those machines that can make man break the bounds of the earth. I am the beginning of a Legacy. What I am doing now is setting the bar for those I am teaching to reach…..I am making a difference. Submit your own Story>>

MARINE OF THE WEEK // He refused to leave a fallen Marine behind…

MARINE OF THE WEEK // He refused to leave a fallen Marine behind…

Sgt. Eubaldo Lovato
1st Battalion, 8th marines
November 11, 2004
Operation Phantom Fury, Fallujah, Iraq
Award: Silver Star (upgraded from Bronze Star)

During the second battle for Fallujah, then-Corporal Lovato and his squad was ordered to clear a house. What the Marines did not know is that insurgents had barricaded themselves behind sandbags in one room.
When a fire team entered the room, Cpl. Travis Desiato was killed ­immediately by a barrage of AK-47 fire and fell to the floor. The insurgents put up such a volume of fire that the other Marines could not retrieve their comrade. The Marines fired ­blindly, unable to see the enemy fighters behind their barricade.
Lovato and the others in his squad could see Desiato on the ground. They tried calling out to him but he didn’t answer. A group of five Marines including Lovato made several attempts to reach Desiato ’s body. They threw C4 plastic explosives into the room, but it ­generated so much smoke that the Marines could not see anything. Then one Marine attached part of a shattered mirror to a stick, which allowed him to see where the insurgents were.
Pinned by enemy fire, Lovato manuvered to retrieve more grenades, with bullets passing through his pants pockets and sling.
Eventually Lovato was able to crawl to reach his Marines and asked a tank to blast the back of the building. The Marines stormed the building and killed the enemy inside. Lovato retrieved Desiato’s body.

read more