korean war: usmc

U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Kurt Chew-Een Lee was the first U.S. Marine Corps officer of Chinese descent. During the Korean War, Lee, a Marine Corps Lieutenant back then, and his platoon were facing Chinese troops aiding the North Korean forces. He drew fire to himself and yelled phrased in Mandarin, confusing the enemy troops, which led to his unit’s victory despite being outnumbered. For his heroism, he received the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, and two purple hearts, and he passed away on March 3, 2014.

RED HOT: Three badass Marines light their smokes off a 50 caliber machine gun barrel that got red hot while firing at Red troops in central Korea. They are, left to right: Cpl. Charles E. Fritchman of China Lake, California, Pfc. James E. Hickman of Fort Worth, Texas, and Sgt. Donald MacGillivray, Chicago, Illinois. Ashland, Ohio, Times-Gazette. Monday Evening, May 7, 1951.


Women from the first all-female honor flight in the United Sates watch a Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Sept. 22, 2015, in Arlington, Va. There were 75 female veterans from World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War in attendance, as well as 75 escorts, who were also female veterans or active-duty military.

(U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/released)

Sergeant Reckless, a chestnut mare who served in the U.S. military 63 years ago during the Korean War, has been honoured with the PDSA’s Dickin Medal. The award is the equivalent of the Victoria Cross for animals. Reckless lived to be 20 years old despite being wounded twice. She died in 1968.
Reckless was bred to be a racehorse. The Marine Corps bought her for $250 in October 1952. “Reckless” nickname because she carried ammo for the Recoilless Rifle, a gun so dangerous it was called the “reckless” rifle.

In the course of one five-day fight, 28 tons of bombs were dropped. The terrain of the battlefield was described by Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Geer as “smoking, death-pocked rubble.” In one day, Reckless made 51 trips during the Outpost Vegas battle in 1953. She carried more than 9,000 pounds of supplies and walked more than 35 miles in that one day alone.

Brian Hutton, the author, nominated the Mongolian mare for the award after he spent six years researching and writing her biography. According to Hutton, “she was loved by the Marines, they took care of her better than they took care of themselves, throwing their flak jackets over her when the incoming fire was heavy. Her relationship with the soldiers underscores the vital role of animals in war, not just for their prowess and strength in battle, but for the support and camaraderie they provide to their fellow troops. There is no knowing a number of lives she saved.” The ceremony was held at Victoria Embankment Gardens on Wednesday. Hidalgo, the horse, received the award on Reckless’ behalf.

Maria Dickin founded the PDSA animal charity and established the Dickin Medal in 1943 to highlight acts of bravery by animals in war. Most of the awards have gone to carrier pigeons.

Approximately 37,000 US and 1,000 British soldiers died in the Korean War. The war lasted from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953.
(Via War History Online)

In one of the most iconic images of the Korean War, if not the history of the United States Marine Corps, 2nd Lt. Baldomero López scales the seawall at Inchon on Sept. 15th, 1950. Mere minutes after the photo was taken however, Lopez would be killed in action, jumping on a grenade that he had dropped, after being struck by North Korean fire, in the act of throwing it. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

(National Archives)


Reconnaissance Marines

The Marine Recon we know today dates back to the W.W.II. Before 1944 the Marine Recon were primarily scout/sniper units. In April 1944 a two company amphibious reconnaissance battalion were formed. They started operating with UDT (Underwater Demolition Team), to conduct beach reconnaissance and hydrographic survey.The Marine Recon along with UDT reconned for the landings at Iwo Jima in 1945.

During the war in Korea the Marine Recon and UDT did a series of raids on Korea’s east coast, destroying railroad tunnels and bridges. At a time the Marine Recon operated 200 miles behind enemy lines. In 1951 the Marine Recon made the first helicopter assault in the Marine Corps history.

When the marines landed in Vietnam in 1965, the Marine Recon were there to support their respective Units. In Vietnam the Marine Recon conducted deep and distant reconnaissance patrols. They mostly operated in seven-man teams performing the so called ‘Stingray’ operations. The last marines left Vietnam in 1971.

During the 1970s and 1980s the Marine Recon went through some changes. 23-man deep reconnaissance platoons were created to compensate for the reducement of the Marine Recon after the Vietnam War. The basic Recon teams were still the four-man teams. When the hostage recovery program was started in 1976 with federal law enforcement agencies and the Army Special Forces, some of the Marine Recon units were assigned to Direct Action missions. In 1977, snipers were again a part of the marine units.

In October 1983 the Marine Recon took part in the invasion of Grenada, and in 1989 they went into Panama in Operation ‘Just Cause’. In 1990 Marine Recon was deployed in the Gulf. Here they scouted the front lines of the Iraqi forces. They found ways through enemy lines for the marine invasion. Prior to the ground war the Marine Recon took 238 prisoners.

NOTE: The Marine Recon is not a part of SOCOM (Special Operation Command).

Active Duty:
Divison Recon Company-1st Marine Division Camp Pendleton California 1st Force Recon Company, 1st SRIG, Camp Pendleton, California 2nd Recon Battalion-Camp Lejuene North Carolina(2nd Force Recon Company is now part of this unit) Division Recon Company-3rd Marine Division, Camp Butler, Okinawa Japan 5th Force Recon Company, Camp Butler, Okinawa Japan
3rd Force Recon Company, Mobile Alabama 4th Force Recon Company, Reno Nevada and Oahu Hawaii 4th Reconnaissance Battalion-San Antonio Texas, Billings Montana, Albuquerque New Mexico, and Anchorage Alaska.


U.S. Marine machine gunner Corporal Leonard Hayworth, 22 years old, weeps upon realizing that he and his men, who have taken heavy casualties, are out of ammunition. “His eyes swung searchingly along the edge of the ridge, then up into the rainy sky. Slow, heavy tears started down across his face.”

When it seemed that … machine-gunner Cpl Hayworth was shattered beyond all hope, a black-jawed, smiling old veteran crawled over … Sitting shoulder to shoulder with the younger man, he calmly told him how they were still holding the line … The grimy old veteran talked a feeble smile back upon the face of the corporal. Tears still streaked his face up under his helmet where the rain could not wash them away, but the Old Marine seemed not to notice. Korea, August 1950.“ (This Is War!)

Weeks after taking this picture, while still in Korea, David Douglas Duncan handed Hayworth a copy of the September 18, 1950, issue of LIFE in which the above photo appeared. “Hayworth looked at this huge picture of himself, in the biggest photo magazine in the world,” Duncan recalls. “He didn’t say anything. He just smiled. He looked like Errol Flynn, about 6-foot-3, a tall, handsome Marine. And no one’s saying anything, looking at this picture of him, crying, and an old sergeant behind him says, ‘We all cry sometimes.’ The next day, September 25th – the three-month anniversary of the start of the war – a sniper shot Corporal Hayworth between the eyes.”
Photo: David Douglas Duncan/LIFE