L/CPL Robert J. Slattery, Marine Corps League Det #206, NEWSLETTER, Apr 2020 - #3
This Month in USMC History

APRIL

  • 3 April 1945: On Okinawa, Marines of the III Amphibious Corps continued to make good progress all along their front, clearing Zampa Misaki and seizing the Katchin Peninsula, thus effectively cutting the island in two. By this date (D+2), III AC elements had reached objectives thought originally to require 11 days to take.
  • 5 April 1947: Five Marine guards were killed and eight wounded when attacked by Communist Chinese raiders near the Hsin Ho ammunition depot in Northern China. This last major clash between Marines of the 1st Marine Division and Communist forces occurred shortly after withdrawal and redeployment plans from China were issued for the 1st Division and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing on 1 April.
  • 10 April 1959: Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr. was named as one of the original seven Project Mercury astronauts selected for space training. The seven astronauts, all volunteers, were selected by NASA from an initial group of 110 leading military test pilots. Three years later, on 20 February 1962, Col Glenn would become the first American to orbit the Earth.
  • 12-13 April 1918: Marines of the 4th Brigade suffered their first gas attack on the night and early morning hours of 12-13 April when the Germans bombarded the 74th Company, 6th Marines near Verdun with mustard gas. Nine Marine officers and 305 enlisted Marines were gassed and evacuated, and 30 Marines died from the effects of the gas shells which hit in the middle of the reserve area cantonments in which they were sleeping.
  • 15 April 1962: Marine Corps operational involvement in the Vietnam War began on Palm Sunday when HMM-362 with its Sikorsky UH-34s arrived at Soc Trang in the Delta south of Saigon. The task unit was called "Shufly" and its first operational employment involved lifting Vietnamese troops into battle.
  • 18 April 1983: One Marine Security Guard was killed and seven were wounded when a large car bomb exploded just outside the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. Lance Corporal Robert McMaugh was standing guard at Post 1, just inside the front entrance when the bomb exploded outside the door. The explosion killed 61 people including 17 Americans. LCpl McMaugh was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on 26 April.
  • 21 April 1951: Marine carrier-based airplanes made their first aerial contact with enemy planes over the Korean front lines. Captain Philip C. Delong shot down two YAK fighters and 1st Lieutenant Harold D. Daigh destroyed one more and damaged another in the heavily defended Pyongyang-Chinnanpo area. Both pilots were with VMF-312 flying from the USS Bataan.
  • 27 April 1805: First Lieutenant Presley N. O'Bannon, who with seven other Marines was part of a force of Greeks and Arabs led by American Consul William Eaton, raised the United States flag for the first time over a conquered fortress of the Old World at Derne, a stronghold of the Tripolitan pirates. Two Marines were killed and one wounded in the assault on the walled city.
  • 28 April 1993: The last A-6E Intruder departed from Marine Corps service. Marine All Weather Attack Squadron 332 transferred the last Marine A-6E to St. Augustine, Florida, and prepared for the squadron's transition to the F/A-18D and eventual movement from Cherry Point to Beaufort, South Carolina.
  • MAY

  • 2 May 1946: Marines from Treasure Island Marine Barracks, under the command of Warrant Officer Charles L. Buckner, aided in suppressing the three-day prison riot at Alcatraz Penitentiary in San Francisco Bay. WO Buckner, a veteran of the Bougainville and Guam campaigns, ably led his force of Marines without suffering a single casualty.
  • 5 May 1983: In Beirut, Lebanon, a UH-1N helicopter carrying the commander of the American peace-keeping force, Colonel James Mead, was hit by machine gun fire. The six Marines aboard escaped injury. Colonel Mead and his crew had taken off in the helicopter to investigate artillery and rocket duels between rival Syrian-backed Druze Moslem militiamen and Christian Phalangists that endangered French members of the multinational force.
  • 8 May 1995: In the wake of the most devastating storm to hit the New Orleans area in more than 200 years, a group of Marines and sailors from Marine Forces Reserve demonstrated the quick response synonymous with the Navy/Marine Corps team. Within 24 hours of being called, Marines assisted in the evacuation of 2,500 civilians, and Navy corpsmen treated scores of flood victims.
  • 10 May 1945: The 22d Marines, 6th Marine Division, executed a pre-dawn attack south across the Asa River Estuary and seized a bridgehead from which to continue the attack toward Naha, the capital of Okinawa.
  • 15 May 1862: Corporal John Mackie, the first Marine to earn the Medal of Honor, was commended for service in the USS GALENA during action against Confederate shore batteries at Drewry's Bluff which blocked the James River approaches to Richmond.
  • 16 May 1945: The 22d and 29th Marines continued the attack against Half Moon Hill, a day characterized by the 6th Marine Division as the "bitterest" of the Okinawa campaign. By the 18th, the famed "Shuri line" had been broached.
  • 22 May 1912: First Lieutenant Alfred A. Cunningham, the first Marine officer to be assigned to "duty in connection with aviation" by Major General Commandant William P. Biddle, reported for aviation training at the Naval Aviation Camp at Annapolis, Maryland, and Marine aviation had its official beginning.
  • 23 May 1988: The V-22 Osprey, the world's first production tilt-rotor aircraft, made its debut during rollout ceremonies at Bell Helicopter Textron's Arlington, Texas, facility. More than 1,000 representatives from the military, industry, and media, gathered to hear various speakers, including Gen Alfred Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, praise the versatile rotor craft designed to meet the needs of 21st Century battlefields.
  • 26 May 1969: Operation Pipestone Canyon began when the 1st Battalion, 26th Marines and 3d Battalion, 5th Marines began sweeps in the Dodge City/Go Noi areas southwest of Da Nang. It terminated at the end of June with 610 enemy killed in action at a cost of 34 Marines killed.
  • 29 May 1991: Elements of a joint task force that included the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade departed the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Bangladesh after nearly two weeks of disaster relief operations following a devastating cyclone. The joint task force delivered tons of relief supplies using helicopters, C-130s, and landing craft in Operation Sea Angel.