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2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment 1st Marine Division

Second Battalion Seventh Marines is garrisoned on board the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at 29 Palms, CA. 2d Battalion, 7th Marines activated 01 January 1941 at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as the 2d battalion, 7th Marines and was assigned to the 1st Marine Brigade, Fleet Marine Force. It was reassigned during February 1941 to the 1st Marine Division, and relocated during April 1941 to Paris Island, South Carolina, and relocated during September 1941 to New River, North Carolina. The Battalion was attached during March 1942 to the 3rd Marine Brigade, and deployed during April 1942 to Samoa. It was detached during August 1942 from the 3rd Marine Brigade and reassigned to the 1st Marine Division. It participated in the following World War II campaigns: Guadalcanal; Eastern New Guinea; New Britain; Peleliu; and Okinawa. It participated in the occupation of North China, September 1945 – January 1947. The unit relocated during January 1947 to Camp Pendleton, and deactivated 26 February 1947.

The Battalion was reactivated 17 August 1950 at Camp Pendleton, California, and assigned to the 1st Marine Division. It deployed during September 1950 to the Republic of Korea and participated in the Korean War from September 1950 through July 1953, operating from Inchon-Seoul, Chosin Reservoir, East Central Front, and Western Front. It participated in the defense of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, July 1953 – March 1955, and relocated during March 1955 to Camp Pendleton.

It deployed during June 1965 to Camp Schwab, Okinawa, and participated in the War in Vietnam, July 1965 – October 1970, operating from Qui Nhon, Chu Lai, Dai Nang, Dai Loc and An Hoa.

The Battalion relocated during October 1970 to Camp Pendleton, and was reassigned to the 5th Marine Amphibious Brigade. Reassigned during April 1971 to the 1st Marine Division, it participated in the battalion rotation between the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa and divisions stationed in the United States during the 1980s. It relocated during January 1990 to Twenty-nine Palms, California, and participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Southwest Asia, August 1990 – March 1991, and relocated during March 1991 to Twenty-nine Palms, California.

The battalion continued to participate in the rotation between 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa and divisions stationed in the United States from March 1991 – June 2005. From July 2005 – January 2006 and January 2007 – August 2007, the battalion was assigned to Regimental Combat Team 6 and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, operating around the Fallujah area. Upon returning to Twenty-Nine Palms, California the battalion started predeployment workup for another tour. In April 2008, the battalion deployed to Afghanistan to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom.

From April 2008 to November 2008 the Battalion deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 08 and was assigned to Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, and later to the Special Purpose MAGTF – Afghanistan. Operating from locations in Northern Helmand and Eastern Farah Provinces, the Battalion engaged in heavy fighting with insurgent forces while conducting full-spectrum COIN with a focus on development of the Afghan National Police.

The Battalion deployed to Okinawa, Japan in support of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) from January to July of 2010. During this deployment the Battalion participated in Operation Cobra Gold 2010 and Operation Balikatan 2010 in the countries of Thailand and Republic of the Philippines. The Battalion again deployed to Okinawa, Japan in support of the 31st MEU from June to December of 2011. During this deployment the Battalion participated in Talisman Saber 2011 and PHIBLEX 2011 in the countries of Australia and Republic of the Philippines.


2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment 1st Marine Division

The 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines was initially formed in July 1914 and immediately sailed to the Caribbean due to political turmoil in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The battalion returned to the United States in late 1914. In June 1917, the battalion sailed for France with its present regiment. During World War I, the battalion participated in the Battle of Belleau Wood, Soisson, and the Meuse-Argonne Campaign. For these actions, the battalion was twice awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Palm and once with Gold Star. The FOURRAGERE, representing these awards, and is worn today by members of the battalion.

2nd Battalion, 5th Marines participated in the post-war occupation of Germany and returned to the United States in August 1919. In 1920, at Quantico, Virginia, the battalion was ordered to guard U.S. mail trains. During this period, it also participated in reenactments of Civil War battles. The battalion was sent to Nicaragua in 1927 to fight bandits and supervised the 1928 national elections there.

At Quantico from 1934 on, the battalion participated in numerous exercises contributing to the development of the Marine Corps Amphibious Doctrine. In 1941 2nd Battalion 5th Marines joined the newly formed 1st Marine Division at New River, North Carolina. The 1st Marine Division departed the East Coast in 1942 and has never returned. During World War II, that battalion fought at Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, and Okinawa. After the war, the battalion served on occupation duty in North China until 1947.

In July 1950, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines sailed from Camp Pendleton, California, to Pusan, Korea. In August, the battalion fought at the Pusan Perimeter. The battalion participated in the landing at Inchon, the liberation of Seoul, the Chosin Reservoir Campaign, and the defense of the East Central and Western Fronts. From July 1953 to February 1955, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines assisted in the defense of the Korean de-militarized zone after which it returned to Camp Pendleton.

In 1959, the battalion deployed to Camp Schwab, Okinawa, and then in 1960, relocated to Camp Pendleton. In April 1966, the battalion deployed to the Republic of Vietnam. During the next five years the battalion participated in combat operations in Hue city, Que Son, Phu Bai, Dong Ha and Phu Loc. The battalion returned to Camp Pendleton in 1971, and in 1975 participated in Operation New Arrival, the relocation of Southeast Asian Refugees.

During the next fifteen years, the battalion deployed regularly as part of the Marine Corps Unit Deployment Program. In December 1990, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines sailed for the Persian Gulf and participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines landed in Saudi Arabia and participated in the liberation of Kuwait. During the return transit to the United States, the battalion was diverted to Bangladesh in order to provide humanitarian relief as part of Operation Sea Angel.

In 1993, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines deployed as the Battalion Landing Team for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operation Capable) and participated in operations in Rwanda and Somalia. In 1995 the Battalion began regular deployments to Okinawa for service as the Battalion Landing Team for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) and participated in several operations in East Timor.

In February 2003, the Battalion deployed to Kuwait as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. In March, the Battalion attacked into Iraq, freed the Iraqi people and conducted peacekeeping operations in Muthanna Province until its redeployment in August. The Battalion earned its 14th Presidential Unit Citation for the Operation Iraqi Freedom campaign.

In August of 2004, the Battalion once again deployed to Iraq to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom II in Ar Ramadi, Iraq.

2nd Battalion, 5th Marines is the most highly decorated battalion in the United States Marine Corps. Its motto comes from its actions at Belleau Wood during WW I. The fleeing French advised the newly arrived Marines to retreat in the face of overwhelming odds. The Battalion’s response: “Retreat, Hell!”


Iwo Jima Veteran Frank Mathews

“The Corps didn’t prepare you to die,” said 87-year-old Frank Matthews, a docent we met at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, who was an 18-year-old private first class when he landed on Iwo Jima with 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division.

“Most of the Marines that I knew were around 19-years old and had a chance to really live life.
But the Marine Corps did train us well for battle and we knew that as we approached the sands.”

A Fallen Korean War Leader: Col. Alvin Mackin

It’s been almost 57 years since the Marines of Company D, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, left the Korean peninsula after cold days and long nights of combat. In the years since, those same Marines have gotten together, as most Marines do, holding reunions off and on.

One of the Marines who served in “Dog Company” was retired Col. Alvin Mackin.

The Cleveland native enlisted in the Marine Corps Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. After completing boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., Mackin was selected for an officer program.

In World War II, he served as a navigator in a B-25 Mitchell, and later served as an infantry officer in the Korean War as well as a regimental commander during the Vietnam War, before retiring in 1972. His awards included the Silver Star and the Bronze Star with a Combat V for valor.

His service in Korea, which has been claimed as the “Forgotten War,” was what the Marines in attendance remembered of him.

“He was a breath of fresh air,” said Fred Frankville, a former corporal who served under Mackin.

Mackin made sure the day he became the company commander of Dog Company that he shook the hand of every Marine under his command, said Frankville. In a time where Marines didn’t know many people outside of their fire teams, this made a big impact. Frankville was so impressed that he had no issue later serving as Mackin’s driver, something he said he was honored to do.

This level of contact continued long after Mackin moved on from the Marine Corps. In 1980, he got in touch with some of the Marines he served with in Korea, suggesting that they meet up at a veteran reunion the following year. Nine Marines from Dog Company attended the meeting, and a tradition was born. Mackin became one of the founding members of the Dog Seven Association, an organization dedicated to finding the rest of the Marines who served in the unit.

This was the same leadership the Marines remembered him for in Korea. Mackin had a habit of personally going out and checking the route of a patrol before sending his Marines, said Charles Curley, who served as a sergeant with Mackin.

“Some people are leaders but don’t know how to lead,” said Curley “He knew how to lead.”

Mackin cared for everyone in the unit. As Gonzalo Garza, a former platoon sergeant under Mackin explained, “We did more for him because of his leadership.”

Jacqueline Mackin-Hartman, the oldest daughter of Mackin, said she was amazed at the pride the Marines had in serving with her father. It is a feeling that she shares.

“My pride in my father continues to grow as the realization of his impact on others was so strong,” said Mackin-Hartman. “Like them, my father lived his life like a Marine, and now I am beginning to better understand what that means.”

Mackin passed away Sept. 24, 2009, a week after his 88th birthday. At his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, Mackin led the way once more, as the three Marines and the families in attendance followed the procession to the grave site. After the ceremony, the Marines paused, savoring their last reunion with Col. Al Mackin, who lays forever interned at Arlington National Cemetery and in their memories.


Patriot Guard Riders Mission Alert: Pfc Michael “Cowboy Mike” J. Metcalf

Pfc Michael “Cowboy Mike” J. Metcalf, 22, ANC 17 May 2012

This is a confirmed ANC Mission Plan

Pfc Michael J. Metcalf, 22, USA, Boynton Beach, FL and Astabula, OH, died 22 April in Paktia, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Pfc Metcalf was assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 504th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC.
Pfc Metcalf is to be buried on the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery on 17 May 2012 at approximately 1300 hours.

Click Here for mission details/updates

Thursday, 17 May 2012
Stage: 1115 Hrs Stage at Murphy’s Funeral Home
Brief: 1130 Hrs
Escort: 1145 Hrs FH to ANC (Gate Meet, Time Approx)
Honors 1300 Hrs Graveside ANC (Time Approx)

Staging Location:
Murphy’s Funeral Home
4510 Wilson BlvdArlington, VA
Ride Captain: Bruce “Robocop” Gentile @ 301-542-6707 (cell)

Iron Horses preferred, cages welcomed as always.
Mounted large flags preferred for the Escort, (furl upon ANC parking)
Military mandated ID/gear NOT required for this mission.

A Marine Serves Across The World

TREK NAWA, Afghanistan — Every Marine has a different story to tell when they speak of their time in the Corps. They share similar experiences like deployments and field exercises, but not many serve as liaisons from the Marine Corps and become another country’s military asset.

This is the story of Cpl. Rojelio B. Gonzalez, a 25-year-old native of San Bernardino, Calif., who currently serves as a radio operator with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. While Gonzalez is presently with fellow Marines, in September 2010 he deployed to Helmand province, Afghanistan with 2nd Marine Headquarters Group and was attached to the British Army.

While serving with his British allies in Helmand, Gonzalez learned discovered several differences between the coalition forces in terms of how they operate and interact with fellow servicemembers.

“They were a great group of guys, the hardest part was adapting to the differences between us,” said Gonzalez. “Unlike the Marine Corps, many of these guys had been together since boot camp and referred to each other on a first name basis.”

During his tour of service with his British counterparts, Gonzalez and other attached Marine elements were tasked with training the Afghan National Army, conducting vehicle searches and detaining suspected insurgents.

“It was a great experience,” said Gonzalez. “Not many Marines can say they served with another country’s military during a time of war.”

Prior to serving with any unit, Marine or British, Gonzalez attended boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego after making the decision to enlist in 2009.

Following boot camp, he attended the School Of Infantry West and the field wiremen school before checking in with 2/6.

“I decided to join the Marine Corps because it was something I always wanted to do and I had never felt accomplished in my life,” said Gonzalez. “When I graduated boot camp it was the proudest moment of my life, it was also the first time I ever felt I made my father proud.”

Three years later, after training and a combat deployment with the British Army, Gonzalez again finds himself in Afghanistan. This time he is serving in Helmand’s Nawa District with Weapons Company, 2/6 as a radio operator.

“Being with Marines again is awesome, but both experiences have been really good,” said Gonzalez. “The brotherhood within the Marine Corps infantry is the best part of being here; we’ve all been in firefights and execute the missions given to us.”

Gonzalez believes the most memorable moments of his Marine Corps experience will be the firefights he’s returned from, with all the Marines in his squad alive and well.

“Gonzalez is a great Marine who always gets the job done,” said Lance Cpl. James M. Armstrong, a radio operator with 2/6 Weapons Co. “I’m proud to serve beside him as a radio operator and Marine.”

Gonzalez is nearing the end of his first contract with the Marine Corps and because of his varied experiences, he is unsure of whether he wants to re-enlist or pursue a career in the private sector. His two main options in the civilian work force are teaching high school or becoming a police officer, but Gonzalez’s love for the Corps and the bonds he’s built with his fellow Marines during his current deployment may just persuade him to reenlist for another four years.

“The camaraderie you get in the Marine Corps is hard to find anywhere else,” said Gonzalez. “I’ve loved being a Marine and that’s why I’m not sure where to go from here, it’s been a great experience and I’ve learned so much in just three years.”

Editor’s note: Second Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, is currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5, 1st Marine Division (Forward), which works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling the ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.

Cpl. Johnny Merkley

From Looking After The President To Watching Out For Marines

When Sgt. Andrew Jender, watch chief for 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, enlisted in the Marine Corps, he envisioned himself becoming an infantryman but he had no idea he would be looking after the president.

Three days after his high school graduation during June 2008, Jender was on his way to recruit training. While there, Jender was screened to become a part of the presidential security detail at Camp David.

“I was originally planning to go into the infantry, but they selected me for the presidential security instead,” Jender said. “It was rough at first because I joined to be in the infantry so I wanted to be in the fleet doing infantry things. Now that I look back on it though even though, there were some long days, it was worth it. I got to work with a lot of secret service guys so it was a nice experience to work with civilians in that field. Even though I didn’t originally enlist to do that it was still a good experience and I enjoyed my time there.”

Jender was one out of 300 infantry Marines interviewed while in boot camp. To narrow the field they did an extended background check, a written test and then a verbal sit down with first sergeants and sergeants major.

“They ended up narrowing it down to three people from my boot camp company. I originally joined to be in the infantry, but when they picked me for that instead, I decided to give it a go and see how it was,” said Jender.

Jender ended up being stationed at Camp David for two and a half years where he got to meet the president.

“I got to meet the president twice, once when he landed at Camp David. Then when you finish up your tour you get to do a White House meeting in the Oval Office with a guest, so I took my dad and it was a good time,” Jender said. “It was a lot of work looking after the president, especially when his family was with him at Camp David. All the preparation and all the security that has to be put into it so there were some long days and some rough days. But I liked it up there though, it was relaxing and a good experience.”

Jender hasn’t decided whether he wants to make a full career out of the Marine Corps but said he wants to further his education either way.

“I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to re-enlist, but I’ve heard a lot of people say you don’t really know if your going to re-enlist until the time comes,” Jender said. “My plan right now though is to get out, go to school and try to use my experience to get a job with the secret service or the CIA. If that doesn’t work out though I’d like to major in sports medicine and become a physical therapist or personnel trainer.”

Jender said besides missing friends, he misses his family more than anything else.

“I enlisted for my dad and family,” Jender said. “This is my first deployment and they’ve been so supportive, they’ve sent me 13 care packages since I’ve been here. My dad flew to California to drive my car back to Chicago because he knew it would be easier for me. I mean they’ve been nothing but supportive so I definitely can’t wait to see them again when this deployment is over.”

To cope with being away from home, Jender focuses on his job while working 12-hour shifts in the Combat Operations Center and keeps a positive mental attitude. Jender’s daily tasks include tracking battalion movements, sending up any reports companies require and working with the Afghan National Army soldiers and interpreters located in the COC.

“If your not paying attention, or your worried about stuff back home, it doesn’t do anybody any good, plus everybody out here is missing somebody from back home,” Jender said. “Trying to keep your time occupied is the main thing because dead time is time you spend thinking about home and it gets rough.”

Staff Sgt. Mark Koerner, 29, from Joliet, Ill., assistant operations chief with 2nd Bn., 5th Marines, noted Jender’s professionalism in a harsh environment.

“Sgt. Jender is a good guy in every facet, he’s very knowledgeable and he’s like a sponge. He’s a real quick learner,” Koerner said. “He doesn’t need any supervision. If you give him a task, he’ll get it done for you. He knows how to take care of his Marines. He looks after the younger guys and makes sure they’re taken care of. From the start, I’ve been real impressed with his work ethic. One thing I like about him the most is he continues to keep a good sense of humor. I have no doubt that he’ll excel in whatever he decides to do in life.”

Once Jender left Camp David and checked into 2nd Bn., 5th Marines, he was placed in the battalion operations section. Even though he wasn’t able to go to a line company doing the things he originally enlisted to do, he still keeps a positive mental mentality.

“It sucks knowing that I have friends out there with line companies that I cant really help,” Jender said. “I work in the battalion section so I hear about everything that’s going on so it’s hard to listen to everything that’s going on and not being able to do anything about it. At the same time though, I’m not the type of person that’s going to complain and do my job badly. I figure if they put me here, I’m going to help out everybody the best I can.”

Lance Cpl. Mark Garcia

Blue Knights Give 2/6 A Lift

The rotor blades are spinning and low chatter is drifting in over the internal communication system. The flight crews of the two MV-22B Ospreys awaiting takeoff – again – have been flying since before 5 a.m., March 28. It’s late morning now and their day is far from over.

Before the day is done, the crews from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365, known as the “Blue Knights,” will have picked up nearly 40 Marines, sailors and Afghan National Army soldiers from a remote patrol base and dropped them off even deeper into Helmand province, Afghanistan.

“When getting ready for an [operation], I’m thinking about prepping the aircraft and making sure our weapons are clean and ready,” said Sgt. Kyle Harrison, a crew chief with VMM-365 and San Diego native. Harrison explained that clean weapons and updated personnel rosters are important concerns for him as a crew chief. He ensures that the aircrews have everything they need to complete the mission, whether it is available seats for passengers, ammunition or fuel.

Upon landing at the patrol base, there is little time before the Marines and sailors of 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment file efficiently onto the two aircraft. They are organized and they are ready. They have all the gear they will need to spend several weeks outside the wire conducting combat operations.

The Marines and sailors of 2/6 have only been in country for a few months and some have already taken note of the efficiency and professionalism of the aircrews they often depend on for supplies, long distance movements and infiltrations.

“Every time we do this, they’re very professional,” said Lance Cpl. Dylan Jackson, a fire team leader with 2/6 and Fairfax, Va., native.

Jackson explained that he has participated in three aerial infiltrations and each time the aircrew has worked to get Marines and sailors to their destination safely and ahead of schedule.

Harrison added that the ability to fly to these locations is crucial to completing ground operations.

“We have the element of surprise,” said Harrison. “We drop out of the sky and land anywhere. If [ground troops] walk, they’re [vulnerable] to attack. If they have to take their vehicles, they’re forced to travel on roads with [improvised explosive devices.]”

When the Ospreys land at the predetermined patrol site in southwestern Afghanistan, the Marines, sailors and ANA soldiers are off the aircraft even faster than when they boarded. The well-trained personnel fan-out in a defensive arc, faced with barren desert and sparse farms.

“Once we got off the deck … everything went very quickly,” said Harrison. “We got the [ground combat element] exactly where they wanted to go. That helps them effectively carry out their mission.”

The Blue Knight crews take flight as soon as the last man is on the ground and at a safe distance from the Ospreys. The aircraft depart quickly, racing upward and conducting stomach-churning turns. The faster they get back in the air, the safer they are. It’s time to return to Camp Leatherneck and prepare for the next mission.

Cpl. Lisa M. Tourtelot


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