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Marine Corps Legends: Private First Class Frank Witek

Private First Class Frank Witek was killed in action on 3 August 1944, in the battle of Finegayan, Guam. He was the 28th Marine to receive the Medal of Honor during World War II.

Frank Peter Witek was born 10 December 1921, in Derby, Connecticut. He was of Polish ancestry. When he was 9, the family moved to Chicago. It was there he finished his student days at Crane Technical High School and went to work at the Standard Transformer Company.

On 20 January 1942, he left for recruit training after enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps. He left almost immediately for Pearl Harbor and in January 1943, his family heard from him while he was in New Zealand. From there he went to Bougainville where he fought in three major battles. Then he went to Guadalcanal for a rest. On 21 July 1944, the 3d Division Marines invaded Guam. PFC Witek was a Browning automatic rifleman and scout behind the Japanese lines.

On 8 September 1944, his mother received a telegram from Washington informing her that her son had been killed on 3 August. According to a combat correspondent’s release, he was slain at the battle of the Mount Santa Rosa road block. He had only eight cartridges left on an original 240 rounds when he was found.

On Sunday, 20 May 1945, 50,000 persons, including his mother and Gen Alexander A. Vandegrift, Commandant of the Marine Corps, met in Soldier’s Field, Chicago, to do honor to his memory. PFC Frank Peter Witek, 23 years old, had earned the highest military award his country could give him – the Medal of Honor.
Initially buried in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps Cemetery on Guam, PFC Witek’s remains were reinterred in the Rock Island National Cemetery, Rock Island, Illinois, in 1949.

Reprinted with the authorization of the United States Marine Corps History Division

Roles In The Marine Corps: Infantry Officer

Infantry Officers are central to the role of the Marine Corps as an expeditionary force.
They are responsible for training their Marines for every variety of ground combat mission in any environment.
They gather and evaluate intelligence on enemy forces, develop offensive and defensive battle plans and command their infantry unit’s use of weapons and equipment.

Visit http://bit.ly/gKHekW for more information about becoming a Marine Officer.


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General Robert H. Barrow

General Robert H. Barrow, 27th Commandant of the Marine Corps, was born 5 February 1922 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After attending Louisiana State University, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942 and was commissioned a second lieutenant 19 May 1943.

Lieutenant Barrow subsequently served as Officer-in-Charge of an American team attached to a group of Chinese Nationalist guerrillas. He entered China via India and after many months of operations along the periphery of the area held by the Japanese in central China, his team entered Japanese occupied territory and conducted intensive guerrilla operations for the last seven months of World War II. For this service, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”. After the war, Lieutenant Barrow remained in China for another year, six months of which was spent in Shanghai and six months in the Tientsin-Peking area.

He returned to the United States in October 1946, and served as Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force (FMF), Atlantic, until September 1948. Captain Barrow then completed the Amphibious Warfare School, Junior Course, Quantico, Virginia.

From 1949 until 1950, he served as Commanding Officer of Company A, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

During the Korean War, he led Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, in the Inchon-Seoul operation and the Chosin Reservoir campaign. For the latter he was awarded the Navy Cross for holding a pass near Koto-ri on 9-10 December 1950.

In February 1956, he commenced an eighteen month tour with the 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. From the summer of 1957 to the summer of 1960, he served as the Marine Officer Instructor, NROTC Unit at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. In September 1959, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

Colonel Barrow graduated from the National War College in June 1968. He then served in the Republic of Vietnam, as Commanding Officer, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division (Rein), and as Deputy G-3, III Marine Amphibious Force. During the nine months he served as Commanding Officer of the 9th Marines, his regiment participated in numerous combat actions in the vicinity of the DMZ, Khe Sanh, Da Krong Valley, and A Shau Valley. For extraordinary heroism in Operation Dewey Canyon, he was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Cross.

After promotion to brigadier general, he served as Commanding General at Camp Butler, Okinawa. On further promotion to major general, he became Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island. He was promoted to lieutenant general in 1975 and assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps as Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower. In 1976, he was named Commanding General, FMF, Atlantic, at Norfolk.

General Barrow became the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps in July 1978, so serving until appointed the Corps’ Commandant on 1 July 1979.

General Barrow was the first Commandant to serve, by law, a regular four-year tour as a full member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was instrumental in acquiring approval of production for the Marine Corps of the American-modified Harrier aircraft, in awakening interest in new and improved naval gunfire support, in getting amphibious ships included in the Navy’s new construction programs, and in returning hospital ships to the fleet, especially on station with Marine Corps amphibious task forces.

General Barrow retired as Commandant on 30 June 1983 and returned to his native state of Louisiana. Upon retirement he was presented with the Distinguished Service Medal.

General Barrow died in his sleep on 30 October 2008 and was laid to rest at Grace Episcopal Church Cemetery in Saint Francisville, Louisiana.

In addition to the Distinguished Service Medal, a complete list of his medals and decorations include: the Navy Cross; the Army Distinguished Service Cross; the Silver Star Medal; three Legions of Merit; the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” and Gold Star in lieu of a second award; the Presidential Unit Citation with one bronze star; the American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the China Service Medal; the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star; the Korean Service Medal with three bronze stars; the Vietnamese Service Medal with one bronze star; four Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry with Palm; the Republic of Vietnam National Order, Fifth Class with Gold Star in lieu of a second award; the United Nations Service Medal; and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

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1942 Everybody Joins US War Effort

Movie stars travel the country by train, stopping in cities and towns to sell War Bonds.
(Of course, back then most people in Hollywood didn’t spend all day snorting cocaine.)

Jimmy Stewart, Joe Louis, Tyrone Power, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and others enlist.

Plants speed up war production.

RAF blasts Nazis in American made bombers. Cameras mounted on the planes show the bombing runs.

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Marine Expeditionary Force – 2014 Highlights

Contains highlights from exercises during 2014 and is not limited to exercises like Steel Knight, Valiant Mark, Dawn Blitz, Koru Kiwi, Large Scale Exercise and Pacific Horizon.

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Bravo Battery Marines Tour Washington

QUANTICO, Va.

Marines with Bravo Battery, 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, packed their bags and headed to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., for a lesson on Marine Corps history and a tour of the nation’s capital, Dec. 15-19.

According to 1st Sgt. Wesley O. Turner, the first sergeant for Bravo Battery, the trip was designed to give the battery’s Marines a chance to learn about the lineage of Marines past and to honor the sacrifice of previous generations of service members.

“The trip was designed to give the Marines background on their history and put it into perspective,” said Turner, a native of Kansas City, Mo. “Each day of the trio was intended to teach the Marines something different.”

During the trip, the Marines of the battery occupied a squad bay at the Marine Corps’ Officer Candidates School at Quantico. After claiming their racks and sorting out their gear, they prepared for day one, which included tackling the Tarzan Course at OCS.

According to Capt. Konrad N. Reese, commanding officer of Bravo Battery, the course gave the junior leaders within the battery a chance to challenge their Marines and build camaraderie.

“We chose to have the Marines take on the course to build unit cohesion and assess their mental courage,” said Reese. “Nothing makes a Marine more willing to overcome their fears than having everyone he knows cheering him on.”

The Tarzan Course was a blast, said Pfc. Isaac E. Moir, a gunner with the battery.

“The course wasn’t a cake walk,” said Moir, a native of Aurora, Colo. “Once you make it to around the half way point there is very little feeling left in your forearms. However, for me, the best part was after I finished and watching everyone else’s different approaches to the obstacles and cheering them on.”

On day two, the Marines visited the National Museum of the Marine Corps, outside the main gate of the Crossroads of the Marine Corps, as Quantico is known. According to Sgt. Anthony J. Zeitz, a section with 2nd Platoon, the visit gave the Marines a chance to learn about and view the history of the Corps and help give perspective to the junior leaders within the battery.

“I think for many of the Marines, myself included, going to the museum brought out who we are as Marines and reignited the flame that inspired us to join,” said Zeitz, a native of Olcott, N.Y.

During the third day, the Marines visited Arlington National Cemetery and toured the National Mall.

At the nation’s cemetery for service members, the Marines trod hallowed ground where more than 400 thousand service members are buried. During the tour, the battery’s Marines viewed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a living monument to the sacrifice of service members across the generations, and stood solemnly during a burial ceremony.

“Visiting the cemetery opened my eyes,” said Moir. “It’s one thing to hear how many lives were lost but it is and completely jaw dropping to see it. It was an intense atmosphere.”

After touring the cemetery, the Marines explored the other monuments and memorials around the National Capital Region, a city rich with history, said Zeitz.

“A lot of guys bonded over the memorials,” said Zeitz. “Many of the Marines had family who fought in pervious wars but didn’t know about it until then.”

On the final day of the trip, the Marines visited Marine Barracks Washington, home of the Commandant of the Marine Corps. A special tour guide, First Lady of the Marine Corps Ellyn Dunford, explained the history and significance of the installation at 8th and I.

“The tour was amazing,” said Zeitz. “The house is full of history and Mrs. Dunford explaining everything to us, which made the experience even more unique.”

According to Reese, the battery’s leaders see the benefits of connecting their Marines to the past and providing a link to the Corps’ history and hope to make similar trips in the future.

“I believe the trip had a great impact on the Marines,” said Reese. “Our goal now is to make this experience an annual event for the battery.”

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2015 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl

Did everyone see this last night?

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Marine Corps Officers’ Physical Fitness

Marine Corps Officers’ Physical Fitness
Executive Order No. 989
President Theodore Roosevelt
9 December 1908

1. Officers of the United States Marine Corps, of whatever rank, will be examined physically and undergo the tests herein prescribed at least once in every two years; the time of such examinations to be designated by the Commandant of the Corps so as to interfere as little as possible with their regular duties, and the tests to be carried out in the United States between May first and July first, as the Commandant of the Corps may direct, and on foreign stations between December first and February first.

2. All field officers will be required to take a riding test of ninety miles, this distance to be covered in three days. Physical examinations before and after riding, and the riding tests, to be the same as those prescribed for the United States Army by General Orders, No. 79 (paragraph 3), War Department, May 14, 1908.

3. Line officers of the Marine Corps in the grade of captain or lieutenant will be required to walk fifty miles, this distance to be divided into three days, actual marching time, including rests, twenty hours. In battle, time is essential and ground may have to be covered on the run; if these officers are not equal to the average physical strength of their companies the men will be held back, resulting in unnecessary loss of life and probably defeat: Company officers will, therefore, be required, during one of the marching periods, to double-time two hundred yards, with a half minute’s rest; then three hundred yards, with one minute’s rest; and then complete the test in a two hundred yard dash, making in all seven hundred yards on the double-time, with one and one-half minutes’ rest. The physical examinations before and after the tests to be the same as provided for in paragraph 2 of this order.

4. The Commandant of the Marine Corps will be required to make such of the above tests as the Secretary of the Navy shall direct.

5. Field officers of the permanent staff of the Marine Corps who have arrived at an age and rank which renders it highly improbable that they will ever be assigned to any duty requiring participation in active military operations in the field, may, upon their own application, be excused from the physical test, but not from the physical examination, prescribed above. Such a request, however, if granted, will be regarded by the executive authority as conclusive reason for not selecting the applicant for any future promotion in volunteer rank, or for assignment, selection or promotion to a position involving participation in operations of the line of the Marine Corps, or in competition with officers of the line of the Marine Corps for any position.

Marine Corps News From World War Two: Jap Shell Intrudes To Protect Marines

SOMEWHERE IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC

Staff Sgt. Alfred Scalcione says it’s peculiar how things are taken out of one’s hands In wartime.
“Three of us were huddled in a small dugout one night,” said Scalcione, “waiting for an enemy battlewagon to get tired of pumping shells in our direction. “A spotter plane dropped a flare right over our position to direct its ship’s fire.
The Japs couldn’t miss us unless we doused that flare as soon as it hit ground.
“It seemed to take an hour to come down. PFC. George Mason jr. volunteered to sandbag the giveaway light.
Just as he poised to dash out of our dugout, a 14–inch Jap shell plunked right on top of the flare 15 feet away.

From The May 1943 Issue Of The Marine Corps Chevron

Public Domain

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War Secrets Must Not Be Shared Even With Family

(This article appeared in a 1942 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron. The advice is as true today as it was then.)

The following is another in a series on lip-silence and national security taken from an address by the Chief of the Bureau of Naval Personnel.

There is danger of having faith in your fellow men. But what about the faith you have in your friends and relatives —- in your mother and father, and the girl you are going to marry? Of all Security lessons, this is the hardest to- learn — that Service information must be shared with no one, not even with those you love. Now that is not to say that you must no longer put your trust in these people in whom you may have confided all your life. But you must not share with them secrets that are not yours to impart—secrets that belong to the Navy and to tho Navy alone. It is no good arguing that you have absolute faith in the girl you are going to marry, and that if you cannot trust her, then you cannot trust anyone. That is not the point. She will not have had the advantage of Security instruction such as you have had. She may not properly understand what you are talking about. She may give away information without knowing she has done so. And remember that the first person an enemy agent contacts when he wants to know anything secret is the wife or girl friend of the man who knows that secret. You may feel that your wife or mother has the right to know when you are in danger a right to be told if you know that on a certain date you are sailing in convoy, or are going on a raid from which you may never return. And you may also feel that they have a right to know if this raid is cancelled so that their minds may be set at rest. But this must not happen. The more people who know a secret, the less chance there is of it being kept, keep this quite clear in your minds, because it is the first rule of Security. Once you realize this, you will see that it is not only careless talk that costs lives. Too many people are of the opinion that careless talk is loud-mouthed conversation in public bars to perfect strangers, and that its opposite, careful talk, is a confidential whisper to your wife or sweetheart. But it is talk of any sort that must be stopped, no matter what the precautions that are taken.

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Marine Corps News From World War Two: Knife Nips Ninth Nip For Irishman

SAN DIEGO (U.P.)

A six-dollar San Diego knife put Irish Billy Beauhuld’s ninth Jap down for the long count, after his rifle was shot from his hand and a bullet ripped open his knee.
Irish Billy is a former lightweight boxer who battled some of the best in his day down St. Louis way. He was diving for a foxhole when the Nip won the drop on him and shot away a finger of his rifle hand. Beauhuld was credited with two snipers shortly after arriving on Guadalcanal, and six others In a skirmish shortly before the Marines were relieved by the Army.

From The May 1943 Issue Of The Marine Corps Chevron

Public Domain

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