Thursday, February 23, 2012

Today in Marine Corps History...A Marine Corps for the next 500 Years.

"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."
(James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 February 1945.)
 Via Wikipedia.
The Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, had decided the previous night that he wanted to go ashore and witness the final stage of the fight for the mountain. Now, under a stern commitment to take orders from Howlin' Mad Smith, the secretary was churning ashore in the company of the blunt, earthy general. Their boat touched the beach just after the flag went up, and the mood among the high command turned jubilant. Gazing upward, at the red, white, and blue speck, Forrestal remarked to Smith: "Holland, the raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years."
Forrestal was so taken with fervor of the moment that he decided he wanted the Suribachi flag as a souvenir. The news of this wish did not sit well with 2nd Battalion Commander Chandler Johnson, whose temperament was every bit as fiery as Howlin Mad's. 'To hell with that!' the colonel spat when the message reached him. The flag belonged to the battalion, as far as Johnson was concerned. 
Go to Wikipedia to read this short passage on the Battle for Iwo Jima.  It's well worth the time.

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