Marine Corps Chronology
from the book The Marines

J. Robert Moskin

"We have fought in every clime and place . . ."
Whenever trouble brews, the U.S. Marine Corps steps forward and faces the world for the nation. This chronology touches on the highlights of the Corps' story in synch with that of the United States year by year since the beginning.

1775
19 Apr - American Revolution begins when British troops fire on Minutemen on Lexington (Mass.) Common.
10 Nov - Continental Congress authorizes two battalions of American Marines; the birthday of the Corps.
28 Nov - Samuel Nicholas commissioned as Captain of Marines.

1776
3 Mar - Capt Nicholas and his Marines land at New Providence, Bahamas, seize military stores. And in January fight for Gen Washington at Princeton.
4 Jul - Congress approves Declaration of Independence.

1778
27 Jan - Captain John Trevett leads twenty-six Marines in capture of Fort Nassau, Bahamas.
22 Apr - John Paul Jones and Lt Samuel Wallingford spike cannon at Whitehaven, England. Later, Wallingford is killed when Ranger defeats Drake.

1779
28 Jul - Capt John Welsh and thirteen Marines killed in assault on Fort George at Penobscot Bay, Maine.
23 Sep - John Paul Jones's French-Irish Marines in epic battle between Bonhomme Richard and Serapis.

1781
19 Oct - Lord Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, Virginia.

1798
11 Jul - President John Adams signs Act establishing the U.S. Marine Corps.

1805
27 Apr - Lt Presley O'Bannon and seven Marines lead attack against Derna, Tripoli.

1812
18 Jun - United States declares war on Great Britain. The following March on board Essex, 1stLt John Marshall Gamble commands first Marines in the Pacific.

1813
10 Sep - Marine Lt John Brooks killed when Oliver Perry defeats British fleet on Lake Erie.

1814
24 Aug - In Battle of Bladensburg 114 Marines help defend Washington, D.C.
24 Dec - Britain and U.S. sign treaty ending war.

1815
8 Jan - Andrew Jackson, including Marines under Maj Daniel Carmick, defeats British at New Orleans.
20 Feb - Capt Archibald Henderson leads Marines in Constitution's victory over Cyane and Levant.

1820
8 Oct - LtColComdt Anthony Gale cashiered.
17 Oct - Archibald Henderson appointed commandant, holds position for thirty-eight years until his death.

1824
12 Mar - Brevet Maj Robert D. Wainwright and Marines from Boston quell riot in state prison. Story in McGuffey's Reader spreads Marines' fame.

1832
8 Feb - Brevet Capt Alvin Edson leads attack at Quallah Battoo, Sumatra.

1836
23 Jun - ColComdt Henderson and 462 Marines report for duty in the Second Seminole War.

1837
27 Jan - Col Henderson wins Battle of Hatchee-Lustee River against Seminoles in Florida.

1845
30 Oct - President James Polk sends 1stLt Archibald Gillespie to California with secret orders.

1846
13 May - U.S. Congress declares war on Mexico.
30 Jul - lstLt Jacob Zeilin leads Marine detachment ashore at Santa Barbara, California. Two weeks later Commo Robert Stockton, with 360 Marines and sailors, enters Los Angeles.

1847
9 Mar - Capt Alvin Edson leads Marine battalion ashore with Army forces at Veracruz, Mexico.
13 Sep - In Mexico City, Marines help seize fortress of Chapultepec and next day occupy the National Palace on site of the Halls of Montezuma.

1853
14 Jul - Marines under Maj Jacob Zeilin land as Commodore Matthew Perry opens Japan.

1856
20 Nov - Marines in landing party that captures four barrier forts guarding way to Canton, China.

1859
18 Oct - 86 Marines under 1stLt Israel Green, USMC, and LtCol Robert E. Lee, USA, capture abolitionist John Brown at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

1861
12 Apr - Confederate shore batteries fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. The Civil War begins.
21 Jul - Battalion of 365 Marines led by Brevet Maj John G. Reynolds fights in Battle of Bull Run.

1862
15 May - Cpl John F. Mackie on board ironclad Galena is first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor.

1863
1 Jan - Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation.
26 Apr - 250 Marines under Capt John L. Broome seize New Orleans custom house and city hall.
3 Jul - Battle of Gettysburg, highpoint of the Confederacy.

1865
15 Jan - 365 Marines in naval landing force attack Fort Fisher at Wilmington, North Carolina.
9 Apr - Gen Lee surrenders at Appomatox Courthouse.

1871
10 Jun - Capt McLane Tilton leads 109 Marines in naval attack on Han River forts in Korea.

1880
1 Oct - John Philip Sousa appointed 17th leader of the Marine Band.

1885
18 Jun - Marines land in Panama to protect trans-isthmus railroad.

1898
15 Feb - 28 Marines among 250 Americans killed when cruiser Maine is blown up in Havana harbor.
1 May - Admiral George Dewey destroys Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. Marines occupy Cavite Naval Station.
10 Jun - 1st Marine Battalion led by LtCol Robert W. Huntington lands at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Sgt John Quick signals under Spanish fire to save Marine unit, receives Medal of Honor.
10 Dec - U.S. and Spain sign Treaty of Paris.

1899
8 Oct - Marines attack Filipino insurgents at Novaleta.

1900
31 May - Marines reach Chinese capital to defend Legation Quarter from Boxer rebellion.
4 Aug - Marines in International Relief Force that marches out of Tientsin to lift siege of Peking. Pvt Dan Daly wins first of two Medals of Honor.

1901
28 Sep - Maj "Tony" Waller takes out 314 Marines to destroy Filipino insurgents who slaughtered U.S. Army company on Samar.

1903
5 Nov - Maj John Lejeune lands battalion to ensure Panama's independence from Colombia.

1906
28 Sep - Provisional Marine Brigade of 2,800 men lands at Havana; Marines stay until 1909.

1908
12 Nov - President Theodore Roosevelt removes Marines from warships, but six months later President Taft restores them.

1912
22 May - 1stLt Alfred Cunningham is first Marine aviator.
14 Aug - Maj Smedley D. Butler leads Marines ashore, beginning intervention in Nicaragua.
4 Oct - Marines fight at Coyotepe, Nicaragua.

1914
21 Apr - Marine regiments land at Veracruz, Mexico, to keep German guns from Mexican dictator.
2 Aug - World War I begins. Shortly thereafter the Panama Canal opens for traffic.

1915
28 Jul - Marines land in Haiti beginning their longest Caribbean intervention.
18 Nov - Maj Butler leads Marines in attack on Fort Riviere in Haiti, awarded his second Medal of Honor.

1916
15 May - Marine battalion begins occupation of Dominican Republic.

1917
6 Apr - United States declares war on Germany.
6 Jun - 5th Marine Regiment sails for France.

1918
6 Jun - Marines advance into Belleau Wood against German machine guns.
29 Jun - Marines from USS Brooklyn go ashore at Vladivostok, Siberia.
18 Jul - Marines in vast Allied counter-offensive meet Germans south of Soissons.
3 Sep - In Haiti, native leader Charlemagne Peralte starts revolt of "Cacos" against Marine rule.
12 Sep - In France, 2d Division including Marine Brigade begins offensive in Saint Mihiel salient.
3 Oct - 4th Marine Brigade assaults Blanc Mont in fierce fighting. Next day is Marines' bloodiest.
14 Oct - Marine fliers 2dLt Ralph Talbot and GySgt Robert G. Robinson win Medals of Honor.
1 Nov - Marine Brigade enters Meuse-Argonne.
10 Nov - 5th Marines make night crossing of the Meuse River against German resistance.
11 Nov - Armistice between Germany and Allies.

1919
31 Oct - Marine Sgt Herman Hanneken and Cpl William Button sneak into "Cacos" camp and kill Peralte.
19 Nov - U.S. Senate rejects Versailles Treaty.

1924
12 Jul - Marine Brigade leaves Dominican Republic.

1927
6 Jan - Marines begin second Nicaraguan intervention, fight Augusto Sandino in the mountains.
16 Mar - 4th Marines land at Shanghai to stay fourteen years.
27 Dec - Josef Stalin takes control of USSR.

1928
6 Jan - 1stLt Christian Schilt begins ten flights to aid besieged Marine patrol at Quilali, Nicaragua.
8 Mar - Capt Merritt A. Edson sets out on epic Coco River patrol to hunt for Sandino.

1930
25 Jul - Lt Lewis Puller wins first of five Navy Crosses chasing Sandino guerrillas in Nicaragua.

1931
18 Sep - Japanese Army occupies Manchuria.

1933
2 Jan - 5th Marine Regiment departs Nicaragua.
30 Jan - Adolf Hitler named chancellor of Germany.
4 Mar - Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurated as president.

14 Nov - Marines at Quantico, Virginia, begin work on "Tentative Landing Operations Manual."
7 Dec - Navy Department creates Fleet Marine Force.

1934
15 Aug - Marines end intervention in Haiti.

1937
7 Jul - Japanese and Chinese clash at Marco Polo Bridge outside Peking.
7 Dec - Marine Capt Evans Carlson goes to Yenan to observe Communist Chinese armies in action.

1939
1 Sep - Germany invades Poland; Great Britain and France declare war on Germany.

1940
17 Jun - France surrenders to Germany.

1941
22 Jun - Germany attacks USSR on 2,000-mile front.
7 Jul - 1st Provisional Marine Brigade lands at Iceland.
27 Nov - 4th Marines leave Shanghai marking end of era.
7 Dec - Marines try to fight back when Japanese attack U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. Marines at Tientsin and Peking are forced to surrender.
10 Dec - Japanese defeat American garrison on Guam.
23 Dec - Japanese overwhelm garrison on Wake Island.
28 Dec - Most of 4th Marines move from Bataan to Corregidor Island in Manila Bay. Fortress island falls 6 May 1942.

1942
9 Apr - 105 Marines among Americans on Bataan Death March.
1 Jun - First black Marines enlist in Corps; 19,168 will join Corps during World War II.
7 Aug - 1st Marine Division lands on Guadalcanal.
17 Aug - 2d Raider Battalion raids Makin Atoll.
13 Sep - On Guadalcanal, Marines turn back Japanese attack in Battle of Edson's Ridge.
9 Dec - MajGen Alexander Vandegrift turns over command of Guadalcanal to Army.

1943
18 Jan - Soviets crack German siege of Leningrad, followed two weeks later by German surrender after siege of Stalingrad.
13 Feb - Woman's Reserve program is announced; birthday of women Marines.
21 Jun - 4th Raider Battalion lands on New Georgia.
13 Jul - Russians win war's largest tank battle at Kursk.
3 Sep - American Army invades Italy.

16 Sep - Maj Gregory "Pappy" Boyington shoots down five planes; he would claim 28, the most of any Marine.
1 Nov - 3d Marine Division lands on Bougainville.
20 Nov - 2d Marine Division assaults Betio Island of Tarawa Atoll in Central Pacific.
26 Dec - 1st Marine Division lands on Cape Gloucester, New Britain.

1944
1 Feb - 4th Division's 23d and 24th Marines land on Roi and Namur of Kwajalein Atoll in Marshalls.
17 Feb - 22d Marines help Army seize Eniwetok Atoll.
6 Jun - D-Day--Americans land in Normandy.
15 Jun - 2d and 4th Marine divisions assault Saipan.
21 Jul - 3d Marine Division opens battle for Guam.
24 Jul - 2d and 4th Marine divisions land on Tinian, clear airfield from which "Enola Gay" will take off for Hiroshima a year later.
15 Sep - 1st Marine Division assaults Peleliu.
21 Oct - Gen MacArthur returns to the Philippines.

1945
19 Feb - 4th and 5th Marine divisions assault Iwo Jima, raise flag on Mount Suribachi four days later.
26 Mar - Iwo Jima secured. Marines suffer 25,851 casualties.
1 Apr - On Easter Sunday, U.S. Tenth Army, including 1st and 6th Marine divisions, lands on Okinawa.
12 Apr - Franklin D. Roosevelt dies; Harry S Truman is president.
7 May - Germany surrenders unconditionally.

18 Jun - LtGen Simon Buckner, USA, killed; Marine MajGen Roy Geiger takes command of Tenth Army.
21 Jun - Americans victorious on Okinawa.
16 Jul - Trinity test of atomic device at Alamogordo, NM.
26 Jul - President Truman issues Potsdam Declaration calling on Japan to surrender unconditionally.
6 Aug - B-29s drop atomic bomb on Hiroshima; three days later atom-bomb Nagasaki.
8 Aug - Soviet Union joins war against Japan.
14 Aug - Japanese surrender.

30 Aug - 4th Marines land at Yokosuka on Tokyo Bay.
2 Sep - Japanese sign surrender on USS Missouri.
30 Sep - Marines of III Amphibious Corps start landing in North China, disarm 630,000 Japanese.
6 Oct - On Tientsin­Peiping road, Marines have first fire fight with Chinese Communists.

1946
6 May - Commandant Archibald Vandegrift tells Senate Naval Affairs Committee "the bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps."
23 Nov - French Indochinese war begins.

1947
26 Jul - President Truman signs National Security Act organizing armed forces under single Secretary of Defense and establishing separate Air Force.

1948
23 May - First Marines brought ashore by helicopter for amphibious exercise at New River, North Carolina.
18 Jul - Twelve Marines at consulate in Jerusalem begin modern Marine Security Guard program.
10 Nov - First eight enlisted women are sworn in as Regular Marines. The following summer, first black women Marines enlist.

1949
18 Nov - Corps orders all male Marines, regardless of race, be assigned to vacancies in any unit.

1950
25 Jun - North Korean forces invade South Korea.
2 Aug - 1st Marine Provisional Brigade lands at Pusan, South Korea.
15 Sep - 1st Marine Division makes assault landing at Inchon on west coast of Korea, retakes Seoul.
2 Nov - Marines engage Chinese Communists in North Korea near the Chosin Reservoir.
23 Nov - Thanksgiving Day, 7th Marines take Yudam-ni.
28 Nov - After repulsing eight Chinese divisions, Marines begin epic "breakout" on 1 December.

1951
9 Apr - President Truman relieves Gen MacArthur.
20 Jun - 1st Marine Division reaches "the Punchbowl" in Korea.

1952
28 Jun - Congress sets Marine Corps' strength and gives commandant equal status on Joint Chiefs of Staff in matters of concern to the Corps.

1953
27 Jul - Armistice signed at Panmunjon, Korea.

1954
8 May - French strong point of Dien Bien Phu falls in Indochina.
10 Nov - Marine Corps War Memorial dedicated next to Arlington National Cemetery.

1956
7 Jan - Marine Security Guard fights off mob at consulate in East Jerusalem.
8 Apr - Six recruits drowned in Ribbon Creek at Parris Island, South Carolina.
26 Jul - Egypt's President Gamal Nasser nationalizes Suez Canal precipitating international crisis. Marine battalion from Sixth Fleet evacuates civilians from Alexandria.

1958
15 Jul - 2d Marines land near Beirut and seize airport at Lebanese government's request.

1959
16 Jan - Fidel Castro overthrows Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.

1961
17 Apr - Anti-Castro Cubans land at Bay of Pigs.

1962
20 Feb - Marine LtCol John H. Glenn, Jr, orbits earth in first manned American space capsule.
15 Apr - Marine helicopter squadron (HMM-362) arrives in Mekong Delta of South Viet Nam.
20 Oct - Cuban Missile Crisis brings U.S. and Soviet Union to brink of nuclear war.

1963
2 Nov - Coup topples President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Viet Nam.
22 Nov - President John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas.

1965
8 Mar - 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade lands at Da Nang, South Viet Nam.
28 Apr - 6th Marines land in Dominican Republic.
27 Oct - Viet Cong raids wreck Marine aircraft at Marble Mountain and Chu Lai.

1967
28 Feb - PFC James Anderson Jr, is first black Marine to win the Medal of Honor.

1968
20 Jan - North Vietnamese open battle against 26th Marines for Khe Sanh.
31 Jan - Vietnamese Communists launch Tet offensive.
5 Jul - Americans give up Khe Sanh base.

1969
8 Jun - President Nixon announces first sizable withdrawal of U.S. troops from Viet Nam.

1970
19 Feb - Combat patrol of 7th Marines charged with deaths of eleven civilians at Son Thang, Viet Nam.
30 Apr - President Nixon orders troops into Cambodia.

1971
25 Jun - Last Marine ground troops leave Viet Nam.

1972
30 Mar - North Vietnamese sweep south in Easter offensive.

1973
28 Jan - Cease-fire begins in Viet Nam. Last U.S soldiers leave by end of March.

1974
8 Aug - President Nixon resigns; President Ford pardons him.
19 Aug - Marines defend embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus, after mob kills U.S. ambassador.

1975
25 Mar - Hue falls to the Vietnamese Communists.
12 Apr - Marines evacuate foreigners before Khmer Rouge seize Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
30 Apr - 4th Marines under Col Alfred M. Gray complete evacuation by helicopters from Saigon embassy and Tan Son Nhut airfield.
14 May - Marines board American container ship Mayaguez, which Cambodians had seized
2 Jul - North and South Viet Nam united as Socialist Republic of Viet Nam with capital at Hanoi.
10 Nov - Marine Corps celebrates its 200th birthday.

1979
30 Jan - Ayatollah Khomeini replaces Shah of Iran.
30 Oct - Embassy Marines drive off crowd with tear gas in San Salvador, El Salvador.
4 Nov - Mob overruns embassy in Teheran, Iran; thirteen Marines are among sixty-five Americans taken hostage; fifty-two are held captive for 444 days.
21 Nov - In Islamabad, Pakistan, mob burns embassy as seven Marines defend building.

1980
24 Apr - Three Marines killed in desert accident during effort to rescue Teheran hostages.
12 May - Embassy Marines in San Salvador use tear gas to rescue U.S. ambassador from mob.
6 Jun - Israel invades Lebanon.
23 Jun - Marines land in Lebanon to evacuate civilians.

1983
18 Apr - One Marine among sixty-three killed when terrorists blow up U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.
23 Oct - Terrorist truck-bomb blows up headquarters of 1st Battalion, 8th Marines at Beirut airport, killing 241 Americans, of whom 220 are Marines.
25 Oct - Marines and Army intervene in Grenada, West Indies.

1984
31 Jul - All Marines except embassy guard leave Lebanon after 533-day intervention..

1989
9 Nov - Berlin Wall is torn down.
20 Dec - Marines are part of force that tries to capture Panama's dictator, Manuel Antonio Noriega.

1990
2 Aug - Saddam Hussein's Iraqi Army invades Kuwait.
5 Aug - Marines land in Monrovia, Liberia, and evacuate civilians threatened by civil war.
25 Aug - 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade begins Persian Gulf buildup (Operation Desert Shield).

1991
4 Jan - Marine helicopters evacuate 281 people from U.S. Embassy at Mogadishu, Somalia.
16 Jan - Operation Desert Storm begins as Marines fly in first waves of allied planes.
24 Feb - Marine 1st and 2d divisions, commanded by LtGen Walter Boomer, breach Iraqi line.
28 Feb - President George Bush calls off Persian Gulf War after exactly 100 hours.
14 Apr - Marines ordered to Iraq­Turkey border to help multinational relief force protect Kurds.
30 Apr - Marines assist millions of homeless after cyclone kills 125,000 in Bangladesh.
21 Dec - Soviet Union disbanded and replaced by Commonwealth of Independent States.

1992
9 Dec - Marines land in Somalia to rescue foreigners.

1993
20 Jun - Marine unit returns to Mogadishu, Somalia, to maintain peace.

1994
12 Apr - Marines evacuate foreigners from Rwanda.
20 Sep - Army and 1,900 Marines land in Haiti.

1995
3 Mar - Marines complete withdrawal of UN force from clan war in Somalia.
8 Jun - Team of forty Marines rescues Air Force pilot shot down over Bosnia-Herzegovina on 2 June.

1997
30 May - Marines help evacuate 2,500 from Kinshasa, Zaire.


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