The United States Marines were established before the Declaration of Independence was ever signed. However, the now world-famous fighting force fell under scrutiny as their presence was deemed to cost heavy, and inefficient. What need did the United States have for them? At a certain juncture in time, the Army, Air Force, and Navy were all well-established; one group patrolling the grounds, another dominating the skies, and the third faring the seas, both near and far. So the USMC stepped their game up and formed the Marine Raiders.
The Raiders can be seen as a response to the formation of the British Commandos and were even at one time considered to bear the same moniker. Ultimately it was decided that the term Marine was intimidating and respected enough to abandon the idea of being titled Commandos, and Marine Raiders was decided upon just before their assault against Japan. Colonel William J. Donovan and Major Evans F. Carlson were incredibly influential in the upstart of the Raiders which were then created by President Roosevelt. A phenomenal distinction and history of combat throughout WWII were compiled by not just one, but eventually four raider divisions:
• Defending Guadalcanal
• The Battle of Savo Island
• Campaigns in the upper Solomons
• Medal of Honor recipients included Private First Class Gurke, Sergeant Thomason, Major Bailey, and Major General Edson. A total of seven marines ultimately earned the Medal of Honor, and 136 were awarded the Navy Cross.
Unfortunately, they were misused as a force and were disbanded, as the need for a Raider type unit simply no longer existed. Marines were needed in other areas, and in order to increase manpower throughout the entirety of the Corps. But, nearly 80 years later, the Marine Raiders have reared their combative heads once again, and in 2014 the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion became the 1st Marine Raider Battalion. While this may not be of significance to many, the heroic ventures into Guam, Okinawa, and other deadly destinations ensure their prowess will never be forgotten and has been long since lauded in movies, television series, and books alike.
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