50th ANNIVERSARY

Raider padre

        The Battle of Okinawa was a long one, lasting 82 days. The Sixth Marine Division had nearly 1700 Marines and Navy Corpsmen who were killed in action or died of wounds, with more than 7400 being wounded in action. It has been said that when a military unit suffers ten percent casualties it loses its effectiveness. Such was not the case in the Sixth Marine Division. The highest casualty rates were in the rifle companies, many of which were reduced to the level of under strength platoons, with non commissioned officer commanding them. While being nowhere near as effective as when at full strength, these units were still coherent Marine Companies and still fighting.

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        Any Marine believes that his unit is the best, and this is as it should be. But the Sixth Marine Division was at least the equal of any Marine division that fought in the Pacific Theatre in World War II. The Division was decorated with the Presidential Unit Citation for its heroism on the Island of Okinawa. requirements for the award of that decoration are that the unit as a whole performed in a manner that would have merited the Navy Cross Medal to an individual Marine.

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        After the Japanese surrender, the Sixth Marine Division, less the 4th Marines, sailed to Tsingtao, China to accept the surrender of the Japanese there. The 4th Marines went to Japan. The division occupied Tsingtao until April 1, 1946. On that date, the Division, downsized by the loss of many of its Marines who had returned to the United States, was designated as the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. One year to the day after its landing on the Island of Okinawa, the Sixth Marine Division had ceased to be.

James S. White, G-3-29

STRIKING SIXTH Newsletter

May 13, 2008

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