Chapter XIV
The United States Marine Corps

Origin, Legal Status, and Mission

The United States Marine Corps is a military service forming part of the Naval Establishment. The Continental Congress on November 10, 1775, authorized Marines as part of the Continental military forces, but they were disbanded after the Revolution. An Act of Congress, dated July 11, 1798, established the Marine Corps.1

Reference is made in the Act to the employment of Marines in the Navy in the following words: "The President of the United States may detach and appoint such of the officers of this Marine Corps to act on board the frigates and any of the armed vessels . . . in the service of the United States." The Marine Corps was charged in the Act with other duties as follows: "The Marine Corps . . . shall, at any time, be liable to do duty in the forts and garrisons in the United States, on the seacoast, or any other duty on shore, as the President, at his discretion, shall direct."

Nowhere in the Act is the Marine Corps described as part of the Navy, or of the Army. The working of the Act led to much argument for many years as to the legal status of the Marine Corps with respect to the other armed services of the Federal Government. An Act of COngress, dated June 30, 1834,2 clarified the matter somewhat, but the only references to the Navy or the Navy Department in that Act are found in Section 2, "that said Corps shall at all times be subject to and under the laws and regulations . . . established for the better government of the Navy except when detached for service with the Army," and in Section 4, "that no officer of the Marine Corps shall exercise command over any Navy Yard or vessel of the United States."

Additional legislation and interpretations of laws affecting the Marine Corps followed in later years. An example is a Comptroller's decision and


Attorney General's opinion given on page 359 of "Laws Relating to the Navy--Annotated--in Force March 4, 1921" stating that "The Marine Corps is not one of the Bureaus of the Navy Department. It is a part of the Naval Establishment, but it is not a part of the Navy Department as established at the seat of government; it is under the supervision of an Executive Department but that relation to the Department is not the same as being part of it."3

By World War II it had been generally accepted that the Marine Corps is not an integral part of the Navy, but is a part of the Naval Establishment, and that only the Secretary of the Navy as the Deputy of the President has authority to give direct orders to the Commandant of the Corps.

The Act of 1798, establishing the Corps, gave the President wide powers for its employment on a great variety of duties. President Jackson in 1836 ordered the Marines to duty with the Army in the war with the Seminole Indians. Marines have fought side by side with the Army in all wars since then. In addition to service with other troops in declared wars and to its routine ceremonial, guard, and security duties on ships, at U.S. Embassies and Legations, and at naval shore stations, Marines have been used extensively in various parts of the world, to protect lives and property, and to restore order.

There were some 180 instances from 1800 to 1934 of landing forces composed of Marines for performing duties of the kind mentioned. Such forces ranged in size from simple landings by the Marine guards of ships to large expeditionary forces specially trained on shore and equipped with artillery, air units and other combat and support facilities. The effect was to require the Corps to be prepared at all times for any form of employment to meet emergency situations. Such employment was largely responsible for the high morale and esprit de corps characteristic of Marine Corps personnel.

During the period from the Spanish-American War to World War I, many officers, particularly the younger ones, pressed for an overhaul of Marine Corps thinking on organization and on the education of its officers in Marine Corps schools, in such matters as the development of Marine Corps doctrine, and its dissemination to Marine Corps personnel, the formulation of orders, the preparation of better manuals and like matters. The importance of doctrine was stressed particularly in order to provide a foundation for mutual understanding between the various echelons of command during hostile operations. Re-appraisal of the Marine Corps' mission


was also urged by many officers who believed the most important role of the Marines in war to be service as ground troops in amphibious operations undertaken jointly with the Navy.4

Marine Corps interest in modern amphibious operations dates back to the success in June 1898 of the Navy-Marine Corps team in seizing against enemy opposition a site for a naval base in Guantanamo Bay needed to support the U.S. FLeet blockading the Spanish squadron in the harbor of Santiago.5

The failure of the Gallipoli amphibious operation undertaken by the British in 1915 during World War I still further stimulated interest in this type of warfare. Organization, training, and command responsibility, based largely on these two events, became the center of Marine Corps thinking on the subject. But,l not until 1921 were comprehensive studies undertaken by Marine Corps schools to develop a doctrine and the techniques for amphibious operations.6 A number of years were, however, still to pass before a specially organized, trained, and equipped Fleet Marine Force came into being.

Fleet Marine Force. In the winter of 1902, landing exercises were held on the Puerto Rican Island of Culebra by the Atlantic Fleet with Marines from the ships participating. In 1923 that island and nearby Vieques were acquired for carrying out such exercises, as they had beaches suitable for the debarkation and embarkation of troops. Landing exercises were conducted on Culebra in 1924 and again in 1935, repeated each year thereafter through 1940. Eventually gunfire from ships and aviation support for the landing forces were included. The troops consisted principally of Marines specially organized and under training for such duty. In 1925 and


in 1932 similar exercises were held in the Hawaiian Islands, later also at San Clemente, an island off the coast of California.

Paralleling these exercises, Headquarters Staff and Marine Corps schools were studying the many problems involved in amphibious warfare. ORANGE War Plans envisioned that a war with Japan would be a practically continuous naval campaign in the Pacific, involving frequent amphibious operations to seize and to hold Japanese-occupied islands for conversion to advance bases or to neutralize them as enemy strongholds. It was expected that these island bastions would be stubbornly held and would require specially trained and completely integrated sea, land, and air forces for their conquest. In the plans the role of ground troops, especially for the early undertakings, was assigned largely to the Marine Corps.

In accordance with a recommendation of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, approved by the Chief of Naval Operations, a Fleet Marine Force was established in December 1933 by order of the Secretary of the Navy.7 An official definition of the term "Fleet Marine Force" based on the experience of World War II is given in General Order 245, dated 27 November 1946, as follows: "A Fleet Marine Force is defined as a balanced force of land, air, and service elements of the U.S. Marine Corps, which is integral with the U.S. Pacific and/or Atlantic Fleet. It has the status of a full Type command, and is organized, trained, and equipped for the seizure or defence of advance naval bases and for the conduct of limited amphibious or land operations essential to the prosecution of a naval campaign."

A provisional Landing Operations Manual was prepared by Marine Corps Schools in 1934 to provide doctrine, instructions, and regulations for the training and employment of the Fleet Marine Force. The precepts of the manual were tested extensively in Fleet exercises and revised as necessary during the following years. In 1938 the manual was adopted as landing operations doctrine by the Navy, and also by the Army in 1941.

A few of the many logistics problems that confronted the Marine Corps in making an efficient fighting machine of the Fleet Marine Force were the addition of extensive training facilities on shore, and the development in cooperation with the technical Bureaus of landing craft more suitable than ships' boats for moving men and materials from ship to shore and of special weapons and equipment needed in amphibious operations.

Thus, the Fleet Marine Force became a major administrative preoccupation of Marine Corps Headquarters during the decade preceding the outbreak of World War II, and so continued throughout the war. No peacetime training and logistic program paid greater dividends than the investment


in the Fleet Marine Force. Marines made possible the defeat of the Japanese at Guadalcanal, thus halting the enemy's southward march toward Australia. This marked also the turning point for the United States ion going from the defensive to the offensive in the war in the Pacific.

Administrative Organization

The status of the Marine Corps in the Naval Establishment and its principal functions have been briefly outlined in the foregoing pages. It is a separate service within the Naval Establishment, and as such is responsible for its own internal administration. In actual practice, however, the Marine Corps lacks some of the elements necessary to make it truly autonomous. It relies completely, for example, on the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and the Chaplain's Corps for the services performed by those naval activities, and during World War II depended to a considerable degree on the War and Navy Departments for its weapons, ammunition, food, and many other logistic items, such as aircraft and landing craft. Its activities were therefore an important element in the administration of the Navy Department during the period with which this history deals.

Headquarters United States Marine Corps in Washington, located during much of World War II under the same roof with the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Fleet, some of the Bureaus, and other upper level elements of the Navy Department, provided the mechanism for the administration of the Corps. Headquarters consisted of the Commandant, who commands the Corps, and of an organization to carry out the manifold responsibilities involved in the administration of the Corps.

The Commandant is appointed by the President. Under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy, he procures, discharges, trains, disciplines, and distributes Marine Corps officers and enlisted personnel; he operates and maintains Marine Corps posts and stations; and he has general supervision of all estimates, expenditures, and supplies needed for the maintenance of the Marine Corps. Current Navy Regulations define his responsibilities in some detail.

The Commandant's responsibilities derive from acts of Congress, and from executive direction by the President, or Secretary of the Navy acting for him. They spell out the Commandant's authority for administering the Corps. His authority in that field has not been seriously questioned since an early Secretary of the Navy ruled against Navy ship captains who attempted to reassign or discharge Marines serving aboard their vessels.8


Major General Thomas Holcomb (later General), USMC. Commandant of the Marine Corps, Dec. 1936-Jan. 1944.
Major General Thomas Holcomb (later General), USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, Dec. 1936-Jan. 1944.

Although only the Secretary of the Navy, as the Deputy of the President, was empowered to give orders to the Commandant, the relationship between him and the Chief of Naval Operations was of the closest during the period of World War II. Hardly a day passed without informal meetings between General Holcomb and Admiral Stark, and their staff, and later, between their successors, for the discussion of matters involving the Marine Corps. Proposed policies were often taken up in a preliminary way with the Secretary of the Navy, then worked out jointly by the staffs, and finally formalized in directives issued by the Secretary.

There is nothing in the law limiting the Commandant to an administrative role or preventing him from taking command in the field, but


no Commandant has done so since Colonel Archibald Henderson led a regiment against the Indians in Georgia and Florida in 1836.* Other 19th century commandants could have imitated their predecessor had they chosen, but they evidently preferred to confine their activities to administering the Marine Corps from its Headquarters in Washington. Increased administrative burdens, which came with the growth of the Marine Corps after the turn of the century, effectively tied later Commandants to their desks.

To assist Commandants in administering the Marine Corps, a Headquarters staff had been gradually built up in Washington. In 1939, on the eve of the outbreak of war in Europe, it was composed of two basic elements. These were the planning and policy staff, to assist in policy formulation, and the administrative staff, to translate policy decisions into action. Coordinating all staff activities was the major responsibility of the Assistant Commandant, who acted as Headquarters Chief of Staff.

The planning and policy staff was first organized in 1920 as a result of World War I experience. Originally designated the Division of Operations and Training, it underwent several reorganizations, finally emerging by 1939 as the Division of Plans and Policies with a five-section composition similar to that of the War Department General Staff. The five sections were: M-1, Personnel; M-2, Intelligence; M-3, Training and Operations; M-4, Supply; and M-5, War Plans.10 Chart No. 1, approved by the Commandant on 1 February 1940, shows this organization.

The adoption of the Army staff organization was the natural consequence of Army influences on Marine Corps staff officers attended the Army War College and the Command and General Staff School where they were exposed to Army Staff concepts. These same concepts were taught at Marine Corps Schools, and they were put in practice by Marines in the field before they were adopted at Headquarters. It was not surprising that the planning staff at Headquarters, in effect the general staff for the Marine Corps, resembled the War Department General Staff.11

The administrative staff consisted of three departments and four independent divisions. The departments, all dating from the early years of the Corps, were: the Quartermaster's, responsible for all supply, for preparation of budget estimates, and the disbursement of all funds except pay of


troops; the Paymaster's, charged with the payment of troops; and the Adjutant and Inspector's, which combined inspection duties with personnel administration. Of the four divisions, all dating from after World War I, two, Personnel and Recruiting, shared with the Adjutant and Inspector the function of personnel administration. The other two, Aviation and Reserve, had cognizance of the specialized activities indicated by their titles.12 Presumably due to an oversight, the official chart, Figure 30, dated 1 February 1940, does not show the Division of Recruiting as a separate division.

On 8 September 1939, President Roosevelt in connection with the declaration of a national emergency authorized slight increases in the armed forces. The months which followed were ones of gradual mobilization, increasing in tempo as the tide of war turned against the western allies. Although the Marine Corps participated in the partial mobilization of this short-of-war period, increasing about 300 percent from 8 September 1939 to 7 December 1941, the resulting administrative burdens were not sufficient to necessitate any major changes in staff organization. However, three developments are worth noting. The first was the abolition of the M-5 section and the assumption of its duties by M-3 in the fall of 1941. The second was the creation of the Division of Public Relations. Finally and most important was the development of the Division of Reserve into the primary officer procurement agency, owing to the fact that most of the officers recruited for the expanding Marine Corps were given reserve commissions. The result was further to decentralize responsibility for personnel administration.13

Headquarters Staff Developments. On 7 December 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the days of peacetime development of the Marine Corps staff to a close. The declarations of war against Germany, Italy, and Japan were the signal to begin mobilization of the nation's resources. The conduct of its share of the mobilization of the nation's resources. The conduct of its share of the mobilization put the staff organization of Headquarters Marine Corps to a crucial test.

The organization of the Division of Plans and Policies into four sections proved to be a sound one, well suited to guiding the administrative activities of the wartime Marine Corps. However, the rapid expansion of the Division in the early part of the war led to the setting up of two new sections with duties which encroached upon functions of the existing four sections.

The Gunnery Section, established 26 January 1942, was the first of these. It combined the functions of the old Artillery Section of M-3 and


Fig. 30--Organization of Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps (1 Feb 1940)
Fig. 30--Organization of Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps (1 Feb. 1940)


the operational responsibilities of the Target Practice Section which had been a part of the Adjutant and Inspector's Department. Formerly, the supervision of small arms training and the keeping of records pertaining thereto had been duties of the Target Practice Section. All other weapons training was supervised by the Artillery Section. Under the new organization, the Gunnery Section prescribed the courses of fire, instruction, and record practices for all ground and boat weapons in use by the Marine Corps; took charge of the training and distribution of fire control personnel; supervised formal schools in fire control and coast and field artillery; maintained liaison with the Army and Navy; and recommended the procurement of ranges, their location, and operation. The Target Practice Section in the Adjutant and Inspector's Department continued to maintain all records pertaining to weapons training. It also assisted M-4 in planning ammunition allowances and participated with M-3 in planning and supervising the design, development, and employment of tanks, ordnance, and artillery.14

The other activity set up as a separate section of the Division of Plans and Policies was the Communications Section. Its function included the supervision of communications training within the Marine Corps, the development of signal equipment, the examination and promotion of communications personnel and assistance to M-3 in organizing communications units.15

The development of these new sections in the Division of Plans and Policies, with their wide variety of duties, tended to break down the boundary lines between the functional components of the staff. Responsibility for training, for personnel, and for materiel, were no longer each the responsibility of a separate section. Jurisdiction over all of them was spread over several sections, resulting in losses in coordination and supervision.16

To remedy these defects, the Division of Plans and Policies was reorganized in March 1944. The Gunnery and Communications Sections were abolished and their functions distributed among other sections of the Division. The personnel and materiel functions were assigned to M-1 and M-4 respectively, while the training duties, along with those which had formerly been the responsibility of M-3, were concentrated in a new section designated M-5, Training.17


Fig. 31--Organization of Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps (10 May 1945)
Fig. 31--Organization of Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps (10 May 1945)


Lieutenant General Alexander A. Vandegrift (later General) USMC--Commandant of the Marine Corps, Jan. 1944-Dec. 1947
Lieutenant General Alexander A. Vandegrift (later General) USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, Jan. 1944-Dec. 1947.


administrative functions. At the request of the Commandant, the Secretary of the Navy asked Congress for the necessary legislation, and on 1 May, the Personnel Department was organized. The Adjutant and Inspector's Department, and the Divisions of Personnel, Reserve, and Recruiting were absorbed by this new organization.18

The abolition of the Adjutant and Inspector's Department left the housekeeping and inspection duties formerly discharged by that department to be reassigned. On 1 July 1943, the Administrative Division was organized to handle the housekeeping functions. It was to administer civilians employed in Headquarters, issue bulletins and memoranda, and take responsibility for security of Headquarters. It was not until July 1945 that the Inspection duties were disposed of by the establishment of the Inspection Division under command of the Inspector General.19 Figure 31, approved by the Commandant, General Vandegrift on 10 May 1945, shows the overall organization of Headquarters with which the Marine Corps emerged from World War II, except that an Inspector General was added in July 1945, as just mentioned. Other charts showing in detail the organization of the respective subdivisions are available in the historical files at Headquarters.

By contrast with the personnel administration agencies, the activities concerned with supply and finance proved to be soundly organized. They met the test of mobilization very well. The Quartermaster Department expanded during the war to three times its original size. In the course of this expansion, only one major administrative change took place. The Supply Department grew so large that each of its component sections were elevated to division status. The Paymaster Department changed even less. Its staff at Headquarters increased five-fold during the war, but its administrative structure remained substantially unchanged.20

Administrative Operations--Personnel

Personnel Planning and Policy. Personnel operations, one of the two major Marine Corps administrative tasks during World War II, began with the planning for a troop base adequate to carry out the wartime mission. Directives handed down by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or its predecessor the Joint Board, formed the basis for this planning. Upon receipt of such a directive, the Commandant and his staff determined how many Marines would be needed to carry out the assigned tasks.


In 1939, the Commandant had been unable to build up the Marine Corps top the strength needed under existing war plans. The isolationist sentiment and determination not to be involved in another European war, so prevalent in the United States during the two decades following World War I, prevented the creation of adequate armed forces. Most Americans saw no need for large military and naval establishments, and Congress faithfully reflected their views. As a result, there were only 19,432 Marines on active duty on 1 July 1939. Backing up the regular establishment was a Marine Corps Reserve of 16,025.21

Under war plans current in the middle thirties, the Marine Corps was committed to furnish expeditionary forces totalling about 30,000 officers and men within 45 days of the beginning of hostilities. As this figure was clearly far in excess of the total available strength of the Marine Corps, the Division of Operations and Training drew up a plan in 1937 which would achieve a 28,781 strength by 30 June 1942.

The partial rearmament of the short-of-war period enabled the Marine Corps to build up at a rate much faster than that called for by the 1937 plan. By 7 December 1941, Marine personnel totalled about 63,000 officers and men, representing an increase of about 300 percent in 27 months.

President Roosevelt, at the time of his declaration of limited national emergency on 8 September 1939, made a modest beginning towards rearmament. He authorized an increase of Marine Corps strength to 25,000 for the 1940 fiscal year, but this meager authorization was not immediately followed up.22 In Europe, the winter of 1939-1940 was the political climate in the United States favorable to a further increase. In May of that year, the Commandant appealed to Congress for 7,500 additional Marines. Prodded by Nazi successes in France, Congress offered him funds for an increase of 9,000, raising the authorized strength of the Marine Corps to 34,000 enlisted men. Further increases occurred during the summer under the provision of the law permitting the Marine Corps 20 percent of Navy strength. By September, the Marine personnel ceiling had reached 38,000. As a final strength increase during the short-of-war period, 79,757 were authorized for the fiscal year 1942.23


Supplementing these additions to the regular Marine Corps, was the mobilization of the Marine Corps Reserve, which added an additional 15,927 to the active duty rolls. On 15 October 1940, general mobilization orders were issued to all members of Reserve battalions. Ten days later, the Fleet Marine Reserve, composed of former enlisted Marines with more than 16 years service was called back to the colors. The volunteer reserve, which included reservists who did not belong to organized units, was ordered up in two groups, the first on 14 December 1940, and the second on 12 May 1941.24

In spite of the three-fold expansion achieved since September 1939, the Marine Corps had still not achieved its desired state of readiness, for commitments expanded more rapidly than additional Marines could be authorized, procured, and trained. The Fleet Marine Force, which in September 1939 had included two brigades, and two aircraft groups, had, by December 1941, grown to a force composed of two divisions, two aircraft wings, and 13 defense battalions. In addition, the Navy building program called for many more Marines afloat and at Navy shore installations. On the eve of U.S. entry into World War II, the top-level estimate of the resources of men and material needed to defeat the prospective enemies, Germany, Italy, and Japan, was the Victory Program. It called for a force of 161,816 Marines--almost 100,000 more than were available on 7 December 1941.25

The entry of the United States into the War, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, did not lead to a speedy achievement of full mobilization for the Marine Corps. Mobilization was stepped up to take in men as rapidly as they could be absorbed, but the demands for Marines for amphibious forces, for ship detachments, and for shore station guards quickly exceeded the estimates of the Victory Program. Not until July 1944 did personnel growth level off at about 475,600, a figure which was to remain stable until a final spurt during the last two months of the War. This added another 10,000 to make the peak Marine Corps strength 485,113 in August 1945.26

The first two and one-half years of war were therefore ones of constant striving to build up to full mobilization strength. Hardly had one strength figure been set than it was superseded by a higher one, necessitating constant revisions in personnel planning. The period of expansion fell into two phases. The first of these, covering the initial eight months of the war, was characterized by uncoordinated increases for all the services. Each service estimated its own manpower requirements and submitted


them to the President for approval. During these eight months, Marine Corps strength authorizations jumped from 75,000 to 223,000 enlisted men.

This increase was achieved in three stages. On 16 December, the President authorized 104,000 for fiscal 1942.27 By the beginning of February, the build-up to 104,000 had almost been achieved. In view of continuously expanding Marine commitments for the FMF and naval installations afloat and ashore, the Commandant, General Thomas Holcomb, requested the Secretary of the Navy to approved 130,000 enlisted strength for the fiscal year 1942, and 200,000 for the following fiscal year. On the advice of Admiral King, who felt that it was too early to determine 1943 needs, the Secretary cut the Marine request to 180,000 for calendar 1943. The President accepted the recommendation on 11 February.28 On 11 May, the Commandant's request for 186,000 by 31 December 1942 and 220,000 by 30 June 1943 was approved. Scarcely more than two months passed when the President was asked to approve a further increase to 223,000 by 31 December 1942. This he did on 16 July 1942.29

With the approval of a strength of 223,000, the President discontinued the practice of acting on manpower requests sent to him directly by the Secretary of the Navy. Realizing the need for comprehensive manpower planning, the President, in August 1942, directed the Joint Chiefs of Staff to undertake a study of the armed forces manpower requirements for the calendar year 1943. For the remainder of the War, the President only acted on manpower requests in the form of JCS recommendations.

The President's decision to refer military manpower questions to the JCS meant for the Marine Corps that representatives of the Army would have a voice in Marine manpower decisions, as became apparent very shortly. Formerly, the Secretary of the Navy, with the advice of the CNO, had acted upon manpower requests from the Commandant. He could accept, reject, or modify them. Having reached a decision, the Secretary then made recommendations to the President for final action.

The first Marine manpower decision under the new procedure was made on 4 September 1942. On that date, the President approved a recommendation of the JCS that the Marine Corps strength on 30 June 1943 be set at 306,661 officers and men.30

The decision of 4 September was in effect less than a month when it was superseded. In considering the troop bases for all services for 1943, the chiefs, in a generous mood because of the plenitude of manpower,


readily accepted the requests of all the services. Presidential approval of these JCS recommendations raised the Marine Corps approved strength for 1943 to 360,215.31

Manpower became a critical item, however, in preparing the troop bases for 1944. The shipbuilding program, expansion of the shore establishment, need for larger amphibious forces to carry out strategic missions, and demands for combat replacements called for an expansion of naval forces to 3,824,000, of which 559,000 would be Marines. The Army also requested an increase to 8,208,000. In view of the fact that estimates by civilian agencies of the government set the manpower available for the armed forces at a figure approximately 1,138,000 lower than the Army-Navy total, the Navy proposed that the Army figures be cut. The Army agreed, and the Maddox Committee, appointed for the purpose, reconsidered strategic goals and proposed a reduction in the Army troop base to 7,657,000.

Having disposed of the Army manpower excesses, the Maddox Committee turned its attention to the Navy, seeking to discover unnecessary activities and duplications of effort. One of the duplications, said the committee, was the Marine Corps, which was being built into a ground force comparable to the Army. The nation did not need nor could it afford two such forces.

The Maddox report, raising as it did the question of the roles of the services, led to the appointment of a committee to review service missions. No agreement could be reached on the roles of the services, so the members concentrated instead on eliminating specific duplications. Once again, the Marine Corps came in for special attention from the Army. After representatives on the committee proposed to hold the Marine Corps down to the 1943 strength. Navy members took the opposite view, maintaining that a Marine Corps which was only 14 percent of Navy strength was not a wasteful duplication of Army Ground Forces and would hasten victory. The committee on missions of the services was completely at odds on this and on other questions. As a result, no report was ever made.

With the strong support of the Navy, the Marine Corps had defeated the Army attempt to hold it to the level of the 1943 troop base. However, the original Marine Corps request for 559,000 proved to be unrealistic in the light of a limited supply of manpower. The JCS, therefore, approved a strength of 478,000 for calendar 1944. This action, taken on 9 November 1943, marked the end of JCS manpower planning during World War II.32


One final strength increase was authorized for the Marine Corps directly by the President on 29 May 1945. But it was granted merely to maintain the fighting strength of the Marine Corps at the previously agreed level. Owing to miscalculations in the numbers of men unavailable, hospitalized, in transit, and permanently disabled, awaiting transfer to the Veteran's Administration, an additional 25,000 was granted, making the final authorized strength of the Marine Corps 503,000.33 Actual strength, however, never exceeded 485,113.

Personnel Procurement. During the six years between 1939 and 1945, procurement procedures for both officers and enlisted men underwent drastic changes, but only in the case of officers was the change dictated by a failure of the peacetime system to meet wartime conditions. The greatly increased demand for additional officers led to adoption of the officer candidate program to tap the rich reservoir of current college graduates. On the other hand, the system of voluntary enlistments for other than officers which had been employed successfully in peacetime, proved more than adequate also in wartime to fill the need for enlisted personnel. However, the eventual order of the President placing the Corps under Selective Service forced the abandonment of the voluntary system. The Selective Service system consistently failed to meet quotas, and only the continuance of voluntary recruiting of 17-year-olds (not subject to Selective Service) prevented serious shortages of enlisted men.

Enlisted Procurement. During the peacetime years before 1939, Marine recruiting was on a voluntary and highly selective basis. Because of the reputation of the Corps as a fighting force and the very small quotas to be filled, many more men applied than could be taken. Out of 36,356 applicants during 1939, for instance, on 5,861 could actually be enlisted. The Recruiting Service, organized into four geographical divisions, each containing districts and substations was geared to this type of selective recruiting.34

The shift to a mass production basis began on the day President Roosevelt issued his declaration of a limited national emergency. On 8 September, dispatches went to all recruiting divisions suspending quotas until further notice in order to reach as quickly as possible the newly authorized enlisted strength of 25,000.35 By February 1940, the goal had been reached. In five months 7,000 new Marines had joined the Corps. By comparison, the total recruiting effort for the previous year had resulted in taking only 5,861 enlistments.


Strength increases, which followed each other in rapid succession during the next two years, kept Marine recruiters working at a stepped-up tempo. However, the attainment of strength increases from February 1940 to December 1941 was spread out evenly by the re-imposition of monthly quotas.

To meet the demands of the partial mobilization of the short-of-war period, the recruiting service increased its personnel and opened new districts and substations. Recruiters, both new and old, perfected their organizations and polished their skills during the moths before Pearl Harbor. When the larger challenge of total mobilization came after the declaration of war against the Axis Powers, the Marine recruiting service was ready to meet it.

Marine recruiting officers opened their doors on 8 December 1941 to find long lines of young men eager to join the Marines. in the days that followed, there was no slacking off in the numbers seeking to enlist. Faced with an abundant supply of manpower, the Commandant accepted the recommendation of his staff to achieve the newly authorized enlisted strength of 104,000 as quickly as possible. As in September 1939, he once again removed all quota restrictions, and increased recruiting personnel by 50 percent. By the end of February, the goal had been achieved. A total of 44,947 new recruits had joined the Marine Corps during the period 1 December 1941 to 28 February 1942. This was an increase of more than 600 percent over the 6,510 recruited during the preceding three-month period.36

The rapid build-up to 104,000 put great strains on the recruit depots, necessitating a shortening of the training cycle with a resulting reduction in the quality of recruit depot graduates. Realizing the importance of an even flow of recruits into the recruit depots, the Commandant decided to achieve further strength increases at a lower and more uniform rate which would bring recruits into the Marine Corps no faster than they could be absorbed by the training activities. When the President approved the Marine Corps request of February 1942, General Holcomb set recruiting quotas designed so as to achieve the new goal of 160,000 enlisted strength not sooner than 30 June 1943--the target date set by the President. By taking the full time allowed, the Commandant planned to hold down the monthly input of new recruits to a figure ranging from 7,50 for March 1942, tapering off to 2,000 in December, and then climbing back to 3,500 by June 1943. Subsequent strength authorizations made during the spring and summer of 1942 forced an upward revision of the monthly recruiting quotas to a figure ranging in size between 8,000 for May and 14,711 for August 1942.


The achievement of these recruiting quotas was facilitated by lowering the physical standards for admission. On 16 April 1942, blanket authority was given to recruiting officers to grant waivers for slight deviations from enlistment standards with respect to age, height, weight, character discharge from the Army, and police records. In this last case, a waiver could be granted if the individual had a good record for a considerable period since his last arrest or conviction. A further modification was made on 24 August 1942 when the maximum age for recruits was raised from 33 to 36.

The voluntary recruiting system, so successful in filling Marine manpower needs during the first year of the War, had to be abandoned in favor of the draft as hostilities entered their second year. On 5 December 1942, President Roosevelt issued an executive order stopping voluntary enlistments for all men between the ages of 17 and 36. He did so because the voluntary system had created serious overall manpower problems, resulting in the enlistment in the Armed Services of men essential to industry, and making impossible an equitable distribution between the services of the higher quality men.37

The Marine Corps had hoped to continue the voluntary system, but at least six months before the executive order of 5 December was issued, Headquarters realized that the Marine Corps would be put under selective service sooner or later. Work was begun to create a system which would permit draftees who desired to serve in the Marine Corps to do so. For this purpose, a Selective Service Liaison Section was established at Headquarters. Its members were assigned to Selective Service headquarters and to Selective Service agencies in all the states.38

On 1 February 1943, the Marine Corps began personnel procurement under a procedures of Selective Service. Every month, the Marine Corps submitted a manpower request to the Secretary of the Navy, who in turn presented a consolidated figure representing the needs of the Navy and Coast Guard, as well as of the Marines, to the Director of Selective Service. At Selective Service Headquarters, a total call was made up. Quotas were then issued to the states, where they were divided among the local boards.39

The men called up reported to Armed Forces Induction Stations, manned by personnel of all services. For the guidance of induction station staffs in distributing personnel between the military and naval services, Selective Service Headquarters announced the ratio each month between


the Army and Navy quotas. Each Induction Station allotted inductees on the basis of this ratio. To assure equitable distribution of manpower by quality, categories were set up according to age, education, and occupational skill. The quotas for the Army and Navy were to be made up of proportionate numbers from all these categories. The Navy quota at each Induction Station was then broken down into Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard components, again by use of a ratio. Selectees could pick their branch of service provided vacancies existed in the quota of the service of their choice.40

At this point, the Marine Corps liaison officers entered the picture. Through their influence with state and local selective service officials, they were able to postpone the induction of draftees who wanted to serve with the Marine Corps until a vacancy in the quota occurred. Through this process, the Marine Corps was able to procure individuals of high caliber who were anxious to serve in its ranks.

The induction and processing of Marine inductees were the duties of the Recruiting Service and were performed as they had been for volunteers. At first, all inductees were enrolled as Selective Service, but after 25 February 1943 the Recruiting Service was authorized to discharge inductees to permit then to enlist in the regular or Reserve Marine Corps. As some stigma came to be attached to selective service inductees, unjustified of course, this pseudo-voluntary procedure became very popular. Of a total of 224,323 inductees, fewer than 70,000 chose to remain in inductee status.

On 11 February 1943, the Marine Corps received its first recruits through the Selective Service. Results during this first month were disappointing, as only 9,349 men of a quota of 13,400 were actually delivered to the Marine Corps. It was hoped that performance would improve in subsequent months, but this was not the case. Not until June, 1944, did Selective Service meet the monthly quota established for the Marine Corps. In August, the number of inductees delivered once again fell below the quota, and, with the exception of July 1944, Selective Service never again met the quota it had agreed upon for the Marine Corps.41

The Marine Corps was able to avert a serious manpower shortage only because voluntary enlistment by 17-year-olds was still permitted, a practice which was begun in February 1943, the month of the first Marine draft call. The Commandant directed the heads of Recruiting Divisions to build up a pool of men in this age group by enlisting them in the Reserve and placing them on inactive duty subject to call. During the remaining months of the War, the pool was drawn upon repeatedly. Of the


275,985 men who entered the Marine Corps between 1 February 1943 and 31 July 1945, 58,927 were 17-year-old volunteers.42

Officer Procurement. In the decade or thereabouts before 1939, regular Marine Corps officers came from three sources. Each year, 25 graduates of the Naval Academy were selected on their own application for commissioning in the Marine Corps. A somewhat larger number were recruited from civil life. Members of this group were, however, not without military training. for they were all graduates of Army or Navy ROTC, or of its Marine counterpart, the Platoon Leaders' Class. In addition, a small number of outstanding noncommissioned officers were appointed to commissioned rank.43

The Marine Corps Reserve recruited its officers primarily from selected colleges and universities under the Platoon Leaders' program. College students, enlisted as privates first class in the Marine Corps Reserve, attended two six-week summer training camps. Upon graduating from college, they were commissioned as second lieutenants in the Marine Corps Reserve.

When the expansion of the Marine Corps started under the executive order of 8 September 1939, only a very modest increase in officer personnel was required. To command the newly authorized 25,000-man Marine Corps, 1,568 officers were needed, an increase of only 214 over the 1,354 officers then on active duty. Rather than embark upon an expanded officer recruiting program, the Commandant decided to call upon young company grade officers of the Marine Corps Reserve, most of whom were graduates of the Platoon Leaders' Class.

For the first year of the gradual expansion, the Marine Corps filled its officer requirements without resorting to additional procurement from outside sources. But after the authorization of 34,000 enlisted strength for fiscal 1941, and with future increases in sight, the Commandant and his fiscal 1941, and with future increases in sight, the Commandant and his staff realized that new sources of officer personnel would have to be sought.

In September 1940, the Commandant approved a plan to swell the commissioned ranks by recruiting 800 recent college graduates between the ages of 20 and 25. Originally enrolled as privates first class, these men were to complete an officer candidate class (OCC) at Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, and then to be commissioned as second lieutenants in the Reserve.44 Under the original plan, there were to be two classes, each of 400 candidates. The first class was scheduled to begin on 1 November 1940, less than two months after the original announcement of this officer candidate program. To secure candidates for it, the Commandant wrote to


200 college presidents asking them to recommend outstanding recent graduates who were interested in Marine commissions. By 1 October, only 80 replies had been received. In an effort to meet the quota, the closing of recruiting for the first class was delayed until 1 December, and the inspector-instructors of Reserve battalions were ordered to visit the college campuses. In spite of these additional efforts, only 266 candidates reported.

The quota for the second candidates' class was filled. After the first of the year, recruiting efforts of previous months began to pay off, and applications poured into Headquarters. The filling of the second OCC roster completed procurement of the 800 candidates called for under the original plan, but further increases in enlisted strength authorizations for 1941 led to a continuation of the candidates' program. To assure adequate numbers of applicants for these classes, special recruiting officers visited the colleges to enlist 1,000 seniors--400 principals and 600 alternates. So successful was this effort that there was a surplus of applicants beyond those needed to fill the additional classes.45

The entry of the United States into the war following the attack on Pearl Harbor relegated existing officer procurement quotas to the discard. But the sources for new officers remained substantially the same as they had been during the short-of-war period. Officer candidates recruited form the colleges to begin their military careers upon graduation still constituted by far the largest group. Limited numbers of graduates of the Naval Academy and the Army and Navy ROTC continued to accept commissions in the Marine Corps, and outstanding noncommissioned officers were still accepted for commissioned rank. To these sources, two others were added. They were the selection of officer candidates form the ranks, and direct commissioning of former officers and specially qualified civilians for administrative and technical duties.

The revised candidates program, announced on 13 January 1942, called for the enlistment in the Marine Corps Reserve of 7,00 students from 307b colleges and universities. Beginning in May, they were to be fed into the candidates' class at Marine Corps Schools at the rate of 225 per month. Graduating seniors would make up the first classes, other men remaining in college to complete their courses.

Responsibility for procurement of the new candidate quotas was given to commanding officers of Marine Barracks and to officers in charge of recruiting stations. To assist them, 40 second lieutenants were sent out to act as liaison officers between the recruiting officers and the colleges. They made their first visits to the campuses in February to explain the program to college administrations and to students. On a second trip, made


the following month, the liaison officers, accompanied by medical and clerical personnel, selected the best qualified applicants and enlisted them in the Marine Corps Reserve.46

Results of the early 1942 recruiting drive for officer candidates were disappointing. Actual numbers enrolled fell far short of the allotted quotas for all college classes. Only 814 of the necessary 3,000 seniors were signed up, and out of a quota of 2,000 juniors only 957 were enlisted. The sophomore class made the best showing with 1,039 out of the allotted 2,000 enlisting. However, of the 2,000 freshmen required, on 493 could be obtained.47

One step had already been taken the previous month which now provided a supplementary source for officer candidates. The Commandant had directed that enlisted Marines between the ages of 20 and 28, who were college graduates or could pass a college equivalency test, be made eligible for OCC after they had completed four months service. A month later, the educational requirements were relaxed to permit enlisted applicants with an LL.B. degree or two years of college work to qualify as candidates. The educational requirements were again lowered in August to admit noncommissioned officers who were high school graduates. Privates and privates first class still were required to have completed two years of college. Then in November, the Commandant directed the commanding officers of the two recruit depots to select one-half of one percent of all recruits between the ages of 20 and 35 for assignment to candidates class. The educational requirement for these men was only that they have completed high school.

Results could not be realized from the expanded candidates program overnight. Faced with an immediate demand for officers, the Marine Corps resorted to a vastly increased granting of direct commissions. Included among the recipients were meritorious noncommissioned officers and graduates of Army and Navy ROTC's, selected for general duty, former officers of all services recalled to fill administrative posts, and civilian specialists commissioned for technical duties. So extensive was the practice that out of a total of 5,618 officers entering in 1942, only 2,723 came by the candidate route. Field promotions accounted for 1,236, specialists for 1,408, Army and Navy ROTC's for 222, and the Naval Academy for 29.48

Reports from the field based on experience gained during the first year of war indicated that directly commissioned officers generally lacked the professional knowledge of Marine Corps Schools graduates. As the output


of OCC increased, direct commissioning for general duty was gradually restricted: on 1 December 1942 to overseas theaters and aviation organizations in the States; six months later to the South and Southwest Pacific theaters. At the same time, the demand for specialists and administrative officers was diminishing, so procurement in these categories was sharply reduced after 1942.

For the remainder of the war, college-educated young men constituted the major source for Marine Corps officers, but beginning on 1 July 1943, the nature of the college training changed for Marine Corps candidates. They were sent to school under the Navy V-12 college training program, organized to keep selected students in college after the lowering of the draft age to 18. Under V-12, individual judged to be officer material were sent through an abbreviated college course as enlisted men. They wore uniforms and were under military discipline while on the campus. Marines attended college under V-12 in two separate categories. First, all those previously enlisted in the candidates' program, plus a limited number selected from the ranks, were ordered to active duty and formed into Marine college units. Second, additional candidates beyond the number provided by the Marine college units were selected from qualified volunteers from Navy college units. The V-123 students pursued a special curriculum which, except for a few selected for technical specialist study, did not lead to an academic degree.49

Officer procurement programs reflected reliance on the V-12 program as a source for officer candidates. For the fiscal year beginning 1 July 1943, 440 of 515 new officers were to come by the officer candidate route, and of these 440, 350 would be V-12's. The procurement program announced on 1 January 1944 for that calendar year provided that out of 4,895 officers to be procured, 3,360 were to come from officer candidate sources, and of these 3,000 would be products of the college program.50

Marine Corps Women's Reserve. The Women's Reserve was organized on 13 February 1943, almost a year after the formation of the women's services in the Army and Navy.51 General Holcomb had opposed the idea of a similar organization in the Marine Corps at the time the WACS and WAVES were organized, but, as he came to realize that women could release a lot of men for combat, he reversed his position and by 7 November 1942 he had approved the formation of a women's reserve. It was decided to avoid creating a special title, like WACS, WAVES, or SPARS,


but to refer to the women reservists simply as Marines. This was a fortunate decision, for it gave them a feeling of belonging and indicated the willingness of the Corps to accept them by sharing its name.

Responsibility for organizing and administering the Women's Reserve was placed originally in the Division of Reserve. Procurement, training, detail, promotion, uniforming, and the promulgation of regulations concerning women were all responsibilities of the Director of that division. To handle the actual work, the Women's Reserve Section, staffed by women, was set up in the Officer Procurement Division. In March 1944, as a result of a Navy Department manpower survey, the various administrative functions were distributed to the appropriate departments and divisions at Headquarters.

No separate division or department with authority over women reserves was ever established. As a result, the Director of the Women's Reserve was a director in name only. She could not issue orders, nor could she sign official correspondence. However, she was able to influence the conduct of Women's Reserve affairs by advising the heads of the various activities at Headquarters. And she was invaluable in representing the Women's Reserve before the public. Very few mothers would have permitted their daughters to enlist unless they believed that a responsible women was in charge.

Procurement of Women Reserves got under way with the appointment of the DIrector and seven other key officers directly from civilian life. The Navy offered to give the Marine Corps some additional officers, and from the many who volunteered, 19 were selected and assigned to recruiting duty. The new recruiting officers lost no time in setting to work to procure the officers and 18,000 enlisted women authorized for the Women's Reserve. Until 15 November 1943, all officer candidates came directly from civilian life, and by that date, 543 had signed up. After that, the opportunity to qualify for a commission was thrown open to women in the ranks. Procurement from civilian life was not entirely closed, but all but 41 of the 404 women officers commissioned after November had served in the ranks. The recruiting of enlisted women was so successful that by 1 June 1944 the entire 18,000 had been enlisted. Input was then cut back to maintain the Women's Reserve at authorized strength.

The women, both officers and enlisted, who joined the Marine Corps, were an outstanding group. About 96 percent of them scored 90 or more on the General Classification Test. Their educational attainments were equally distinguished. Slightly more than 20 percent of them had attended college for one year or more, and an additional 65 percent had graduated from high school.

Training for enlisted women was conducted until July 1943 at the


WAVES training school, Hunter College, New York. By that date, the Women's Reserve Training Center at Camp Lejeune was ready to begin operations. Recruit Training, of five weeks duration, was designed, as in the case of men, to indoctrinate the individual in the fundamentals of Marine Corps life. However, administration, rather than combat skill was emphasized. A highlight of the training program was the demonstration of the weapons and combat techniques by men Marines. By seeing what the men released for combat faced, the women's pride in the Corps was increased and they could see their own part in it more clearly.

Specialist training in formal schools was provided for about four percent of the enlisted women. In Marine and Navy schools the women studied for duty in the clerical, paymaster, quartermaster, motor transport, communications, and aviation fields.

Officer candidate training, like that for enlisted women, was conducted for the first few months in Navy facilities. At the Midshipman's School, Mt. Holyoke College, potential officers studied for seven and half weeks, the first four under the Navy faculty, and the last three under male Marines. During the fourth class, the Officer Candidate Class moved to the Women's Reserve Training Center, Camp Lejeune. For the first seven classes, instruction was designed to covert the candidates rapidly from civilian to military life as Marine officers. Emphasis was placed on drill, learning to take orders, military discipline, and precision and snap.

When the officer ranks were opened to enlisted personnel, training emphasis shifted to the woman officer rather than the enlisted woman. While the shift in emphasis could be achieved to some extent in the regular training of candidates, it was decided that an additional two to four weeks at school as commissioned officers would provide a brief period for the students to adjust to officer life. Accordingly, a reserve officers' class was organized in December 1943. Originally two weeks long, the course was doubled in length in January 1944.

Specialist and training opportunities were afforded officers in regular Marine and Navy schools. About 35 percent of the women who were commissioned were trained in a specialty. Included among the fields offered were supply administration, mess management, motor transport, communications, special services, post exchange administration, and rehabilitation and educational services.

The contribution of the Women's Reserve to the Marine Corps war effort can best be measured in terms of the numbers of men it released for combat duty. The Women's Reserve was able to replace nearly the equivalent of a combat division. "Free a man to fight" was truly a fitting slogan for the Marine Corps Women's Reserve.

Classification. Personnel classification in the Marine Corps before the


World War II period was carried out by rank titles and specialist branch warrants. New ranks and titles were created as the need for them arose.52 To supplement this system, an Occupational Qualification Card, listing civilian skills for each enlisted man, was introduced in 1939.

Marine Corps expansion during the sort-of-war period accompanied as it was by a great increase in the use of mechanical and electronic equipment, emphasized the need for meaningful classification of occupational skills. With the entrance of the United States into the war, proper classification became even more urgent. At the upper level, rank and warrant specialist designations were not precise enough to define skills. The occupational card for enlisted men also failed. Lack of a central agency to control the whole program, inaccurate evaluation of individual qualifications, and failure to keep the qualification cards up-to-date, all contributed to render the system unsatisfactory.

In the summer of 1942, work began at Headquarters on a new classification system. Staff officers at work on the project recognized that three fundamental problems were involved. These were: how to classify each man; how to classify each job; and how to correlate men with jobs. As the Army had a system that was giving satisfaction in these respects, the Marine Corps adopted it with certain modifications to suit its own needs.

The new system went into effect in October, 1942. Under it, every recruit entering the Marine Corps was to take the Army General Classification and Mechanical Aptitude Tests. He was also to be interviewed by a personnel specialist regarding his civilian background and experience. The results of tests and interview for each man were recorded on a qualification card. The information contained on the card could then be used as the basis for assigning military specialties, catalogued by number and title in an Army manual adapted to Marine needs. As individuals gained additional qualifications through schooling or experience, the military specialty numbers were adjusted accordingly.

In December 1942, classification of new Marines got under way at the recruit depots. To classify personnel already in the Marine Corps, mobile teams set out in May 1943 to visit all posts and stations in the United States. By the end of August, they had completed their work. The classification of personnel overseas was then begun. During the fall, classifiers were sent out to FMF units in theaters of operations, and tables of organization were revised to provide billets for them down to battalion and air squadron level.53

After two years experience with the Army system of classifying military


jobs, it was apparent that differences between the Marine Corps and the Army were large enough to justify preparation of a Marine Corps classification manual. In June 1944, a preliminary copy of this manual was distributed, listing in one volume all specification numbers, job titles, and job descriptions. After an exhaustive field trial the manual was published in August 1945.

Both at Headquarters and in the field personnel classification was judged indispensable to efficient personnel management. It furnished a permanent record of the abilities and limitations of the individual Marine that could be used by the small unit commander as well as by higher echelons, and it permitted accurate planing for requisitioning, training, assignment, and promotion of personnel.


Training Facilities. Before describing the training given to newly acquired officers and enlisted men of the Marine Corps during World War II, it is desirable to set down the steps taken to provide the more important additional facilities found necessary for that purpose.

For more than a century after its establishment the principal facilities for training Marines were connected with the barracks at the various navy yards. The expansion of the Corps during World War I led to the establishment of training centers and schools for both officers and enlisted marines at Quantico, Virginia, and San Diego, California. After World War I, these two stations were expanded to provide much of the training for the embryo Fleet Marine Force, together with its integrated aviation activities, and for the establishment of various schools of application. Schools were located also in some of the navy yards and at the Quartermasters' Supply Depot in Philadelphia. The recruit depots for the east and west coasts were located at Parris Island and San Diego, where enlisted marines received their first training. All of these facilities had to be expanded when the authorized strength of the Corps was increased at the outbreak of war in Europe, but there was insufficient room at Quantico and San Diego to provide the facilities needed for training the enlarged Fleet Marine Force.

The Commandant requested first that an additional base be acquired and developed on the east coast. The House Naval Affairs Committee approved this request on 15 February 1941. An extensive survey was made of the Atlantic seaboard for a suitable site and resulted in the acquisition or large tracts of land for that purpose at New River, North Carolina, eventually known as Camp Lejeune.

Camp Lejeune. Aviation training facilities were promptly established at


Cherry Point about forty miles from New River. The distance was not too great for easy ground-air liaison and combined training, but far enough away to avoid operational interference between aviation and ground force training. Eventually some 120,000 acres were acquired at New River and 24,000 acres for the air station at Cherry Point. New River had many advantages as a training center; accessibility to deep water, ranges for artillery and anti-aircraft gunnery practice,landing beaches with a variety of surf conditions, recreational areas, room for expansion, and the availability of railway transportation and electric power.

Constructing and equipping the new station was the responsibility of the Quartermaster's Department of Marine Corps Headquarters, which did the planning and supervised the construction work jointly with the Bureau of Yards and Docks. The first contracts, based on competitive bids, were awarded on 22 April 1941 and came to $14,575,000, but this was only the beginning of the cost of the program. An officer from the Quartermaster's Department was placed in command during the planning and construction phases of the project.54

A Tent Camp of more than 1,000 tents was set up before any buildings were ready for occupancy, in order to get training under way as quickly as possible. The Tent Camp was inaugurated by Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox on 16 July 1941. The 1st Division of the FMF and the 1st Infantry Division, United States Army moved into the area for maneuvers shortly thereafter. Landing exercises, using Coast Guard boats, were conducted in the late summer.55 On one occasion 25,000 troops were put ashore in three and one-half hours. Many of the officers and enlisted marines who took part in the Guadalcanal campaign a year later had received their first realistic training in amphibious operations during that first summer at New River. After the Army division departed following these maneuvers, a number of marine regiments moved into Tent City for intensive training.

Establishing command and administrative relationships at New River such that the mission of the station of training the Fleet Marine Force would always be kept in the foreground became an early preoccupation of Marine Corps Headquarters. As soon as training became possible by the establishment of the Tent Camp, a line officer took over command from


the Quartermaster. It was some time, however, before the administrative relationships between the officer in command of the post and the officer in immediate command of the Fleet Marine Force units was clarified. In a letter of 28 August 1941, the Commandant assigned the senior line officer regularly attached to the post as Post Commander. He was ordered to command all units attached to the Marine Barracks, New River, with the exception of the Fleet Marine Force units. The latter were not to be placed under the Post Commander except by specific orders from Marine Corps Headquarters. This arrangement resulted in divided authority and responsibility as the commander of the Fleet Marine Force had to depend on the facilities of the post for carrying out his training programs.

In an attempt to correct this situation, the Commandant in a letter of 28 July 1942, charged the senior Fleet Marine Force Commander at New River with the command of all Fleet Marine Force units, ground and air, and further charged him with the coordination of all training activities at New River. The Commandant made the Commanding Officer, Marine Barracks, New River (later named Camp Lejeune) responsible to the senior Fleet Marine Force Commander in all matters connected with the development and maintenance of facilities for the support of Fleet Marine Force units. The station went through a number of reorganizations, each underlining, with increasing emphasis, the fact that the mission of the activity was the training of the Fleet Marine Force. The concept of its mission was summarized in a statement in one of the reorganization reports as follows: "it is believed that the Commanding General, Marine Barracks, Camp Lejeune is the organization in preparation for combat of Fleet Marine Force units."

In connection with a reorganization late in 1942, the New River activities were redesignated Training Center, Camp Lejeune, effective as of 20 December 1942. In June of 1944, the designation Training Center, Fleet Marine Force, Camp Lejeune, was adopted. The Commanding General of Camp Lejeune who had also commanded the Training Center was assigned additional duty as Commanding General, Training Command. He was made directly responsible to the Commanding General, Camp Lejeune for the training of Fleet Marine Force units, all of which remained under command of the Camp Lejeune Commander, thus carrying out finally the principle of unity of command.56

Camp Lejeune became the training center for the Women's Reserve in the summer of 1943. The first unit consisting of ten officers arrived late in April 1943. In May, an enlisted contingent of 145 came from Hunter


College, New York, where they had been undergoing indoctrination training. This activity grew rapidly until there were some 3,000 Women Reserves under training at one time at Camp Lejeune.

Camp Pendleton. Marine Corps Headquarters was engaged in planning additional training facilities for the west coast in the vicinity of San Diego at the same time that the plans for the east coast were taking shape. This was done in two stages. First came the development in 1940 of a piece of land of about 360 acres leased to the Marine Corps by the City of San Diego. This was named Camp Elliott. Some 29,000 additional acres were acquired early in 1941 for the expansion of this site. The camp was activated in April 1942. Further expansion in that immediate area not being practicable, the Navy Department, in March 1942, purchased approximately 132,000 acres of the Santa Margarita ranch, one of the original Spanish grants that had remained practically intact since the annexation of California after the Mexican War. The new base, named Camp Joseph H. Pendleton, became ready to receive troops in September 1942. It had an extensive beach frontage at Oceanside for landing exercises.

In most respects the training at Camp Pendleton followed the same lines as at Camp Lejeune. Headquarters decided, however, that complete duplication of all activities was unnecessary, in fact, undesirable. Tank training, for example, was eventually concentrated at Camp Pendleton partly because of the greater variety and suitability of the terrain for such training, as compared to Camp Lejeune. Certain of the courses given in the engineering school at Lejeune were transferred to Pendleton. Highly realistic infantry and infiltration training with emphasis on combat conditioning were also made a specialty at Camp Pendleton.

Replacement battalions received their final training at Lejeune and Pendleton. The latter served also as a reservoir for the distribution of Fleet Marine Force units to the Pacific area. Under the Lend-Lease Act, Headquarters arranged also for the training of Royal Netherlands Marine Corps units at Lejeune, Pendleton, and Quantico.

Pendleton was intended originally as a temporary training center to meet the needs of amphibious warfare in the Pacific. However, a survey made by Marine Corps Headquarters toward the end of the war made clear that it possessed advantages over any other base for training entire Fleet Marine Force divisions because of its great area, the nature and variety of its terrain for tank training, its extensive artillery ranges, and its unsurpassed boat basin. The Commandant, accordingly, recommended that Camp Pendleton be retained as a Marine Corps base. This recommendation was approved by the Secretary of the Navy under date of 14 October 1944.

Enlisted Personnel Training. The foundation for all enlisted training in the Marine Corps on the eve of World War II was an eight-week period


of rigorous and uniform training for all recruits.57 Every man entering the Marine Corps went first to one of the two recruit depots at Parris Island, South Carolina, or San Diego, California, where he was introduced to the fundamentals of military life. He learned discipline, military courtesy, close order drill, and interior guard duty. He was given a start on thorough physical conditioning to prepare him for the rigors of combat. He became intimately familiar with his rifle, mastering its mechanical functioning and firing it for record on the range. And he received elementary instruction in infantry combat subjects, including the digging of foxholes, bayonet, grenades, chemical warfare, map reading, and basic squad combat principles.

Upon completion of the recruit cycle, most Marines were assigned to organizations where they continued to train both as individuals and as members of combat teams. For those who were selected for instruction in the operation and maintenance of complex weapons and equipment, specialist schools were conducted. In keeping with the small size of the Corps before the war, specialist school training was on a very small scale. Only about 250 enlisted men graduated during fiscal 1939.

With such a limited demand, the Marine Corps could not afford to maintain an elaborate educational system. It operated only nine schools for enlisted men, representing the communications, ordnance, and supply fields, relying on the Army, Navy, and civil institutions to train Marine Corps students in other subjects.

The declaration of limited national emergency on 8 September 1939, which ushered in the build-up of the Marine Corps, naturally led to increased demands upon the training organization. To handle the stepped-up input of new recruits created by unlimited recruiting during the fall of 1939, the Commandant put into effect an emergency recruit program of four weeks duration. Four weeks proved to be too short a period for proper training. In January 1940, recruit training was extended to six weeks, and in May to seven weeks. Except for these changes in length, recruit training remained essentially the same in subject matter and in instructional method.

The gradual mobilization also increased the demand for trained specialists. Not only was the Marine Corps growing in numbers, but the introduction of new and more complex weapons and equipment required trained operators and maintenance mechanics. The Army and Navy, faced with their own expansion problems, could not offer additional training opportunities. The Marine Corps was forced to provide its own training facilities, so in February 1941, the Training Center, an organization of specialist schools, was activated at Quantico.


The pressures put on the training system by the partial mobilization of the sort-of-war period were dwarfed by the swift rush of events following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. First to feel the pressures of wartime mobilization were the recruit depots. To attain the build-up to 104,000 by 1 March, the recruit cycle was cut from seven to six, and then to five weeks. In addition, the 2d Marine Division and Marine Barracks, Quantico, were pressed into service as supplementary recruit depots.58

By 1 March, expansion of recruit depot facilities, combined with a leveling off in enlistments, permitted a resumption of the seven-week program. Two years later, an additional week was allotted, to lengthen the recruit program to eight weeks, where it remained until the end of the War. In content, the recruit curriculum remained relatively unchanged throughout the War. The procedures in effect in 1939 proved to be sound and were only modified to give greater emphasis to swimming and to field subjects.

The demand for trained technical specialists underwent a similar increase. The training center concept, developed before Pearl Harbor, proved sound. It was expanded in April 1942 by the formation of an additional training center on the West Coast at Camp Elliott. Overcrowding at Elliott led to the removal of the specialist schools to a newly organized Training Center at Camp Pendleton, beginning 1 February 1943.59 Meanwhile, the original East Coast training center had moved from Quantico to Camp Lejeune during September-November 1942 to permit the expansion of the Marine Corps Schools at the former base. The creation and mission of Camps Lejeune and Pendleton have been described in previous pages. The expansion of specialist training in the Marine Corps was so great, in fact, that the training centers could not accommodate all the schools. The overflow spilled on to various Marine bases and stations throughout the country. In addition to these Marine schools, Marine students continued to be sent to Army and Navy and civilian schools.

The subjects offered covered a wide range, including ordnance, engineering, communications, motor vehicles both wheeled and tracked, quartermaster, personnel, administration, intelligence, Japanese language, tank tactics, and other subjects. Instruction was given in a graduated system of schools, beginning with the elementary level and progressing through more advanced stages. Many of the systems incorporated schools not only of the Marine Corps but of the Army and Navy and civilian institutions as well. Most basic instruction was given in Marine schools, the Army


and Navy supplementing these in a few instances where the load was particularly heavy.

In contrast with the progress made in the production of specialists, no provisions for the training of combat replacements were made until 22 May 1942. Directives issued on that date called for the establishment of replacement training centers on both coasts. Camp Elliott in California and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina were the sites for these training centers.60

The replacement training cycle was eight weeks long for the first two and one-half years of the War. During that period, the lessons of combat were applied to make the training schedule more rigorous and realistic. Combat reaction courses, in which trainees crept and crawled across obstacle-strewn terrain covered by machine-gun fire aimed over their heads, and greater emphasis on night and day tactical problems contributed to the new realism.61

In spite of these innovations, reports from the field indicated that the training of replacements was still inadequate. During the early months of 1944, officers in the training centers and at headquarters re-examined the training system. On the basis of their studies, the replacement training program was lengthened from 8 to 12 weeks, where it remained until the end of the War.62

Officer Training. The peacetime officer training program in effect in the Marine Corps before 1939 was geared to produce a small, highly skilled, professional officer Corps. Upon reporting for duty, newly commissioned second lieutenants were assigned to the Basic School located in the Marine Barracks, Philadelphia Navy Yard. After nine months instruction in drill, small arms marksmanship, naval administration, and tactics, the young officers went out to take up duty assignments. Some years later, they resumed formal education at the Junior Course, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, as senior first lieutenants or captains. In the Junior Course, they received thorough instruction in the tactics of amphibious and land warfare. Following another period of troop or staff duty, officers, now having attained field grade, returned to Marine Corps Schools for the senior course, where they studied the art of command, and naval and military strategy. For a very few officers, there were opportunities to continue formal education beyond Senior Course at the Army Command and General Staff School and the Army and Navy War Colleges.

Officers selected for specialist duties followed a somewhat different


course of formal education after the completion of Basic School. They substituted a course in their specialty for the Junior Course. Artillery officers, both field and base defense, attended the Base Defense Weapons Course in Marine Corps Schools, or the Army Field or Coast Artillery Schools. Specialists in other subjects, including engineering, communications, ordnance, chemical warfare, languages, and law attended Army, Navy, or civilian schools in their specialists.

The peacetime training system failed to meet the needs of an expanding Marine Corps from the very beginning of mobilization. In September 1939, when company grade reserve officers were called to active duty to command the newly authorized 25,000-man Marine Corps, a special Reserve Officers' Course had to be set up in Marine Corps Schools to complete their military education for troop duty.

The first Reserve Officers' class convened at Quantico on 2 October 1939 for six weeks of instruction. Divided into infantry, field artillery, and base defense artillery sections, the course offered subject matter similar to that in the Basic School, but greatly condensed. Despite some difficulties, due mostly to lack of equipment and of time for adequate preparation of course by the instructors, the first ROC was successful in preparing reserve officers reasonably well for troop duty. As there was a continuing need for officers, it was decided to assemble additional classes. In the 2nd ROC, two important changes were made. First, the schedule was increased to 13 weeks to allow for additional instruction. Second, all students took the same course which was devoted to infantry work. Those officers designated for field or base defense artillery were assigned to the Base Defense Weapons course after completing the ROC.

Another new program was created in the fall of 1940 to train officer candidates. Essentially a recruit depot for potential officers, the 12-week Officer Candidate Class (OCC) offered a curriculum made up of close order drill, small arms marksmanship, parades and ceremonies, map reading, interior guard duty, first aid, care of equipment and clothing, basic combat principles and other basic subjects. An equally important function of the OCC was the selection of those who possessed the qualities necessary for the successful performance of the duties of commissioned rank. Skilled officer instructors kept the candidates under constant scrutiny, and only those who measured up to the high standards of the Marine Corps were commissioned.

Newly commissioned graduates of OCC were not ready to assume command of troops in the field. They needed further military education, which they received in the Reserve Officers Course. The first three ROC classes had been filled with reserve officers ordered to active duty, but the fourth class, which convened in March 1941, was made up of the entire


graduating body of the first OCC. This same practice was observed for all subsequent OCC classes. The two courses combined provided the new officers, most of whom were drawn from civilian life, with the training necessary to discharge the duties of combat command. Until late in the war, January 1945, the OCC-ROC combination was to be the basis of Marine Corps officer training.

After completing ROC, all officers except those selected for specialist training were ordered to a command or staff assignment. As the numbers of Marines increased, the demand for trained specialists expanded. However, the Army and Navy, faced with similar growing pains, were unable to accommodate the additional Marine students, so it was necessary for the Marine Corps to organize courses of its own in the Training Center, Quantico.

The pressure of total mobilization following the declaration of war led to two immediate results. One of these was the liquidation of the peacetime officer training program. The Junior and Senior Courses at Marine Corps Schools had already been discontinued with the completion of the 1940-1941 classes because of the demand for field grade officers in the FMF. So serious was the shortage that in the Second Division, only one officer in each infantry battalion was above the rank of second lieutenant.63 The Platoon Leaders Class was discontinued in December 1941 because of the acceleration of college classes. Platoon Leaders who had completed the required training were called to active duty and commissioned. The remainder were assigned to the OCC. The Basic School was combined with the ROC on 31 July 1942.64

The other step taken as a result of the mobilization following Pearl Harbor was to accelerate officer training in the wartime schools. To meet the demand for junior officers, the OCC, ROC, and Base Defense Weapons Schools were shortened to 10 weeks, and classes were scheduled on the block system, under which two or more classes underwent instruction at the same time.65

Even with the accelerated program, Marine Corps Schools could not meet the requirements for officers. To supplement the Quantico Schools, the Second Division organized an officer candidate school on the West Coast at Camp Elliott. This school, which was to provide a minimum of training for noncommissioned officers who had been selected for direct commission, proved to be inadequate to teach all the necessary technical


and tactical principles to junior officers. Commanders in the field reported that products of the Second Division school were lacking in professional knowledge and were far inferior to ROC graduates.66 As a result, in October 1942, the policy of direct commission of NCO's stationed in the United States for general duty was discontinued as was the Second Division Officer Candidate School.67

The termination of the Second Division Officer Candidate course was not an isolated occurrence but foreshadowed a re-examination of officer training procedures in the Marine Corps. It was generally recognized both at Marine Corps Schools and Headquarters Marine Corps that the total of 20 weeks--10 in OCC and 10 in ROC--allotted to officer training was not sufficient preparation for combat command. Additional firing problems, night exercises, infiltration exercises, and opportunities for all students to command a troop-leading exercise without coaching were most important.

The solution arrived at in October 1942 was to require all officer candidates entering the Marine Corps from civil life to take the full seven-week cycle of recruit training at the Parris Island or San Diego Recruit Depots. Much of the material given in OCC could now be dropped as it would be covered in recruit depot. OCC was accordingly cut to eight weeks, much of it devoted to subjects formerly taught in ROC. This last course was retained at 10 weeks and now featured the more advanced subjects recommended for inclusion in the officer training program. Thus the training program for officers from civilian life was extended by five weeks, from 20 to 25.68

The need for additional training for officer candidates selected from the ranks was recognized also. Candidates detachments were formed in the Training Centers at Camp Lejeune and Camp Elliott during April 1943 to offer an eight-week pre-OCC course. Here the prospective candidates were given a careful screening, were introduced to the military subjects they would encounter at OCC, and were given a refresher course in mathematics, particularly useful for those who hoped to select artillery after receiving their commissions. The training course for candidates from the ranks thus covered a period of 24 weeks.69

In the spring of 1944, the officer candidates direct from civilian life


were required to take the pre-OCC course also. Both groups of officer candidates now took two successive eight-week courses to qualify for commissions. They had also to complete an additional 10 weeks of basic officer training before they were assigned to troop duty.70

his three-part, 26-week officer training program continued in effect until January 1945, when the program was simplified by combining the OCC and ROC into one 16-week Platoon Commanders Course. The resulting 24-week program remained in force until the end of the war.

The procurement of officers for limited specialist duty under the Reserve Class V program brought into the Marine Corps a number of individuals with no military background. Aviation ground officer specialists were the first to report for active duty. A few of these officers were enrolled in the regular ROC course. Because of their age and lack of basic military training, they made very poor records; so a special 10-week indoctrination course was organized in May 1942 using the barracks and class rooms of the ROC. The curriculum consisted of selected lectures and exercises of ROC plus new courses emphasizing staff work and aviation subjects.

On 5 September, a group of recruiting specialists were ordered to Quantico for a one-week indoctrination consisting of lectures on the Marine Corps, military customs and courtesies. They spent 20 minutes each day in close order drill, and the remainder of this time in observing the ROC and OCC classes in operation. This course was just a stopgap until the beginning of a regular four-week course for all reserve specialists reporting to the officers' pool at QUantico. On 15 October another course was started in the Training Center at Camp Lejeune. At Lejeune, more emphasis was placed on drill, weapons, physical conditioning and living under field conditions than in the Quantico course. A similar course was conducted on the West Coast in the Training Center, Camp Elliott. By the end of 1943, the bulk of indoctrination training had been completed; the indoctrination course at Lejeune was closed on 15 February 1944.71

The discontinuing of the Senior and Junior Courses at Marine Corps Schools, though unavoidable, proved unfortunate since it eliminated the only formal instruction in staff work and higher command offered by the Marine Corps. The rapid organization of new units and the necessity to fill the staff and command billets soon pointed up the shortage of officers experienced in the duties of these positions. As early as May 1942, both at Headquarters Marine Corps and Marine Corps Schools, the desirability


of a Command and Staff School was recognized. But it was not until early 1943 that school facilities and instructors could be assembled. On 25 March, the Command and Staff School began operations as a component of Marine Corps Schools, teaching a 12-week course. The curriculum stressed Command and Staff functions in amphibious operations at battalion, regiment, and division level.72

Administrative Operations--Supply

Supplies in General. Supplying the logistic needs of the Marine Corps was no less important than recruiting and training its personnel. Logistics planning was the responsibility of the Division of Plans and Policies and more particularly of the G-4 Section of that division. That division had the determination of the "what, when, and where" of supplies and equipment, normally based on preliminary studies made by the Quartermaster Department. Procurement and storage were the responsibility of the latter which handled also the transportation of troops and supplies; and made all disbursements except payment of Marine Corps personnel, the latter coming under the cognizance of the Paymaster Department.

The Quartermaster Department merits a high mark for the economy and efficiency with which it carried out its logistics functions without building up extensive engineering, technical, and procurement organizations of its own. Instead, it made use of the existing engineering and technical facilities of the War and Navy Departments. For the development and manufacture of items of equipment, unique to the Marine Corps, including uniforms, it depended largely on the Quartermaster Supply Depot, Philadelphia. At that depot before World War II were stored all items needed to equip Marine Corps expeditionary forces. Given the size of an expedition and its destination whether for the tropics or for a cold climate the depot was able to assemble on 24 hours notice everything needed for expeditionary forces up to brigade size, ready for loading on shipboard.73

It might be supposed that the Marine Corps, as a part of the Naval Establishment, would depend almost entirely on the Navy Department for supplies and equipment not unique to the Marines. This had not however been the case before World War II and was less so during the war, because in its organization and in its operations as a ground force the


Marine Corps resembles the Army more than it does the Navy; therefore, its logistic needs also paralleled those of the Army more nearly than those of the Navy.

About 65 percent of all material used by the Marine Corps during World War II came from the Army. Included were 85 percent of all ordnance items, 75 percent of all food, 5 percent of all engineer equipment, and a substantial amount of signal gear. The Navy Department furnished only about 5 percent, primarily all aircraft and aviation equipment, some naval type guns and about 15 percent of food. The Marine Corps manufactured about 5 percent of the equipment it needed, mostly clothing and personal equipment at the Depot of Supplies, Philadelphia. About 25 percent, including all motor transport, 95 percent of engineer items, and 10 percent of food, the Marine Corps purchased from civilian manufacturers and suppliers.74 All floating equipment used by the Marines in amphibious operations such as landing craft, amphibian tractors, small boats, etc., were provided by the Bureau of Ships, but on specifications and characteristics based broadly on studies and plans made by Marine Corps Headquarters. In its policy over the years of using the War and Navy Departments for filling in large part of its logistic needs the Marine Corps may be said to have anticipated some of the aims of unification and single service procurement.

The expansion of the Marine Corps following the declaration of a limited national emergency on 8 September 1939 made it necessary to step up the procurement of supplies. Procurement of weapons and ammunition, for instance, increased 20 percent during the first half of 1941 over the previous six month period. During the second half of the year there was a far greater increase amounting to 300 percent over the preceding half year.75

In spite of increased appropriations, there were still not sufficient funds to provide the needed supplies for the growing Marine Corps during the short-of-war period. A survey undertaken by the General Board of the Navy in July 1940 revealed shortages in Marine Corps equipment amounting to $14,045,000 worth of clothing and individual supplies and equipment, and $20,413,020 of tanks,guns, and fire control equipment. Estimates on delivery dates varied from three to six months for the clothing and equipment to one to two years for the ordnance material.76

However, the situation with respect to funds changed when the threat of United States involvement in the war came closer. In the summer of


1940 Congress appropriated large sums for increases in the Navy and in the other armed forces. There was no lack of money thereafter during the war to carry out the military expansion programs, but shortages in materials to manufacture munitions and build ships and to create the additional facilities needed to produce them soon became the critical problem in procurement.

The history of the emergency agencies that were set up to control the economy of the nation under war conditions and the procedures adopted to effect a balanced distribution of manpower and material resources between the various production programs and civilian needs with due regard to urgency is told in the chapter on "Material Procurement," and need not be repeated in this place.

Effective relationships of Headquarters with the war emergency agencies and with the other services were of great importance to the success of Marine Corps supply programs. This was particularly important in dealing with the Army which was the major Marine Corps supplier. Good relations with Army supply agencies and a thorough understanding of Army supply procedures were essential if the Marine Corps were to receive prompt and efficient service in filling its requests.

The largest single category supplied by the Army was ordnance. Early in the war, the Marine Corps took steps to establish close working relationships with the Army Ordnance Department. On 23 October 1942, a civilian employee of that department was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve to head a liaison section with his former employers. He very quickly proved his worth. As nearly all ordnance material was in short supply, the proper preparation of requirements, a process demanding a thorough knowledge of the complex Army supply structure and accurate interpretations of its many publications, was very important. With the expansion of the Army Ordnance Department, additional Marine liaison offices were opened--with the Chief of Ordnance, Detroit, in January 1943; at Rock Island Arsenal a year later; and at Frankford Arsenal in August 1944.77

For the procurement of food, the Marine Corps participated in the Army Quartermaster market center system. This was a centralized procurement organization which could use speedy commercial methods of purchasing large quantities of foodstuffs from markets all over the country. The Marine Corps joined the system in July 1942. Two officers were assigned to the Market Center to represent Marine Corps interests in food procurement.78


The beach at Iwo Jima, D-day. A wave of U.S. Marines begins attack.
The Beach at IWO JIMA, D-day. A wave of U.S. Marines begins attacks.


Essential to effective participation in wartime procurement programs, both at the War Production Board level and with the Army and Navy, were accurate estimates of requirements. The system employed by the Marine Corps was for the Quartermaster Department to make estimates on the basis of Tables of Basic Allowances prepared by M-4. These tables specified the equipment authorized for each unit and also provided a replenishment factor to provide for the replacement of supplies and equipment as they wore out or were expended in combat. The calculation of replenishment rates was based largely on assumptions and the personal experience of the officers who calculated them. After Marines entered combat, reports form the field were combed through in M-4 for information on actual expenditures. On the basis of such evidence, readjustments were made in the Tables of Basic Allowances. Originally a function of the War Plans and Statistical Section, requirements estimating was decentralized to the technical supply divisions in June 1943.79

Landing Craft. The development and procurement of special landing craft needed in amphibious operations is a typical example of the method followed in solving a particularly difficult logistics problem.80 Getting men, equipment, and supplies ashore quickly with minimum sea and landing risks during the assault phase of an operation had been found from pre-war exercises to be difficult and of crucial importance. Standard ship's boats were used in the early peacetime exercises to put landing parties ashore on beaches, but no one was satisfied with the suitability of such boats for the purpose, neither the Marines and the Fleet as the users of the boats, nor the Bureau of Construction and Repair as their designer and producer. Due to the cost and difficulty of developing something better, progress in providing more suitable craft was slow.

The Marine Corps Equipment Board, previously mentioned, was formed in 1933 to devote full time to the study of this and other equipment problems. In 1935 the Bureau of Construction and Repair invited bids from naval architects and commercial boat builders for boat designs to meet the requirements of landing operations. The Bureau found it necessary to limit the maximum weight and length of the designs proposed in order to keep the boats within the weight handling facilities and davit strength and spacing on the ships that were to carry the craft. This probably handicapped the bidders with the result that the designs submitted were not outstandingly superior to conventional boats, although they


included some improved features. Eventually, the Bureau had to provide handling facilities of greater capacity and greater davit strength and spacing so as to take care of larger and heavier boats.

Shortly after this competition the Bureau of C&R purchased from Andrew J. Higgins, a new Orleans boat builder, a number of 30-foot boats of a special type known as the Eureka boat. Higgins had developed the type for the use of oil drillers and fur trappers in the Louisiana bayous. The special features of the boat were considerable power for its size, a heavy skeg to protect the propeller from damage, and a shape of hull from amidship forward to facilitate retraction from the beach. The hull form was such that the boat grounded over only a small area forward. The slip-stream from the propeller in backing washed away the sand from under the boat at the point of contact, thus releasing it from the beach. None of these features was original with Higgins but he had brought them together in an excellent design for the purpose for which the boats were built.

The first boats purchased were still limited as to size. In 1941 Higgins built a 36-foot boat for his own account fitted with a bow ramp for disembarking personnel. The weight ran up to 16,000 pounds. Under tests the boat showed itself superior to former models of landing craft. This boat as to hull form became the prototype for a variety of landing craft in this size range.

The engineering and technical work connected with the design and production of landing craft was handled by the Bureau of C&R, later the Bureau of Ships. That Bureau also paid for the craft. In order to give every consideration to the user's experience and point of view the "Department Continuing Board for the Development of Landing Boats" was set up by the Secretary of the Navy. Its membership included representatives of the Chief of Naval Operations, the Marine Corps, the Bureau of Ships, and the Bureau of Ordnance.

In addition to boats, the Marines were interested in a vehicle that could be placed overboard from a ship some distance from the shore and could then, under its own power, make its way over coral reefs, such as found in the Pacific, through the surf, up on the beach, and inland through swamps and over other roadless terrain without unloading men and supplies at the water's edge. The use of a caterpillar type of tractor had suggested itself for this purpose. Such a tractor was built by Mr. J. Walter Christie and tested in the fleet maneuvers at Culebra in 1924, but was too unseaworthy to be serviceable. Its capacity was also very limited. Interest in such a vehicle then languished for a number of years.

In the middle 30's Mr. Donald Roebling developed an amphibian vehicle of the caterpillar type for rescuing people from the Florida swamps,


but when he was approached by the Marine Corps to develop something similar for landing operations he at first showed no interest, but with the increasing tension in Europe he agreed in 1938 to adapt the "Alligator," as the vehicle was known, to military uses. The project was turned over to a special section of the Landing Craft Board which later became the "Continuing Board for the Development of Landing Vehicles, Tracked (LVT)". The actual writing of the specifications for the vehicle and its procurement were the responsibility of the Bureau of COnstruction and Repair.

The contract for the first of these vehicles was placed with the Food Machinery Corporation, Dunedin, Florida. Inspection and follow-up of the\ contact was placed under the Inspector of Naval Material covering that district with Marine Corps officers participating in the inspection work. Eventually other contractors were brought into the production program.

The first two LVT's were delivered in November 1940 and were tested by the Marine Corps at Guantanamo Bay. The tests proved sufficiently successful to justify going into production. A continuous program of improvements was then started under the guidance of the Board mentioned above. The Bureau of Construction and Repair, and later the Bureau of Ships, handled the technical aspects of specifications, development, and procurement. Officers from the Marine Corps were assigned to liaison duty in the section handling the work in the Bureau of Ships.

Greater seaworthiness and better military characteristics were the two principal lines of improvement followed in the wartime development of tracked vehicles. To improve military characteristics it was necessary to increase the useful loads that the vehicle could carry from ship to shore. One of the types that evolved from the original LVT was the Armored Amphibian (LVTA). During the period from 1941 through 1945 some 18,620 tracked vehicles of various types were produced. They contributed greatly to the success of the war in the Pacific. Their greatest strategic value lay in the fact that they could land troops and supplies on almost any kind of beach and through coral formations, thus making it impossible for the enemy to foresee probable landing points and to concentrate his defenses at such points.

Storage. For the storage of supplies in the continental United States until they were issued to troops, the Marine Corps maintained three supply depots. The Depot of Supplies at Philadelphia was by far the largest of these, handling about 75 percent of all supplies. The other two, at ships detachments. Before World War II storage facilities were not in great demand because there were never sufficient funds to accumulate war reserve stocks. As an example of the stringency of budget restrictions,


spare parts could not even be stocked for engineer equipment. If a replacement part were needed, the whole piece of equipment remained idle until the using unit was authorized to procure a replacement for it under the Table of Basic Allowances. The only alternative was to cannibalize equipment in storage.81

The expansion of the Marine Corps following the declaration of a limited national emergency on 8 September 1939 made it necessary also to procure more supplies. Procurement of weapons and ammunition, for instance, increased 20 percent during the first half of 1941 over the previous six-month period. During the second half of the year there was a far greater increase amounting to 300 percent over the preceding half year.82

Facilities for storage had top be greatly expanded during the war. The three depots in existence in December 1941 proved inadequate to store the vast quantity of supplies procured for the wartime Marine COrps. Existing depots were expanded and new ones activated, resulting in an integrated depot system designed to speed the flow of supplies from the time of their delivery to the Marine Corps until they were finally issued to troops in training in the states or shipped to units overseas. The two Depots of Supplies at Philadelphia and San Francisco became the foundation of the depot system that developed during the war. All supplies procured for the Marine Corps, except for local purchases of perishable foods, were shipped to one of these depots.

Before the war, Philadelphia had been the more important of the two, but with the deployment of the FMF in the Pacific, the depot at San Francisco became the dominant one. All supplies destined for the Pacific theaters of operations, except those in the hands of units moving overseas, were shipped from San Francisco, and the great majority of items were delivered there by manufacturers or by the Army and Navy. Philadelphia became primarily the initial storage and distribution point for clothing and personal equipment.

The Depot of Supplies, San Francisco, was a very small installation in December 1941. Only about 200 military and civilian personnel were employed, and storage space was a mere 548,313 square feet. By the end of the war, storage space had more than quadrupled. The additional space included a subordinate depot at Barstow, California. Begun in the spring of 1942 as an inland supply installation for the Navy, Barstow was transferred to the Marine Corps in December 1942 to help meet the supply demands of Marines fighting in the Pacific. Barstow accounted for a little more than half of the storage space in the San Francisco depot system.


Overseas shipments from San Francisco from December 1941 through August 1945 amounted to 907,530 short tons.83

In addition to the two major depots at San Francisco and Philadelphia, there were two FMF base depots, one on each coast. Their mission was to supply FMF units in their respective areas. The Base Depot, FMF,l Norfolk, Virginia, was originally activated on 11 June 1941 at Charleston, South Carolina, and moved to Norfolk in October of that year. The depot was very active during 1941 and early 1942, equipping the Marine brigade bound for Iceland and the First Marine Division when it shipped out for the South Pacific. After the departure of the First Division, the majority of supply activities were shifted to the West Coast. The FMF Base Depot, San Diego, drawing on the Depot of Supplies, San Francisco, for its stocks of material, assumed the major role in fitting out units departing for Pacific theaters of operations. Units formed on the East Coast usually picked up most of their equipment when they reached the West Coast.84

To assure efficient use of the material after it had been procured, an accurate and up-to-date record of supplies on hand had to be set up. At the beginning of the war, the only record of Marine Corps supply levels was a property account, showing the property charged to accountable officers throughout the Marine Corps. Each of these officers submitted a report of his issues and receipts to the Quartermaster Department, but as the reports were submitted only at infrequent intervals, they were of little value as a record of supplies on hand at a given moment.

Beginning in September 1943, a special task force of the Quartermaster Department made a complete inventory of all depots in the United States and set up a stock record card accounting system covering every item of Marine Corps supply. At first, all entries on the stock record cards were hand posted. But the volume of ordnance items, some 75,529 by 22 November 1944, led to the adoption of a machine record system for this category of supply. Located at the Depot of Supplies, San Francisco, it was modeled on the system in use by the Army Ordnance Department.85


The amphibious character of the war in the Pacific imposed on the Marine Corps greater tasks than any it had ever before been called on to


perform. Expanding the Corps and equipping it with the weapons and support facilities demanded by modern amphibious undertakings was an administrative achievement of the first magnitude but was overshadowed by the readiness of the Fleet Marine force to undertake the Guadalcanal Operation at a critical time early in the war when other ground forces were still undergoing training. A few statistics will be helpful to an understanding of the nature of the administrative task.

Personnel was expanded from 18,000 in September 1939 to an authorized strength of 503,000, although the actual strength never exceeded 485,833, reached in August 1945.

The Fleet Marine Force eventually comprising some 185,000 trained men in the ground units, organized into six divisions, 19 defence battalions, and other supporting units, was the heart of the Marine Corps' fighting forces.

The Aviation Branch of the Fleet Marine Force grew to some 80,000 men, grouped into various units consisting of more than 175 land and carrier-based squadrons. Aviation personnel was rotated frequently, but more than half were overseas on 30 June 1945.

Logistics was a controlling factor in mounting amphibious operations. Success depended upon a procurement, storage, and distribution of tremendous quantities of supplies and equipment. Due to the sound procurement policies followed by the Quartermaster Department over the years, no operation was ever delayed because of lack of supplies. The procurement fo some of the items ran to very large figures; for example, 2,548,121,000 rounds of ammunition of all types, 1,156,959 weapons of all types, 62,240 vehicles, and many other items that had to be procured in unprecedented amounts.86


Table of Contents
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1 U.S. Stat. Vol. I, p. 594.

2 Act of June 30, 1934, C.132, 4 Stat. 712.

3 For a discussion of the legal status of the Marine Corps, see LtCol H.M. Hoyler, USMC, "Legal Status of the Marines," Marine Corps Gazette, November 1950.

4 Major John H. Russell, USMC (later Major General and Commandant of the Marine Corps) contributed an article to the second number, the June 1916 issue of the recently founded Marine Corps Gazette on "A Plea for a Mission and Doctrine." Only a small part of the article was devoted to his concept of the mission of the Marine Corps, namely, cooperation with the Navy in peace and war, to the end that in the event of war the Marine Corps would be of maximum value to the Navy. But, it brought forth more discussion and comment, printed also in the June issue of the Gazette, than other parts of the article. It is significant that the founding of the Marine Corps Gazette and the beginning of the re-appraisal of the Marine Corps' mission took place in 1916 during World War I, and about a year after the failure of the British amphibious operation at Gallipoli.

5 The task force employed, although not so called at the time, consisted principally of the small cruiser Marblehead flying the flag of the task force commander, Commander Bowman McCalla, USN, and of the transport Panther carrying a battalion of Marines composed of both infantry and field artillery, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Huntington, USMC. This force was put ashore on 10 June 1898. Broad decisions as to when and where to land and whether to continue or to break off the operation were the responsibility of the task force commander. Tactical command ashore was left to the marine force commander who, by signals from ashore, called on the ships for gunfire support when needed. For further details, see "The Guantanamo Campaign of 1898," by Col. Charles F. McCawley, USMC, The Marine Corps Gazette, September 1916.

6 See also "The U.S. Marine Corps: Author of Modern Amphibious War," by Major R.D. Heinl, Jr., USMC, Proceedings, U.S. Naval Institute, November 1947.

7 General Order 241 of 7 December 1933.

8 Hoyler, Op.Cit.

9 Clyde H. Metcalf, A History of the United States Marine Corps, 95.

10 Brig Gen Logan Feland, "The Division of Operations and Training, Headquarters Marine Corps," Marine Corps Gazette, March, 1922. HQMC Organizational Charts, 1929, 1937. "History of Marine Corps Administration in World War II," mss in HistBr HQMC. (Hereafter MarCorps Admin. Hist.)

11 Ltr LtCol J.J. Meade to CMC, 15 Apr 1928, 2385/130. Organization Chart, Headquarters Marine Corps, 1 Oct 1929, in HistBr HQMC. J.A. Isely & P.A. Crowl, The U.S. Marines and Amphibious War, 29.

12 Metcalf, Op.Cit. MarCorps Admin Hist, 54-171.

13 "Mar Corps Admin Hist," 126. Div of Reserve Op Diary, 7 December 1941-31 Dec. 1944. (All operational diaries are in HistBr HQMC unless otherwise noted.)

14 Headquarters Memo No. 26-1942, 26 Jan 1942. P&P Memo 10192, 9 Jan 1942, both in 1062-5. (All correspondence, orders, memos, and dispatches are in HQMC files unless otherwise noted.)

15 HQMC Organization Chart, 1943-44, in HistBr HQMC.

16 P&P Memo 12080, 7 Feb 44, 2385/130-30.

17 Ibid., and M-5 Operational Diary, 27 Mar 44-31 Dec 44.

18 PersDept OpDiary, 7 Dec 41-31 Dec 44. Ltr Management Engr to CMC, 28 Jul 1943,1060-5.

19 HQ Memo 132-1943, 25 Jun 43, 1060-5, Ltr of Instr 1107, 18 Aug 45, HistBr HQMC.

20 "MarCorps Admin Hist," 82-86, 121-125.

21 CMC Rpt, 1939.

22 N.Y. Times, 9 Sep 1939, quoted in Mark S. Watson, U.S. ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, Chief of Staff, Prewar Plans and Policies, 156, Washington, 1949.

23 CMC Rpt, 1941.

24 Ibid.

25 Encl A to Memo for Adm King, 6 Feb 1942.

26 Statistics from Personnel Accounting Section, HQMC.

27 Ltr CMC to SecNav, 12 Dec 41, 1815-10-20.

28 Ltrs CMC to SecNav, 23 Jan 42, COMINCH to CNO, 6 Feb 42, CNO to SecNav, 10 Feb 42. Memo SecNav to President, 10 Feb 42.

29 Memo UnderSecNav to President, 16 Jul 42.

30 Ltr SecNav to Pres, 4 Sep 42.

31 Memo Adm Leahy to the President, 30 Sep 42.

32 Memo Adm Leahy to the President, 9 Nov 43, with handwritten note: OK FDR.

33 Memo SecNav to the President, 29 May 45, with handwritten note: Approved HST 5/29/45.

34 CMC Rpt, 1939.

35 Dispatches, MarCorps to MarRecruit, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New Orleans, all 8 Sep 39, 1535-140.

36 MarCorps Admin Hist, 19.

37 U.S. Selective Service System, Problems of Selective Service, Spcl. Mono. No. 16, Vol. I, 5. Washington, 1952.

38 Ltr LtGen K.E. Rockey to CMC, 6 Nov 55, HistBr HQMC.

39 U.S. Selective Service System, Op. Cit., 62.

40 Ibid., and BuPers Admin Hist 49050.

41 FIgures derived from ltrs CMC to Recruiting Divs, 1535-140, each month giving quotas and Admin Hist 15-17 for inductees received.

42 Ltrs CMC to OinCs, Southern, Eastern, Central, Western Recruiting Divs, 11 Feb 43. Ltr CMC to OinC Western Recruiting Div, 23 Mar 43, all 1535-140. MarCorps Admin Hist, 15-17.

43 CMC Rpt, Fiscal 1939.

44 Dir P&P Memo 8337 to CMC, 3 Sep 40, 1520-30-120.

45 Memos OinC Officers Records Section to Dir P&P 2 Jun 41, & DirDiv P&P No. 9250 to CMC 10 Jun 41, 1520-30-120.

46 Ltr CMC to All Recruiting Stations, etc., 13 Jan 42, 1965-90-10.

47 Memo, Dir DivReserve to CMC, 24 Apr 42, 1965-90-10.

48 M-3 OpDiary, 7 Dec 41-31 Dec 44.

49 BuPers Admin Hist Vol. IV, 1-2. "Plan for Operation of Navy College Training Program as Pertains to U.S. Marine Corps." Encl A to ltr CMC to all CO's, 24 Mar 43, 1520-30-60.

05 M-3 OpDiary, 7 Dec 41-31 Dec 44.

51 Ruth C. Streeter, "History of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve, A Critical Analysis of its Development and Operation,. 1943-1945." Ms in HistBr HQMC. Mrs. Streeter was the Director of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve during World War II.

52 See Headquarters monograph, "Enlisted Ranks and Grades, U.S. Marine Corps, 1775-1958."

53 Classification Div, HQMC, OpDiary, 7 Dec 41-31 Dec 44, HistBr, HQMC.

54 Lieutenant Colonel William P.T. Hill, USMC, an Assistant Quartermaster, later Major General and Quartermaster General, was by the Commandant's orders of 20 April 1941 directed to establish and assume of the Marine Barracks, New River. To legalize the orders the restrictions on exercising command of troops, normally applying to officers assigned to quartermaster duty, were removed by Marine Corps Order No. 132.

55 The first maneuvers were conducted under the command of Brigadier General Holland M. Smith, USMC, who later as a Lieutenant General was placed in command of the Fleet Marine Forces in the Pacific.

56 CMC ltr 2385/70-2270, AO/283 of 15 Dec 1942.

57 For an account of Marine training 8 Sep 39 to 7 Dec 41, see K.W. Condit and G. Diamond, "Marine Corps Training in the Short-of-War Period," ms in HistBr HQMC.

58 K.W. Condit, "Recruit Training in World War II," ms in HistBr HQMC.

59 Jones, F.R. "A Training Center Chronicle," FMF SDA Special O 16-43, 23 Jan 43, 2385/70-6410. Ltr CMC to CG FMF SDA, 16 Jan 43, 1975-60. Admin Hist Marine T&R Com'd, SDA.

60 Ltrs CMC to CG Rear Echelon 1stMarDiv and CG PhibCorps PacFlt, 22 May 42,2385/60.

61 John H. Gleason and Martin J. Maloney, "School for Combat," Marine Corps Gazette, Oct. 1943.

62 Ltr CMC to CGs FMF SDA and Lejeune, 4 Jul 44, 1975-60-20-10.

63 Ltr LtGen K.E. ROckey to CMC, 6 Nov 55, HistBr HQMC.

64 Condit and Diamond, op.cit., Div of Reserve Op Diary 7 Dec 41-31 Dec 44, 12. Ltr CMC to CMCS [Commander Marine Corps Schools] 16 Jan 42, 1520-30-120.

65 Memo Dir P&P to CMC No. 10196, 8 Jan 42. Ltrs CMC to CMCS, 16 Jan 42, and 23 March 42. All 1520-30-120.

66 "A History of the 2nd Division, 7 Dec 41-1 Mar 43," HistBr, unit file, Ltr Co 9th Mars to CMC 11 Sep 42, 1520-30-120. Extract Personal Ltr BrigGen A.F. Howard to BrigGen K.E. ROckey, no date, 1520-30-120.

67 Memo Dir P&P to CMC No. 11093, 28 Oct 42, 1520-30-120.

68 Memos, CMCS to Dir Div P&P 26 Oct 42; Col E.W. Skinner to Col G.T. Cummings.

69 Frederick R. Jones, "A Training Center Chronicle," 58-59, ms in HistBr HQMC. Dir Div P&P Memo 12462 to CMC, 31 Oct 44, 1520-30-120.

70 Memo Dir Div P&P to CMC, No. 12268, 27 May 44, 1520-30-120.

71 Ltr Dir Div Avn to CMC, 14 May 42. MCS Special Order 132-42, 5 Sep 42. Ltr CMC to CMCS, 3 Sep 42. Ltr COTC Quantico to CMC, 21 Sep 42. Ltr CMC to CG TC, New River, 15 Oct 42, Ltr CMC to CG Lejeune, 21 Dec 42. All 1520-30-120.

72 Ltr CMC to CMCS, 2 Jun 42. Ltr CMCS to CMC, 9 Jun 42. Ltr CMC to CMCS, 1 Jul 42. Ltr CG HqDef for Samoan Area to CMC, 14 Oct 42. All 1520-30-120. M-3 Sect, Div P&P. OpDiary, 7 Dec 41-31 Dec 43, HistBr HQMC.

73 See LtCol C.R. Sanderson, USMC, "The Quartermaster Department; Its Mission and History," The Marine Corps Gazette, March 1930, and articles in other issues on that department.

74 MarCorps Admin Hist, 37-et.seq. QM Dept. on Diary, 7 Dec 41-31 Dec 44.

75 CMC Rpt, 1946.

76 Encl A (Gen'l Bd No. 425) to Ltr, CNO to CMC and Chiefs of all Bureaus, 15 Jul 40, War Plans Sect Files, Folder "Ready, Are We?"

77 Ordnance Div, QM Dept., HQMC, Op Diary, 7 Dec 41-31 Dec 44.

78 Purchase Div, QM Dept, HQMC, Op Diary 7 Dec 41-31 Dec 44.

79 Ltrs Col R.B. DeWitt and Mr. C.L.Nelson to CMC, 10, 17 Oct 55, HistBr HQMC. Ord Div, QM Dept Op Diary, 7 Dec 41-31 Dec 44, HistBr HQMC.

80 "U.S. Naval Administration in World War II--Bureau of Ships" and the classified history on amphibious warfare, on file in the Naval History Division of the Navy Department, contain some information on landing craft development. [See also "Development of Landing Craft," (Section I, Chapter 3, of Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal, vol. I of History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War I.)--HyperWar]

81 Op Diary, Engineer Div., QM Dept, HQMC, 7 Dec 41 to 31 Dec 44.

82 CMC Rpt, 1946.

83 DofS San Francisco, "War History."

84 Marine Corps Base Depot, Norfolk, Va., "Administrative History," ms in HistBr HQMC. DeWitt interview.

85 Warehousing and Stock Control Div, QM Dept., HQMC, Op Diary 7 Dec 41-31 Dec 44. Ord Div QM Dept Op Diary, 7 Dec 41-31 Dec 44.

86 The above statistics are taken from the Secretary of the Navy's Annual Report for 1945.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation