Thursday, January 21, 2010

1914 - Marines landed in Haiti
The 2d Marines was originally activated on 19 June 1913 as the 1st Advance Base Regiment at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles G. Long. The unit became part of the Advance Base Brigade in December 1913 and was redesignated the 1st Regiment, Advance Base Brigade, on 18 February 1914.

The regiment had participated in a number of training maneuvers in Puerto Rico, Florida, and Louisiana when political conditions began to deteriorate in Mexico. Marine Corps forces were ordered to land at Veracruz after President Woodrow Wilson received word that a German merchant ship was going there with a cargo of arms.

On 22 April 1914, the 1st Regiment landed at Veracruz and joined other forces in clearing the city. Two of the regiment’s officers, Major Smedley D. Butler and Lieutenant Colonel Wendell C. Neville, who would later become 14th Commandant of the Marine Corps, received Medals of Honor for distinguished conduct in the battle. The regiment remained there as part of an occupation force for the next seven months, but with the advent of a new and stable government, left Veracruz on 23 November for Philadelphia.

On 3 December 1914, the Advance Base Brigade was reorganized. The 1st Regiment, the fixed defense regiment, was assigned a fire control unit and eight companies, which included four 5-inch gun companies, a searchlight company, a mine company, an engineer company, and an antiaircraft company. The increase of firepower inherent in this reorganization strengthened the regiments capabilities for the further developments of the Marine Advance Base Force.

By the summer of 1915, internal disorder and revolution in the Republic of Haiti had become critical, jeopardizing American lives and property. On 15 August, the 1st Regiment landed at Cap Haitien, to begin a long period of occupation and “bush” warfare.

The regiment carried out extensive patrolling into the interior of the country, in search of Caco bandits. Gunnery Sergeant Daniel J. Daly received his second Medal of Honor for his outstanding contribution to the success of these operations.

The Marines had many encounters with the Haitian rebels. These included the attack and capture of Fort Riviere on 17 November 1915, where Major Butler received his second Medal of Honor. Marines assaulted the old French bastion, located on the summit of Montagne Noir, and overwhelmed the enemy in the fort during a vicious hand-to-hand fray.

After the capture of Fort Riviere and other forts, Haiti became relatively stable. Even as the regiment continued to garrison a number of Haitian towns, some of its rifle companies were sent to the neighboring Dominican Republic. During the early months of 1916, internal disorders there had threatened American lives and property. After order had been restored, the regiment was redesignated as the 2d Regiment, 1st Brigade, on 1 July 1916. Its primary activity then shifted to training of the newly formed Haitian Constabulary; as well as its own Marines.

With the decrease in bandit activity, the 2d Regiment spent the World War I years in routine barracks duty in the tropics. By March 1919, however, rebellions had erupted again in Haiti. The 2d Regiment took to the field, as the native gendarmerie failed to contain the increasing disorder. During May, the regiment mounted a concerted drive to clear the country of bandits. Within a few months, it had mopped up most rebel strongholds.

The next decade in Haiti was relatively peaceful. The 2d Regiment continued to perform duties that included training and supervising the native constabulary, patrolling and mapping, and quelling political disturbances.
On 1 January 1933, as part of a Marine Corps-wide redesignation of units, the 2d Regiment was redesignated as the 2d Marines and assigned to the 1st Brigade. Slightly more than a year later, the 1st Brigade left Haiti, and the 2d Marines was disestablished on 15 August 1934.