1 January – A four-percent pay increase for all military personnel, authorized by the Defense Authorization Act of 1984, went into effect. Those serving in the grade of Private (E-1) with less than four months service, were excluded from the pay raise.
1 January – The strength of the armed forces was 2,123,915, of which 193,858 were Marines.
8 January – A Marine was killed in Beirut, Lebanon, when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a helicopter unloading troops near the temporary American Embassy on Beirut’s northwest waterfront. The fatality was the first in the U.S. contingent of the multinational peacekeeping force in Lebanon, since 4 December 1983, when eight Marines were killed in a mortar attack.
11 January – General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, saluted the New York Post for selecting the U.S. Marine as its first “Man of the Year.” The general expressed his appreciation for the positive portrayal which the New York Post has given the Marines. On the front page of the 23 December 1983 edition the New York Post described their “Man of the Year” as brown, black, yellow, red, and white, dressed in khaki touched with camouflage. The Post said the Marine charged forward in a year stained with his blood by bombs and bullets to raise the American flag.
12 January – The first McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II was welcomed to the Fleet Marine Force in ceremonies by the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina. The Marine Corps’ second generation vertical or short takeoff and landing attack aircraft, the AV-8B represents an evolutionary, low-risk improvement over its predecessor, the AV-8A. Several technological advancements increase the AV-8B’s performance and readiness potential.
12 January – Aircrews of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 162 were presented the Combat Aircrew Insignia earned by flying combat missions in Beirut, Lebanon, while under hostile enemy fire. This marked the first time since the Vietnam War that this insignia was awarded. While in Lebanon, as the aviation element of the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit, the squadron accumulated almost 7,500 accident-free flight hours, a naval aviation record for a deployed squadron.
13 January – A two-hour movie entitled “Hard Knox” premiered on NBC-TV network. The movie starred Robert Conrad in the role of Marine Colonel Joseph Knox, who retires from the Marine Corps to take charge of a struggling military school he attended in his youth. Actor Robert Conrad previously portrayed Marine World War II ace, Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, in “Baa Baa Black Sheep” a few years ago.
15 January – For the first time since 18 December 1983, U.S. warships fired into the mountains above Beirut, Lebanon, to quell a heavy rock and mortar attack on Marine positions around the Beirut International Airport. The naval gunfire was provided by the battleship, USS New Jersey and the destroyer, USS Tattnall. Marines also responded with small arms fire, mortar rounds, and tank shells. There were no U.S. casualties.
16 January – Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger announced that the Marine Corps would list Marines killed in Beirut, Lebanon, as battle casualties rather than non-combat deaths. Mr. Weinberger said that the Marines were casualties of a battle while not necessarily active participants in the conflict. For this reason, the Marine Corps redesignated all casualties suffered as a result of terrorist or other acts directed against them in Lebanon as battle casualties.
18 January – Marine Corps Bulletin 1742 of 18 January 1984 indicated that a lack of knowledge about the voting process was the most common reason for voter non-participation. In an effort to correct the situation, commanding officers were given the responsibility of establishing a command voter assistance program designed to encourage all eligible Marines to vote in the 1984 elections by providing information on absentee voting.
20 January – An enlisted club at Marine Corps Air Station (Helicopter) New River, North Carolina, was dedicated in honor of Corporal George N. Holmes, Jr., USMC (Deceased). Corporal Holmes was killed during the Iranian hostage rescue attempt in April 1980. The dedication date was selected in honor of the third anniversary of the release of the Iranian hostages.
30 January – One U.S. Marine was killed and three others were wounded when Marine Corps positions came under attack from suspected Muslim gunners in Beirut’s southern suburbs. Marines responded with tank guns, mortars, machine guns, and small arms fire. The attack coincided with intense U.S., French, and Saudi Arabian diplomatic efforts concentrated in Damascus to break the deadlock in negotiations on a security plan in Lebanon.
___ February – Deliveries of the General Motors commercial utility cargo vehicles (CUCVs) began. The new 1-1/4 ton vehicle had a 6.2 liter diesel engine that was derived from the four-wheel drive Chevrolet and GMC pickups and utility vehicles sold commercially as “Blazers” and “Jimmys.” CUCVs came in several configurations: cargo, shelter carrier, utility, and ambulance models. The CUCV replaced the M880s and represented the first major military vehicle production undertaken by General Motors since World War II.
___ February – The first of the new Marine Corps tactical fleet arrived at the 1st Marine Brigade, Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The M-923 cargo trucks were delivered to the 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, Marine Aircraft Group 24, and supporting units. The trucks replaced the M-35 2.5-ton and the M-54A2C.
1 February – Marine Detachment, USS Constellation (CV-64) was activated at the U.S. Naval Station, San Diego, California.
3 February – This day marked the lift-off of the space shuttle Challenger. It was commanded by Vance D. Brand, a Marine Corps pilot from 1953 to 1957. This was his third space-flight; Commander Brand also commanded the fifth shuttle flight in November 1982.
6 February – ALMAR 029/84 authorized the new woodland camouflage field jacket to be issued as organizational clothing. Active duty Fleet Marine Force units were first to receive the new field jacket, followed by reserve forces and non-Fleet Marine units. A replacement for the old olive green field jackets, most Marines would be outfitted with the camouflage field jacket by the end of 1986.
7 February – The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley, delivered the annual Marine Corps Posture Statement before the Senate Armed Forces Committee. In his statement, General Kelley recognized Congress’ steadfast support for the Marines and stressed that the Marine Corps “continues to strive to be deserving of America’s trust and confidence.”
7 February – President Ronald Reagan announced his decision to withdraw Marines from Beirut to ships off Lebanon’s coast in a phased re-deployment. The President also authorized the U.S. Fleet off Beirut to use naval gun fire and air support against any units shooting into Greater Beirut from Syrian-controlled Lebanese territory, as well as against any forces directly attacking multinational force personnel or facilities.
7-9 February – The USS Peleliu (LHA-5) visited its island namesake to participate in a ceremony honoring the U.S. Marines who fought there during World War II. Members of the ship’s company and the embarked 31st Marine Amphibious Unit helped dedicate a memorial to the 1st Marine Division, which suffered heavy casualties on Peleliu almost 40 years ago while taking the island from Japanese military forces.
8 February – Marine Major Alfred L. Butler of Jacksonville, Florida, was found dead of a single gunshot wound to the chest in his quarters in Beirut, Lebanon. Major Butler, the U.S. multinational force liaison officer to the Lebanese Army, accidentally shot himself while cleaning his .45-caliber pistol.
8-9 February – The USS New Jersey bombarded artillery positions of Syria and its Lebanese allies in Lebanon’s eastern and central mountains in the heaviest and most sustained American military action since the Marines arrived in Lebanon in 1982.
10 February – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of two Bachelor Enlisted Quarters at Camp Schwab, Okinawa, in honor of two Marine Medal of Honor recipients, Sergeant Clyde Thomason, USMC (Deceased) and Private First Class Douglas E. Dickey, USMC (Deceased). Sergeant Thomason received the Medal of Honor posthumously for heroic actions in World War II and PFC Dickey was also awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for actions in the Vietnam War.
10 February – The United States began a voluntary evacuation of its private citizens from Beirut, Lebanon. In the operation, forced by what officials called the deteriorating and unsettled situation in Lebanon, American and British helicopters airlifted hundreds of Americans and other foreign nationals to military ships waiting offshore. From there, they were ferried to Cyprus where they remained or traveled onward to other locations.
15 February – Marine Corps Bulletin 1650 authorized awards for service in Lebanon. Navy Unit Commendations were approved for the following units: 32d Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU), for service 16 August to 10 September 1982; 24th MAU for service 29 October 1982 to 15 February 1983; and 22d MAU for service 14 February to 30 May 1983. The Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal was awarded to: 32d MAU (20 August – 31 October 1982), 24th MAU (1 November 1982 – 14 February 1983), 22d MAU (15 February – June 1983), 24th MAU (5 June – 19 November 1983), and 31st MAU (11 September – 10 October 1983). The bulletin also authorized the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Grenada to units of the 22d MAU.
21 February – Marines of the 22d Marine Amphibious Unit officially began their withdrawal from Lebanon to U.S. Sixth Fleet ships offshore.
23 February – The Department of Defense established a new military command in Lebanon in an effort to give authorities tighter control over operations there. The new chain of command called Joint Task Force Lebanon, located in Beirut, cut out layers of military bureaucracy. It ran from Secretary of Defense, Caspar W. Weinberger, through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John W. Vessey, Jr., to the U.S. European command headquarters in Stuttgart, West Germany, and then directly to the task force under the command of Brigadier General James R. Joy, USMC.
23 February – President Ronald Reagan signed an executive order authorizing the award of a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in terrorist attacks or while on peacekeeping duty in the past decade. The document amended regulations to allow awarding of the medal to all members of the armed forces and civilians serving with them, who were victims of terrorism or wounded or killed while participating in peacekeeping forces. The order was retroactive to 29 March 1973, the day after U.S. forces left Vietnam.
26 February – The bulk of the U.S. Marine contingent of the multinational peacekeeping force completed its withdrawal from Beirut, Lebanon. The removal of the American combat troops from Lebanon to the safety of ships of the U.S. Sixth Fleet greatly reduced the American military presence in Beirut. The only U.S. troops which remained in Lebanon were a 100-man Marine guard at the American Embassy and an 80-man Army training team. The Marines’ positions at the Beirut International Airport were taken over by the Lebanese Army’s predominantly Shiite Muslim 6th Brigade.
28 February - 22 March – More than 8,000 Marines and sailors of the 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade participated in Exercise “Team Work ‘84,” a combined NATO military exercise in the north Atlantic. Netherlands, British, and U.S. Marines conducted a combined amphibious assault in support of Norwegian forces operating in northern Norway. The three-week exercise was designed to test response times of ship convoys and use of pre-positioned equipment in adverse weather conditions in the defense of Norway. “Team Work ‘84” was the largest amphibious exercise ever conducted in NATO’s history and the first large scale one conducted under arctic conditions.
10 March – The USS Samuel Nicholas (FFG-47), an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate was commissioned. General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, was guest speaker for the commissioning ceremonies and called the USS Nicholas, “a manifestation of our world-wide commitment to security.” The USS Nicholas is the second ship built at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, to bear the name of the Marine Corps’ first Commandant. The former ship served in the Pacific during World War II and also earned honors for service during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. She was sold in 1970.
11-31 March – “Team Spirit ‘84,” a joint/combined field training exercise focusing on rapid deployment and operations of forces used in defense of the Republic of Korea, was conducted. More than 27,000 of their Korean counterparts participated in the 9th annual exercise, marking the largest number of participants in the “Team Spirit” series.
12 March – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the Enlisted Club at Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, Georgia, in honor of Lance Corporal Glenn R. McCuaig, USMC (Deceased). The Commandant also approved the naming of the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Club at the base after Staff Sergeant Earl Daniels, Jr., USMC (Deceased). Both Marines were killed in action in the Vietnam War and were originally from Georgia.
13 March – The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley, visited Beirut, Lebanon, for the first time since the Marine contingent was withdrawn. General Kelley met with Marine guards and American officials at the U.S. Embassy and with General Ibrahim Tannous, the Commander of the Lebanese Army.
14 March – An American Marine was wounded in Beirut, Lebanon, as negotiations between Lebanon’s Muslim and Christian leaders took place for a cease-fire. The off-duty Marine was shot in the back, apparently by a sniper.
14 March – Sergeant Major Sir Jacob Charles Vouza, 84, died in his native Solomon Islands. A native of Guadalcanal, Vouza worked behind enemy lines with the Islands Defense Force as a scout during the Guadalcanal Campaign in World War II. His decorations include the U.S. Silver Star and Legion of Merit for outstanding service during operations with the 2d Marine Raider Battalion. In 1978, Vouza was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
18 March – An Arbor Day ceremony took place at Jacksonville, North Carolina, that dedicated a three and one half mile row of trees as a living memorial to U.S. servicemen killed in Lebanon and Grenada. The Beirut Memorial includes 265 Bradford pear trees that were planted along Lejeune Boulevard which leads to the main gate at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune.
24 March – 18 U.S. Marines and 11 Republic of Korea Marines were killed when a Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter crashed near Pohang, Korea, while participating in Exercise “Team Spirit ‘84.” The helicopter was one of six which took off from the Pohang Airfield for a night insertion exercise. As weather conditions deteriorated, the mission was terminated and all aircraft were returning to Pohang when the helicopter crashed into a mountainside.
27 March – Major General William L. McKittrick, USMC (Retired), died in Pensacola, Florida at the age of 87. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1918 and served in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. General McKittrick was awarded a Legion of Merit for directing air strikes against the enemy at Rabaul during World War II. As air defense commander at Saipan, he was awarded his second Legion of Merit. The general retired from the Marine Corps in 1951.
30 March – Lieutenant Colonel William F. Santelmann, USMC (Retired), died at the age of 82 in Tempe, Arizona. LtCol Santelmann served for 15 years as leader of the Marine Corps Band before retiring in 1955. In his Marine Corps career that spanned 37 years, all with the band, LtCol Santelmann became the third director to receive an officer’s commission and the first to supervise 14 Marine Corps field bands. His father, Captain William H. Santelman, who directed the Marine Corps Band from 1898 to 1927, succeeded the legendary March King John Philip Sousa and was the first band leader to hold a commission.
2 April – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the Main Gate Oak Tree at Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, Georgia, in honor of Colonel A.E. Dubber, Jr., USMC (Deceased), who was instrumental in the selection of Albany, Georgia, as the site for the Marine Corps Logistics Base.
2 April – The naming of the Base Commissary at Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, California, was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The commissary will be named in honor of Lance Corporal Bruce D. Patterson, USMC (Deceased), a native of the Barstow area, who was killed in action in Vietnam.
4 April – The 2d Light Armored Vehicle Battalion was activated at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Major General Alfred M. Gray, Jr., Commanding General, 2d Marine Division, was guest speaker at the ceremony which marked the establishment of the armed forces’ only current light armored vehicle battalion. The eight-wheeled vehicle, that weighs about 13 tons and can be configured in eight different variants, is expected to provide ground commanders a decided edge in the area of maneuver warfare.
7 April – General Gerald Carthrae Thomas, USMC (Retired), 89, died at his home in Washington, D.C. General Thomas enlisted in the Marine Corps during World War I and won a battlefield commission in France. In World War II, he served as Chief of Staff of the 1st Marine Division during the Guadalcanal campaign and during the Korean conflict he commanded the 1st Marine Division. General Thomas was Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps from 1952 to 1954. After more than 38 years of distinguished service, the highly decorated general retired from the Marine Corps in 1955.
15 April – Marine Detachment, USS Iowa (BB-61) was activated at the U.S. Naval Station, Norfolk, Virginia. The detachment was formed for the ship’s recommissioning for active duty in the U.S. Navy on 28 April 1984. The USS Iowa earned 11 battle stars during World War II and Korea before it was decommissioned in February 1958. The second World War II battleship to come out of mothballs (the first was the USS New Jersey), the USS Iowa is equipped with 32 Tomahawk cruise missile and 16 Harpoon anti-ship missiles to add to her nine 16-inch guns. The recommissioning of the Iowa helps diminish the Corps’ continuing critical shortage in naval gunfire support.
18 April – The causeway that links the Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot to the Beaufort community was dedicated in memory of the late General Edwin A. Pollock, USMC, in a formal ceremony held on Horse Island. The causeway symbolizes the link General Pollock forged between the military and civilian communities. A civilian committee raised the funds to construct the monument, which was unveiled by the general’s son, Major Edwin A. Pollock, Jr., USMC (Retired) and his daughter, Mrs. Jane Apple.
20 April - 6 May – Over 30,000 U.S. military personnel, including 1,800 Marines of the 26th Marine Amphibious Unit, participated in “Ocean Venture ‘84.” The exercise was conducted in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Straits of Florida, and the Atlantic Ocean. The largest U.S. exercise in the Caribbean for 1984, “Ocean Venture ‘84” was designed to demonstrate and improve the capability of the United States to protect and maintain the free use of the sea lines of communication in the Caribbean Basin and Gulf of Mexico. The maneuvers also enhanced the perception of the capability of the U.S. to project military power when necessary and to protect national interests by supporting friendly neighbors in the Caribbean area.
1 May – 1,800 Marines of the 22d Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU) returned home after a 195-day overseas tour. The 22d MAU’s mission involved more combat than any U.S. unit has seen since the Vietnam War. Originally deployed to take up peacekeeping duties in Lebanon, the Marines were diverted to Grenada in October 1983. After the Caribbean island was secured, the unit continued to Beirut, Lebanon, where 241 servicemen had died the previous month in a terrorist truck-bombing of their headquarters. The 22d MAU remained in Lebanon until February 1984 when President Reagan ordered the servicemen to redeploy to ships offshore. The 22d MAU continued routine patrolling of the Mediterranean until its scheduled deployment ended.
2 May – The rollout of the first air-cushioned landing craft (LCAC) took place at Bell Aerospace Textron’s Bell Halter Shipyard in New Orleans. The addition of LCACs is expected to greatly enhance the Marine Corps’ overall amphibious assault capabilities. LCACs, with their 200-mile range, will provide an over-the-horizon assault capability to reduce the fleet’s exposure to shore-based threat. Unconstrained by the presence of reefs and steep beach gradients, LCACs would be able to carry five light armored vehicles and move at a 50-knot speed. General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, called the LCAC the most important development in amphibious warfare since the helicopter. General Kelley took delivery of the first LCAC-1 during the ceremony.
3 May – In a ceremony held at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, attached an Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamer to the flag of the 22d Marine Amphibious Unit for actions in Lebanon and Grenada. The streamer was added to the flag’s Navy Unit Commendation Streamer also awarded for actions in Lebanon and Grenada.
8-15 May – The 1984 Annual Rifle Squad Combat Competition was conducted at Quantico,Virginia. The competition consisted of six events which tested marksmanship and weapons employment, preparation for and conduct of an ambush patrol, squad attack, squad combat in urban terrain, squad in the defense, and land navigation abilities. The 1984 first place squad was 3d Squad, 1st Platoon, Company I, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines led by Sergeant Dennis D. Benson.
10 May – Lieutenant General William H. Fitch, the Marine Corps Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation, commended the Marines of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) in a ceremony held at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, for 25 years of accident-free flying which involved more than 268,000 flight hours. LtGen Fitch said the achievement of VMGR-252 was one of the most momentous occasions in Marine Corps aviation.
10 May – The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley, presented the Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr. Award in Marine Corps History to Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Mattingly in ceremonies held at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. For the second year in a row, the Marine Corps Historical Foundation chose an article by Lieutenant Colonel Mattingly as the winner of the award. His article, “The Worst Slap in the Face,” appeared in the March 1983 issue of the Marine Corps Gazette.
11 May – The Association of Naval Aviation presented its annual outstanding achievement award in the Fleet support and special mission category to Marine Observation Squadron 1 (VMO-1) at its symposium held in San Diego, California. VMO-1 received the award for accumulating more than 42,000 accident-free flight hours while flying the OV-10 “Bronco” and for its assistance to the U.S. Customs Service.
11 May – U.S. Marines who protect American diplomatic posts overseas were honored by a ceremony at the State Department, which inaugurated a series of annual distinguished service awards. Marine detachments in Accra, Brussels, Casablanca, Tegucigalpa, and Tokyo were hailed as “most outstanding.” Two former Marines, Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and Assistant Secretary for Administration, Robert E. Lamb, were featured speakers.
12 May – The guided missile frigate Elrod (FFG-55) was launched at the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine. The ship was named in honor of Major Henry T. Elrod, USMC, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the defense of Wake Island in December 1941. An Oliver Hazard Perry-class ship, the Elrod’s single-arm missile launcher is capable of firing standard surface-to-air missiles, Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles, and Tomahawk cruise missiles in serving amphibious task groups.
12-13 May – The U.S. Marine Band performed with famed jazz musician, Pete Fountain, at the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition in New Orleans. The “President’s Own” also performed at the United States pavilion opening and gave two concerts at the exposition’s amphitheater.
14-18 May – 240 Marines participated in the Eastern Division Marksmanship Matches at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The 1984 rifle competition included the use of the new M-16A2 for the first time. CWO-2 Theodore Wilson of Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, was the top finisher in the individual rifle competition. The Recruit Depot at Parris Island won the Elliot Trophy for large team rifle shooting and the Edson Trophy for team pistol marksmanship.
18 May – Colonel Jerome G. Cooper, USMCR, was advanced to the rank of brigadier general. Selected for promotion in February 1984, Brigadier General Cooper became the first black general of the Marine Corps Reserve. After Major General Frank E. Petersen, USMC, Brigadier General Cooper is the second black officer to attain the rank of general in the Marine Corps.
18 May – The new Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) made its debut at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. The first six LAV-25s were delivered to Company A, 1st Light Armored Vehicle Battalion. The LAV was previously tested and evaluated at the Air Ground Combat Center.
19 May – In his Armed Forces Day message, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley, said that this day is a uniquely American occasion which underscores the nation’s citizen-soldier heritage. He further stated that Armed Forces Day is a special time during which the Corps demonstrates and deepens the enduring trust it shares with fellow Americans and that military and civilian persons share in the responsibility to explore, strengthen, and participate in the constitutional task of providing for the common defense.
23 May – Former Marine James H. Webb, Jr., a much decorated Vietnam veteran and well-known novelist, was sworn in as the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs by Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger. James Webb, whose Fields of Fire was one of the definitive Vietnam novels, previously served as minority counsel to the House Veterans Affairs Committee from 1977 to 1981.
28 May – This Memorial Day President Ronald Reagan led the nation in a state funeral for the only American known to have perished in the Vietnam War who was still unidentified. Eleven years after the war ended, the unknown Vietnam casualty was interred in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The serviceman, whom President Reagan awarded the Medal of Honor, now lies in a crypt near unknown servicemen from the two World Wars and the Korean War.
29 May – In an atmosphere of growing terrorist threats against Americans in Beirut, Lebanon, U.S. Marines patrolled the campus of the American University of Beirut and the U.S. Embassy. The precautions followed an embassy warning indicating that 100 members of a secret terrorist group were preparing a series of kidnappings of Americans.
6 June – This day marked the 40th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Marine detachments on board U.S. Navy Ships played a vital role in the invasion. Stationed in the superstructures of the invasion fleet, Marine sharpshooters exploded floating mines in the ship’s path. Other Marines handled the secondary batteries of five-inch guns during the landings. At times, Marines also manned the smaller caliber anti-aircraft guns on board ships.
7 June – Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 (HMM-462) logged 30,000 hours of accident-free flying. Based at Marine Corps Air Station (Helicopter), Tustin, California, the “Heavy Haulers” flew CH-53 helicopters.
16-30 June – Almost 3,000 Marine Corps and Navy reservists from 44 cities across the nation participated in a combined arms exercise CAX/8/84 at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. The exercise tested all elements of the Marine Corps’ air-ground team.
29 June – The dock landing ship Germantown (LSD-42) was launched at the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company, Seattle, Washington. General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, was the principal speaker and Mrs. Paul X. Kelley was the ship’s sponsor. LSD-42 is the second ship launched in the projected eight-ship LSD-41 class program.
30 June – The strength of the armed forces was 2,142,075 of which 195,379 were Marines. A Department of Defense report indicated that 95% of Marine recruits held a high school diploma compared with 86% in 1983.
2 July - 10 August – Nearly 10,000 Thai and U.S. troops participated in exercise “Cobra Gold-84,” a combined military exercise with Thailand’s armed forces in and around the Gulf of Thailand. The exercise involved training in mine-laying and sweeping, special warfare operations, simulated air and sea battles, and amphibious assault shore operations by Thai and U.S. Marines. “Cobra Gold 84” was the largest yet in this annual series of “Cobra Gold” exercises which began in 1981.
14 July – The USS Hauge, the first of 13 maritime pre-positioning ships (MPS) named after Marine Medal of Honor recipients, was launched at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation’s shipyard at Sparrows Point, Maryland. The ship was named in honor of Corporal Louis J. Hauge, Jr., USMC, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism on Okinawa during World War II. The launching was attended by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley. The MPS concept provides for three Marine amphibious brigades readied for airlift to potential crisis areas where they will unite with previously positioned ships carrying their equipment and supplies. The MPS program gives the Marine Corps a new dimension in mobility, sustainability, and global response.
20 July – President Ronald Reagan designated this date as National POW/MIA Recognition Day in honor of all former American prisoners of war, those still missing, and their families who endured uncommon sacrifices on behalf of this country. The President stated that Americans owe a special debt to our fellow citizens who gave up their freedom in the service of our country and to the families who have undergone a great travail. From World War I to the Vietnam War, more than 142,000 U.S. servicemen were taken prisoner and more than 2,400 U.S. servicemen are still listed as missing in action.
20 July – Dedication ceremonies for a 30-acre memorial grove to honor all U.S. prisoners of war and military personnel missing in action took place at Camp Pendleton, California. The first of 1,000 trees was planted in the grove which will be part of a multi-million dollar complex to include a Marine Corps museum and a monument. The dedication ceremony was conducted by Major General Robert E. Haebel, base commander and included remarks by retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Harold S. Dennis, a three-year POW in the Philippines during World War II.
20 July – Headquarters, II Marine Amphibious Force was activated at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The unit will provide command, control, and coordination capability for effective planning and execution of Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) operations. The functions of the unit include planning and coordinating operational MAGTF training, conducting contingency plans, and coordinating and supervising the activations and deactivations of MAGTF units to conduct operations and exercises.
20 July - 1 August – The Marine Corps and Air Force joined forces for Exercise “Quick Strike.” Approximately 1,900 Marines and sailors of the 10th Marine Amphibious Brigade (MAB) participated in the Air Force operational readiness inspection. The 10th MAB was airlifted from Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina to Naval Air Station, Fallon, Nevada, and proceeded from there on a 150-mile motor march to the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, California, for training. “Quick Strike” was designed to test the Air Force’s ability to move a large contingent of troops on short notice and it provided the Marine Corps the opportunity to exercise its strategic mobility using Air Force assets. The exercise marked the largest Marine Corps participation in an Air Force readiness inspection.
25 July – The Los Angeles-bound Olympic torch passed through Camp Pendleton, California, on its way to the 1984 Summer Olympics to be held in August. The first Marine torch bearer of the Olympic Torch Relay at Camp Pendleton was Chief Warrant Officer Ralph Ramos of Schools Battalion. The second leg of the relay was traveled by 1st Marine Division’s Sergeant Major Domenick Irrera who turned the torch over to the first of 28 civilian runners. Staff Sergeant Charles James of Infantry Training School, carried the torch on its last leg before exiting the camp’s gates. The Marine torch bearers were accompanied on their runs by fellow Marines running in formation and measuring their pace in a cadence as thousands of spectators cheered.
25 July – The presentation of the annual Navy League awards took place at the annual convention at San Diego. Marines selected for the 1984 awards: Major Christian B. Cowdrey and Captain Michael E. Dick received the General John A. Lejeune Award for inspirational leadership; First Sergeant Richard E. Heroux received the General Gerald C. Thomas award for inspirational leadership by an enlisted Marine; and First Lieutenant Patrick E. Fuller received the General Holland M. Smith Award for operational competence.
26 July – In ceremonies held at the Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, Georgia, the staff noncommissioned officers club was officially dedicated as Daniels Hall. The facility was named in honor of Staff Sergeant Earl Daniels, Jr. USMC (Deceased). Staff Sergeant Daniels was a highly decorated Marine from southwest Georgia who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1967.
31 July – The last Marine Corps combat troops from the multinational peacekeeping force in Beirut, Lebanon, pulled out to U.S. Navy ships offshore, marking the end of the 22-month U.S. Military presence in Lebanon. The departure of the last 90 Marines was part of the preparations to move most of the embassy’s functions from its barricaded seafront compound in West Beirut to the relative safety of East Beirut. About a dozen Marines remained in Beirut to guard the new embassy.
___August – Olympic gold medal winner and former professional boxing champion, Sugar Ray Leonard, was selected as the 1984 Honorary National Chairman of the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program. Since 1947, the Marine Corps Reserve has sponsored the campaign to collect new toys for children who might otherwise be forgotten at Christmas.
2 August – General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, visited the Marine Corps Development and Education Command at Quantico, Virginia, and test fired nearly all of the new battalion and company level weapons being integrated into the Corps’ new infantry battalion structure. Some of the weapons the Commandant test fired were the new M16A2 rifle, the M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW), the M60E3 machine gun, the MK19 Mod 3 40mm machine gun, and the shoulder-launched multipurpose weapons (SMAW).
2-12 August – Marines from Headquarters Battalion, Henderson Hall, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, and personnel from the U.S. Park Service cleaned the bronze U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, in preparation for the “Iwo Jima Memorial’s” 30th anniversary of its dedication to be observed on 10 November 1984. The cleaning process included a washing, a coating of corrosion inhibiter, and several coats of wax.
3 August – Soviet policemen and unidentified men in civilian clothes beat a U.S. Marine assigned to guard duty at the U.S. Consulate General in Leningrad, dragged him into a car and held him at a police station for two hours. The United States, both at the embassy in Moscow and in Washington, protested the action. The State Department said the beating of Sergeant Donald Campbell was the latest in a disturbing pattern of official involvement in a campaign to harass and isolate Americans in the Soviet Union. Sergeant Campbell suffered black eyes and bruises but was not hospitalized.
4-18 August – More than 7,000 reserve Marines of the 2d Marine Amphibious Brigade, representing 125 units from 32 states and the District of Columbia, participated in Exercise “Phalanx Sound II.” Infantry Marines remained at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for most of the maneuvers while air unit Marines remained at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina. The purpose of the exercise was to develop proficiency in command and control and to enhance the combat readiness of individual units and their ability to function as a whole. “Phalanx Sound II” was the largest Marine reserve exercise held since the Korean War.
4-19 August – Five Marines participated in the 1984 Olympics held at Los Angeles, California. They were: 2d Lieutenant Greg Montesi, Rowing (sculler); Sergeant Greg Gibson, Wrestling (Greco-Roman, 220lbs) who won a silver medal; Sergeant Lou Dorrance, Alternate in Wrestling (Greco-Roman, 114.5 lbs); Sergeant Ron Carlisle, Alternate in Wrestling (Greco-Roman, Heavyweight); and Corporal Julio Aragon, Alternate in Soccer. The Marine Olympians were among 29 U.S. military athletes to compete in the XXIII Olympiad.
7 August – Smedley Hall, a new barracks for enlisted Marines was dedicated at Marine Barracks, Hawaii, located at Pearl Harbor. The $2.5 million structure will house about 160 Marines, most of whom are security guards at the Navy installation. The new facility was named in honor of Marine Corporal Larry E. Smedley, USMC (Deceased), who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam.
17 August – General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, approved the naming of three streets at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Marine Medal of Honor recipients from the Vietnam War: Lance Corporal Lester W. Weber, USMC (Deceased), Private First Class Dewayne T. Williams, USMC (Deceased), and Private First Class Alfred M. Wilson, USMC (Deceased).
17 August – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of eight streets at the Family Housing Project, Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, California, in honor of Marine Medal of Honor recipients from the Korean War as follows: Corporal Jack A. Davenport, USMC (Deceased); Corporal David B. Champagne, USMC (Deceased); Private First Class Edward Gomez, USMCR (Deceased); Staff Sergeant Ambrosio Guillen, USMC (Deceased); Sergeant Frederick W. Mausert III, USMC (Deceased); Private Walter C. Monegan, Jr., USMC (Deceased); Private Jack W. Kelso, USMC (Deceased); and Corporal Joseph Vittori, USMC (Deceased).
20 August – Marine Corporal Jeffrey N. Nashton, the wounded Beirut bombing victim who last October wrote the words “Semper Fi” (always faithful) in a note to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley, at a West German hospital, received a gold medal and citation at the convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Chicago.
21 August – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the recruit training regiment rappelling tower at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, in honor of Staff Sergeant Richard Holberton, USMC (Deceased), who was killed in the truck bomb explosion of the 24th MAU Headquarters building in Beirut, Lebanon, on 23 October 1983.
21 August – General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, approved the naming of a new Department of Defense School at Camp McTureous, Okinawa, in honor of the late Mr. William C. Bechtel. Mr. Bechtel served in the Marine Corps during World War II, and later served with distinction in a variety of assignments with the Department of Defense Schools in Okinawa.
23 August – The last Marines to serve peacekeeping duty in Lebanon arrived home. The 24th Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU) left the U.S. last February to participate in a NATO exercise in Norway during March and arrived off the coast of Lebanon on 9 April to relieve Marines of the 22d MAU left Beirut on 31 July, marking the last presence of U.S. combat troops in Beirut since Marines entered almost two years earlier.
29 August – The leadership of the Marine Corps’ major operational command on the east coast changed hands at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. During a combined retirement/change of command ceremony, Lieutenant General John H. Miller, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic/II Marine Amphibious Force, relinquished command to Major General Alfred M. Gray, Jr. General Miller retired after 38 years of active Marine Corps service. Prior to assuming command, General Gray relinquished command of the 2d Marine Division to Major General Dennis J. Murphy. General Gray was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. The Commandant of the Marine Corps attended the ceremony as the senior reviewing officer for the pass in review of some 4,000 troops.
1 September – Marine Detachment, USS Nimitz (CVN-68) was activated at U.S. Naval Station Base, Norfolk, Virginia.
5-11 September – Approximately 50,000 Marines, sailors, soldiers, and airmen from several southern California bases participated in Exercise “Gallant Eagle ‘84.” The maneuvers at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, involved war games with live ammunition. The exercise was designed to simulate the rapid intervention of U.S. forces to help an allied nation rout an invader force. “Gallant Eagle ‘84” was sponsored by the U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for 19 countries in northeast Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Persian Gulf, and southwest Asia.
7 September – Major Robert K. Dobson, Jr., USMC, was awarded the 1984 Leftwich Trophy. As a captain, Major Dobson was the commanding officer of Company G, 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, 2d Marine Division. His unit deployed to Grenada for Operation Urgent Fury and later went to Beirut, Lebanon, as part of the multinational peacekeeping force. The Leftwich Trophy, an award for a captain in the Fleet Marine Force who best exemplifies the principles of leadership, was presented to Major Dobson by the Commandant during the Evening Parade at Marine Barracks, 8th and I Streets, Washington, D.C.
14 September – Groundbreaking ceremonies were conducted at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona, for the Combat Aircraft Ordnance Loading Facility. The $7.6 million project was the largest contract ever awarded in Arizona under the Small Business Association/Minority Business Program. The contract was awarded to the Maya Construction Company, which was recognized by President Ronald Reagan as one of the outstanding small businesses of the year.
17 September – Fleet Marine Force, Pacific celebrated its 40th anniversary. Officially activated on this date in 1944, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific established a legendary reputation for valor, teamwork, and readiness from World War II to Vietnam.
20 September – A van driven by a suicide terrorist, careening past concrete barricades and heavy gunfire, exploded in front of the U.S. Embassy Annex in East Beirut, Lebanon, killing 23 people and injuring dozens of others including U.S. Ambassador Reginald Bartholomew and four Marine security guards. The Islamic Holy War claimed responsibility for the explosion. The same group took responsibility for the previous embassy bombing (April 1983) and the suicide bomb attack (October 1983) on the Marine garrison in Beirut last year.
24 September – The 1st Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) Platoon was activated at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The purpose of this unit was to assist with acquiring targets for artillery and naval gunfire and in adjusting their supporting fires. The 42-man unit was equipped with 4 Mastiff-3 mini-RVPs. The Mastiff-3 has a gross weight of 255 pounds, a range of 100 kilometers, and a flight endurance of nearly seven hours. A crew of five is normally used to control a flight.
28 September – Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364 was reactivated at Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The squadron will be attached to Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Brigade. Comprised of CH-46 “Sea Knight” helicopters, the squadron’s reactivation is expected to enhance the rotational capability of the group.
1 October – In a ceremony at Marine Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California, the 4th Battalion, 11th Marines was redesignated as the 5th Battalion, 11th Marines. The redesignation was part of a comprehensive, long-range program designed to change the structure and composition of many Marine units and bring into service new weapons systems and doctrines.
2 October – Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 located at Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California, amassed 28,000 hours of accident free flying time. The milestone represented five years since an aircraft accident last occurred.
4-7 October – The 1984 Corps Aviation Association awards were presented at the association’s convention in Washington, D.C. Lieutenant Colonel Laurence R. Medlin of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 162 was named the Marine Aviator of the Year as the recipient of the Alfred A. Cunningham Award. The Lawson H.M. Sanderson award for the attack squadron of the year was earned by Marine Attack Squadron 211. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112 received the Robert M. Hanson Award for the fighter squadron of the year and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 won the helicopter squadron of the year award.
9-26 October – Approximately 6,500 Marines of the 10th Marine Amphibious Brigade participated in “Combined Arms Operation 1-85.” The majority of the maneuvers were conducted at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The operation was designed to train commanders in planning and controlling various combat, combat support, and combat service support elements of Fleet Marine Force to accomplish tactical missions. The first combined arms operation for the 2d Marine Division in fiscal year 1985, the exercise provided realistic training for ground and aviation units in a simulated combat situation.
15 October – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of a Landing Craft Air Cushion Complex (LCAC) Access Road at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Colonel Donald G. Cook, USMC (Deceased). Colonel Cook was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously on 16 May 1980 for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life while interned as a prisoner of war by the Viet Cong from 31 December 1964 until his death on 8 December 1967.
21 October - 27 November – Approximately 4,000 Marines participated in MAB CAX 1-85, a combined arms exercise involving the 7th Marine Amphibious Brigade. Marines and equipment from Camp Pendleton and the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, joined units based at Twentynine Palms to participate in the exercise. On 13-15 November the climax of the exercise took place which included a coordinated live-fire air and ground assault as part of a hypothetical desert campaign. The exercise was the first brigade-level combined arms exercise held. It demonstrated the ability of the CAX program to expand beyond the battalion and amphibious unit exercises held for the past few years.
23 October – By presidential proclamation, the U.S. flag was flown at half-staff on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels of the federal government throughout the United States and its territories and possessions, in remembrance of all victims of terrorism throughout the world. The proclamation was issued by the White House on 19 October after the President signed antiterrorism legislation that authorized $366 million to increase security at U.S. embassies abroad.
23 October – Many families of victims of terrorism, some whose sons, brothers, or fathers were among the 241 Marines killed in the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut one year ago, attended a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony, “A Time of Remembrance,” was sponsored by No Greater Love, a national, nonprofit group formed in 1971 to give support to the children of soldiers who were missing, killed, or prisoners of war in Southwest Asia. A simple ceremony of prayers and songs was conducted mostly by children for a crowd of over 500. The program was highlighted by the dedication of a tree -- a 14 foot Cedar of Lebanon -- planted in a section of the cemetery where some of the victims were buried.
23 October – Ceremonies were held at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in honor of all U.S. servicemen killed in Lebanon and Grenada during the past two years. In the morning, a memorial service was held at the outdoor amphitheater where General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, was the featured speaker to a crowd of about 2,000. A granite marker with three large bronze plaques bearing the names of 266 servicemen killed in Lebanon was dedicated. In a separate afternoon ceremony, the final six of 271 Bradford pear trees were planted to complete a 3.5 mile-long row of trees to serve as a living memorial to the servicemen who died in Lebanon and Grenada. In the evening, country singing star, Waylon Jennings, performed a benefit concert to raise funds for the Beirut Memorial Park project.
29 October – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the French Creek area parade field at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in honor of Staff Sergeant Allen H. Soifert, USMC (Deceased). Staff Sergeant Soifert served with the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit in Beirut, Lebanon, when he was killed by sniper fire on 14 October 1983. At the time of his death, Staff Sergeant Soifert was serving a second tour of duty with the Marine peacekeeping force.
1 November – The Commandant of the Marine Corps proposed that the names “Dominican Republic,” “Lebanon,” and “Grenada” be added to the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. They will join the names of other wars and conflicts in which Marines have fought. The memorial, which depicts the heroic flag raising on Iwo Jima, honors all Marines from the founding of the Corps to present day.
4 November – Brad Ingram, a 29-year-old former Marine artillery officer from Mansfield, Ohio, won the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. Mr. Ingram completed the ninth annual marathon in 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 40 seconds. Of the 12,000 entrants, Marines accounted for more than 3,000 of the total. Another 1,200 Marines provided support from start to finish lines and behind the scenes.
7 November – General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, told a group of editors and reporters of the Washington Times that the Marine Corps is engaged in an extensive effort to updated its ability to fight terrorism worldwide. He has directed the drafting of comprehensive field manuals that would give commanders a total view of the kinds of terrorist threats they might face and the kinds of actions they might take to counter such acts.
8 November – Newly adopted shoulder cords were presented to each drill instructor in the Women Recruit Training Command at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, by their commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Shelley B. Mayer, USMC. Research had recently been done for an appropriate new symbol for women drill instructors. As a result, a scarlet shoulder cord was adopted for a two-year test period. Unlike the women DIs previous symbol, epaulets, the new shoulder cord could be worn with any uniform except dress blues.
9 November – A ceremony was held in honor of the 209th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps and the 30th anniversary of the Marine Corps War Memorial. Highlighting the program were guest speakers Dr. Felix W. de Weldon, the artist who sculpted the memorial, and Joseph J. Rosenthal, the combat photographer on Iwo Jima who photographed the classic shot of the flag raising. The ceremony, held at the Marine Corps (Iwo Jima) War Memorial, also included a parade unit from Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., remarks by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley, volleys and taps, and wreath laying.
10 November – U.S. Marines throughout the world celebrated the 209th birthday of the Marine Corps. On this date in 1775, the second Continental Congress in Philadelphia founded the Marine Corps. In his birthday message, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley, said, “The name Marine knows neither defeat nor dishonor. Its knows only pride and professionalism.”
10 November – Annual wreath-lying ceremonies were conducted at the gravesites of deceased former Commandants of the Marine Corps. Since 10 November 1954, these ceremonies have been a continuing part of the Marine Corps birthday tradition. Of the 20 deceased Commandants, 13 have been interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
11 November – A bronze statue of three American servicemen was dedicated on Veteran’s Day when it became part of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. The figures of the memorial statue were sculpted to resemble a white, a black, and a Hispanic soldier and represent the young fighting men who served in Vietnam. Sculpted by Frederick Hart, the statue stands at the entrance to the Vietnam Memorial.
24 November – The USS Vandegrift (FFG-48) was commissioned in Seattle, Washington. Built by Todd Pacific Shipyards Corporation, the USS Vandegrift was named in honor of the late General Alexander A. Vandegrift, the eighteenth Commandant of the Marine Corps. An Oliver Hazard Perry-class ship, the Vandegrift’s single arm launcher is capable of firing standard and Harpoon missiles.
25 November – Assailants fired four 60mm mortar rounds at the U.S. Embassy compound in Lisbon, Portugal, damaging three parked cars inside the walled complex but causing no injuries. A leftist guerrilla group claimed responsibility for the predawn attack. Only U.S. Marines and Portuguese guards were on duty when the mortar rounds hit the compound, which was opened in July 1983.
30 November – Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466 (HMH-466) was activated during ceremonies at Marine Corps Air Station (Helicopter), Tustin, California. HMH-466 joined HMH-464 and HMH-465 as a CH-53E “Super Stallion” squadron. The CH-53E heavy-lift helicopter adds significant depth to Marine tactical mobility.
4 December – A detachment of 179 Marines and five Navy corpsmen returned to Camp Lejeune after completing six months of training in 18 South American and African nations. The unit took part in the annual United American States/West African Training Cruise “UNITAS/WATC ‘84.” The mission was to promote mutual hemispheric defense through cross-training and to foster mutual respect and friendship with Latin American and African nations. Marines were selected for the cruise from various units of the 2d Marine Division and the 2d Force Service Support Group at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
6-16 December – More than 10,000 Marines and sailors, including the 11th Marine Amphibious Unit, participated in Exercise “Kernel Usher 85-1,” an amphibious exercise involving 20 ships and various types of rotary and fixed wing aircraft. The exercise marked the first time in recent history that the embarked troops would be the same ones scheduled to deploy with Phibron 7 to the Western Pacific in 1985, giving Navy and Marine units an opportunity to operate jointly prior to actual deployment. The exercise included Navy embarkation of Marines, at-sea operations with a carrier battle group, an amphibious assault, and combat operations on shore.
17 December – Lieutenant General Thomas A. Wornham, USMC (Retired), died in San Diego, California, at the age of 81. Commissioned in the Marine Corps upon graduation from the Naval Academy in 1926, LtGen Wornham later commanded the 27th Marines on Iwo Jima in February-March 1945, for which he was awarded the Navy Cross. During the Korean War, LtGen Wornham commanded the 1st Marines. Prior to his retirement in 1961, the decorated general served as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.
31 December – The strength of the armed forces was 2,141,295 of which 197,795 were Marines.
USMC History Divisio