HORSE MARINES ?
When I started to school way back in 1944 (Yikes), one of the first ditty’s they taught us was,
I’m Capt. Jinks of the Horse Marines,
I feed my horse corn and beans.
I teach my horses how to prance,
and I teach young ladies how to dance.
And that was all the history I ever got about the Horse Marines. I often wondered what inspired such a song.
I recently treated myself to two large books on the Marine Corps the first, U S M C a complete history, is a huge 665 page volume of Marine Corps history. It has a day by day chronological order of Marine Corps events, beginning in 1775 to the Gulf War. There are many photos and paintings from history and detailed accounts of many marine events. The second book is sponsored by the Marine Corps League. Unfortunately I discovered that most of the photos and paintings are included in both volumes. However the text and format are different.
While exploring the books I found a photo in the 1920’s section on china of a column of Horse Marines on patrol, however there was no accompanying text just the caption below the picture. the picture was a long shot of a single file group of mounted men on small horses. They appeared to be dressed in white pants and blue jackets with white garrison hats. I could count twenty-nine men in the patrol.
A visit to google revealed a little more information, though not much. Reference was made to some mounted Marines during the Mexican War and mounted Marines in Haiti, but not in an official capacity. Some Marines of the 4th division in China in the 1920 -44 period were assigned to a mounted unit. Originally they were formed as a ceremonial unit. However they were soon put to patrol duties. It was stated that they wore the dress blue uniform and were issued a straight saber. The photo I alluded to showed the riders to be somewhat proportionally large for their mounts, which were listed as the small Mongolian ponies. On a following page I discovered a Painting of a Horse Marine in 1937, and a photo of a Crpl. jumping his horse over an obsticale in Peking in 1937. On a preceding page is a photo of Horse Marines mounted for inspection in front of the embassy in Peking. This is about all I could find on the Horse Marines. On one of the Websites I visit regularly devoted to the Marines I posted this information. Today I had a reply from a older guy who wrote that it is said in his family his grandpap was a Horse Marine.
The B-24 Bomber
Now I must confess my knowledge of the Marine Corps Air Wing is limited to John Wayne’s movie “FLYING LEATHERNECKS”. I was surprised to find that there photos of Marine Aircraft all the way from 1916. Planes were used in Nicaragua in the 1920’s.
the North American B-24 Mitchell was produced in such a great number that the Army could not use them all. The Marine corps took possession of a small number in I believe 1944, they were placed under the command of a Lt. Col Jack Cram. Col. Cram had achieved some measure of fame as Gen. Geiger’s personal PBY-5A Catalina flying boat on Guadalcanal. When not ferring Gen. Geiger around he had his ground crew install Torpedo’s under the wings, and he flew through anti-aircraft and fighter screens to attack enemy shipping to the island to slow troop and supplies. He finally got a proper steed to fight with. Generally called milk runs these were dangerous missions in the first three months three planes and thirty-five crew members were lost.
flying missions to interrupt enemy shipping and for ground support these planes flew until the end of the war.
Seems there is something for a old Marine to learn every day. It has been a interesting journey to this point, I am sure there is more around the corner tomorrow until it’s time to finally quit being a Marine.
As always thanks for stopping by to listen to my rambles.