WW II-USMC 6th Division TB03
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Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Texas, United States
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About This Item
Replica Shoulder Patch. I have great respect for all the men and women who have served in the armed forces. However, I hold the Marine Corps in the highest regard. It stems some from their legendary exploits in WW II (my father's generation), but also from my contact with them after they served. I have known them as my own classmates and teachers in high school and college, as administrators and colleagues in my professional life and as recreational companions. I have also socialized with more than a few because some years ago my wife taught at the Marine Military Academy, in Harlingen, TX. Every one of those men fought at some place like Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Iwo Jima or Okinawa. And several also served in Korea and survived the Chosin Reservoir. To a person they (even those never having seen combat) believe they are part of something so much larger than themselves. I use the present tense advisedly becaue I have learned there is no such thing as an ex-marine.
This particular TB is to honor the 6th Division of the USMC. And, as it turns out, my father was a sailor on the LSD USS Lindenwald and was the pilot of one of the landing craft transporting these marines to their beachhead on Okinawa. Later, his job was to ferry supplies to the beache and trasport wounded marines off the island.
The division fought only in the Battle of Okinawa, landing on April 1, 1945. They made steady progress until May 12, 1945 when on the outskirts of Naha, Okinawa they ran into a low, loaf shaped promontory which was soon to be named Sugar Loaf Hill. It was part of a complex of three hills that formed the western anchor of the Japanese defense. Sugar Loaf would eventually be taken on May 18 at the cost of 2,662 men killed or wounded and another 1,289 men evacuated because of either exhaustion or battle fatigue. In the foreword to the Sixth Marine Division history MajGen Shepherd wrote, "The bloody, hard-fought battle for Okinawa may be recorded as the decisive campaign of the Pacific War." When the campaign ended on 21 June 1945, every Marine expected that the next battle would be for Japan itself. The enemy defenders had resisted with tenacity seldom matched in warfare. And the elements had conspired with the Japanese. Torrential rains turned the battlefield into a sea of glutinous mud. Marines clawed their way forward under rain and a torrent of artillery and machine gunfire.
The Division insignia is crimson, round with a round, blue center. Around the border, in yellow, are the words Melanesia, Micronesia and Orient. The 6th Division was assembled from marine units who had fought in those theaters. In the center is the numeral 6 overlaying an upraised sword. The Crusader sword is symbolic of the struggle against the tyrany of the Axis powers.
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