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U.S. Marines 1st Division

Marines 1st Division
Mission Statement
 Today 1st Marine Division is a multi-role, expeditionary ground combat force. The Division is employed as the ground combat element (GCE) of I MEF of may provide task-organized forces for assault operation and such operation as may be directed. The 1st Marine Division must be able to provide the ground amphibious forcible entry capability to the nabal expeditionary force (NEF) and to conduct subsequent land operations in any operational enviroment.

1st Marines and WWII

Even though the 1st division was in many major battles during World War II,  the battles of Guadalcanal and Okinawa were by far the most important.

On August 7th 1942 the 1st Marine Division landed on Guadalcanal. Operation Watchtower was the first major ground offensive of the war. Soon after the marines landed in "the canal" as they called it, they were backed up into a defensive position around Henderson field, an important American airfield. The marines were quickly running out of food, water, and supplies. They were forced to live off of captured Japanese rations. While holed up on the airfield they experianced some of the worst air-raids and naval gunfire of the war. Defeated and sick with maleria, they were saved between December 1942 and Febuary 1943.

During the largest amphibious assault of World War II, the First Marines landed on Okinawa on April Fools day 1945.  They were initially ordered to secure the northern side of the island, but that changed when they met face to face with the Shuri Line. Up untill the May 31st,  the division faced artillery fire and kamikaze attackers. On the 31st they finally completed the occupation of Shri Castle, though it was no more than a pile of rubble after so much combat.

William Capers James
after hours of searching i feel that the internet has no real biography on William Capers James. all that i was able to find out was that he was a colonel during the campaighn at guadalcanal and also the chief of staff for the first marine division. as a chief of staff he would ensure the personnel readiness, policy, planning and training of their respective military services for the combatant commanders to utilize.

Pictures of William C. James and the 1st Marines
 MajGen Alexander A. Vandegrift, CG, 1st Marine Division, confers with his staff on board the transport USS McCawley (APA-4) enroute to Guadalcanal. From left: Gen Vandegrift; LtCol Gerald C. Thomas, operations officer; LtCol Randolph McC. Pate, logistics officer; LtCol Frank G. Goettge, intelligence officer; and Col William Capers James, chief of staff.
 The General and His Officers on Guadalcanal, According to the Chart
1. Col George R. Rowan
2. Col Pedro A. del Valle
3. Col William C. James
4. MajGen Alexander A. Vandegrift
5. LtCol Gerald C. Thomas
6. Col Clifton B. Cates
7. Col Randolph McC. Pate
8. Cdr Warwick T. Brown, USN
9. Col William J. Whaling
10. Col Frank B. Goettge
11. Col LeRoy P. Hunt, Jr.
12. LtCol Frederick C. Biebush
13. LtCol Edwin A. Pollock
14. LtCol Edmund J. Buckley
15. LtCol Walter W. Barr
16. LtCol Raymond P. Coffman
17. LtCol Francis R. Geraci
18. LtCol William E. Maxwell
19. LtCol Edward G. Hagen
20. LtCol William N. McKelvy, Jr.
21. LtCol Julian N. Frisbie
22. Maj Milton V. O'Connell
23. Maj William Chalfant III
24. Maj Horace W. Fuller
25. Maj Forest C. Thompson
26. Maj Robert G. Ballance
27. Maj Henry C. Buse, Jr.
28. Maj James W. Frazer
29. Maj Henry H. Crockett
30. LtCol Lenard B. Cresswell
31. Maj Robert O. Brown
32 LtCol John A. Bemis
33. Col Kenneth W. Benner
34. Maj Robert B. Luckey
35. LtCol Samuel B. Taxis
36. LtCol Eugene H. Price
37. LtCol Merrill B. Twining
38. LtCol Walker A. Reaves
39. LtCol John D. Macklin
40. LtCol Hawley C. Waterman
41. Maj James C. Murray, Jr.

websites used

  • www.globalsecurities.org/millitary/agency/usmc/1mardiv.htm
  • www.i-mef.usmc.mil/div/
  • www.guadacanaljournal.com
  • www.ibiblio.org/spotlight_1stmardiv.htm