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29th Marine Regiment (United States)

The 29th Marine Regiment (29th Marines) is an inactive infantry regiment of the United States Marine Corps. Although it was the last Marine Corps regiment activated for service in World War II, it fought in the battles of Eniwetok, Guam and Okinawa. The regiment was under the command of the 6th Marine Division; took part in the occupation of Northern China following the war and was subsequently deactivated in 1946 as part of the post war drawdown of forces.

29th Marine Regiment
29th Marine Regiment.jpg
29th Marine Regiment Insignia
Activedeactivated 1 April 1946
Country United States of America
BranchSeal of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Part of6th Marine Division
EngagementsWorld War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Victor Bleasdale
William J. Whaling

Contents

HistoryEdit

The regiment was activated at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina as a separate reinforced regiment on May 1, 1944. Its first commander was Colonel Victor Bleasdale, an expert instructor and decorated World War I veteran, who served as Chief of Staff of the training center in Camp Lejeune. The regiment was assigned to the 6th Marine Division under Major General Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr. on September 10, 1944.[1]

Battle of OkinawaEdit

The regiment was due to be the reserve for the 6th Marine Division but was able to come ashore on the island on D-Day, April 1, 1945, due to the lack of resistance at the outset of the battle.[2] They initially swept through the northern Motobu Peninsula where except for heavy fighting during the Battle of Yae Take they met only moderate resistance. Following the battle the division commanding general Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. relieved the regimental commanding officer, Colonel Victor F. Bleasdale, a well-decorated World War I veteran, to install Guadalcanal veteran Colonel William J. Whaling.[3]

Following heavy fighting in the south the 6th Marine Division replaced the 27th Infantry Division on the western side of the island. The 29th made steady progress south until May 12, 1945 when on the outskirts of Naha, Okinawa the ran into a low, loaf shaped hill which was soon to be named Sugar Loaf Hill.

 
Map of the battle of Sugar Loaf Hill.
 
Sugar Loaf Hill as seen from the north.

The hill was part of a complex of three hills that formed the western anchor of General Mitsuru Ushijima's Shuri Line defense.[4] Originally the objective of the 22nd Marine Regiment, the 29th would relieve them on May 16 and would sustain heavy casualties over the course of the next few days while taking the hill. They made numerous frontal assaults on the hill and finally secured it on May 18 but in the process they sustained so many casualties that they were rendered combat ineffective and would eventually be relieved by the 4th Marine Regiment before the push into Naha. The fighting was so intense that during the relief in place the 4th Marines sustained 70 casualties.[5]

Occupation of Northern ChinaEdit

While recuperating on Guam the war ended and that September the regiment received a warning order for it to prepare to move to China. Following the surrender of Japan, the entire 6th Marine Division was sent to Northern China with the main mission of accepting the surrender of Japanese forces there and helping to repatriate those soldiers and other Japanese nationals back to Japan.

Notable membersEdit

Unit awardsEdit

A unit citation or commendation is an award bestowed upon an organization for the action cited. Members of the unit who participated in said actions are allowed to wear on their uniforms the awarded unit citation. The 29th Marine Regiment has been presented with the following awards:

Streamer Award Year(s) Additional Info
  Presidential Unit Citation Streamer with one Silver and three Bronze Stars 1945, Okinawa
  Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Streamer with one Bronze Star
Okinawa
  World War II Victory Streamer 1941–1945 Pacific War
  Navy Occupation Service Streamer with "ASIA"

  China Service Streamer with one Bronze Star October 1946 – Mar 1946 North China

In popular cultureEdit

The novel Take China: The Last of the China Marines by Harold Stephens depicts the 29th Marine Regiment and takes place in China during its civil war.[6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Clark, George B. (2006). The Six Marine Divisions in the Pacific: Every Campaign of World War II. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-7864-2769-7. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
  2. ^ Military History Online - Battle of Okinawa
  3. ^ THE FINAL CAMPAIGN: Marines in the Victory on Okinawa
  4. ^ Sugar-Loaf the Gateway to Naha
  5. ^ THE FINAL CAMPAIGN: Marines in the Victory on Okinawa
  6. ^ Stephens, Harold (2002). Take China: The Last of the China Marines. Wolfenden. ISBN 096425218X. OCLC 52419528.