On this day, the Air Corps Act of 1926 changed the name of the Air Service to Air Corps, but left unaltered its status as a combatant arm of the U.S. Army. The act also established the Office of Assistant Secretary of War for Air. The Air Corps had at this time 919 officers and 8,725 enlisted men, and its “modern aeronautical equipment” consisted of 60 pursuit planes and 169 observation planes; total serviceable aircraft of all types numbered less than 1,000.

On June 6, 1944, Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the go-ahead for the largest amphibious military operation in history: Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of northern France, commonly known as D-Day.

By daybreak, 18,000 British and American parachutists were already on the ground. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion. At 6:30 a.m., American troops came ashore at Utah and Omaha beaches

The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where the U.S. First Division battled high seas, mist, mines, burning vehicles—and German coastal batteries, including an elite infantry division, which spewed heavy fire. Many wounded Americans ultimately drowned in the high tide. British divisions, which landed at Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches, and Canadian troops also met with heavy German fire.

But by day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches and were then able to push inland. Within three months, the northern part of France would be freed and the invasion force would be preparing to enter Germany, where they would meet up with Soviet forces moving in from the east.

Before the Allied assault, Hitler’s armies had been in control of most of mainland Europe and the Allies knew that a successful invasion of the continent was central to winning the war. Hitler knew this too, and was expecting an assault on northwestern Europe in the spring of 1944. He hoped to repel the Allies from the coast with a strong counterattack that would delay future invasion attempts, giving him time to throw the majority of his forces into defeating the Soviet Union in the east. Once that was accomplished, he believed an all-out victory would soon be his.

For their part, the Germans suffered from confusion in the ranks and the absence of celebrated commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, who was away on leave. At first, Hitler, believing that the invasion was a feint designed to distract the Germans from a coming attack north of the Seine River, refused to release nearby divisions to join the counterattack and reinforcements had to be called from further afield, causing delays.

He also hesitated in calling for armored divisions to help in the defense. In addition, the Germans were hampered by effective Allied air support, which took out many key bridges and forced the Germans to take long detours, as well as efficient Allied naval support, which helped protect advancing Allied troops.

Though D-Day did not go off exactly as planned, as later claimed by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery–for example, the Allies were able to land only fractions of the supplies and vehicles they had intended in France–the invasion was a decided success. By the end of June, the Allies had 850,000 men and 150,000 vehicles in Normandy and were poised to continue their march across Europe.

The heroism and bravery displayed by troops from the Allied countries on D-Day has served as inspiration for several films, most famously The Longest Day (1962) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). It was also depicted in the HBO series Band of Brothers (2001).

Source: History.com – D-Day: Allies storm Normandy’s coast

On This Day in 2015, Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL Began

After 13 years of combat operations in response to and following the attacks on September 11, 2001, the U.S. military began a new phase in what was known as Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL. This after U.S. combat ops officially concluded on December 31, 2014; those ops were known as Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF).

Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL (OFS) was part of the larger Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and a part of the NATO-led RESOLUTE SUPPORT (RS) mission. OFS had two components: working with allies as part of RS and “counterterrorism operations against the remnants of Al-Qaeda to ensure that Afghanistan is never again used to stage attacks against our homeland,” according to SECDEF Chuck Hagel.

At the start of OFS in 2015, U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan were at about 9,800; by 2019, that number increased to 14,000 troops that supported RS and OFS.

Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL was expected to formally end on August 31, 2021; however, the complete withdrawal of U.S. military personnel concluded on August 30, 2021 following the advancement of Taliban forces throughout Afghanistan. The plan was to continue airstrikes on the Taliban after military personnel withdrew but those plans ended with the Islamic Republic fell.

According to the DoD, Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL saw 107 total deaths (51 KIA) and 612 WIA.

In March 2015, it was announced that OFS qualified for the award of the GWOT Expeditionary Medal and the GWOT Service Medal.

The SITREP thanks all Veterans and Servicemembers who were a part of OFS and OEF for their service.

On This Day in 2003, the War in Iraq Began

On March 19, 2003, the United States along with a coalition of forces mostly from the UK started the war on Iraq. It would served as the first stage of the war with the air campaign commencing on March 19th followed by the ground campaign on March 20, 2003.

The justifications for the Iraq war started with Iraq’s failure to disarm as the “single trigger.” Over time, the Bush Administration would state Iraqi violation of UN resolutions, the Iraqi government’s repression of its citizens, and violations of the 1991 ceasefire as additional justifications for war. To the disarmament, it was alleged that then-leader/dictator Saddam Hussein possessed or was attempting to produce weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and that Hussein had terrorist ties, specifically al-Qaeda.

It would be about three weeks before the Iraqi government and military would collapse. U. S., British, and other coalition forces overwhelmed the Iraqi Army and Iraqi civilians with U.S. soldiers pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square in Baghdad.

As for Hussein, he went into hiding and was captured in December 2003 outside his hometown in Tikrit. After standing trial, Saddam Hussein was executed three years later in 2006.

Back to the war in Iraq, on May 1, 2003, President Bush formally declared an end to the military phase to take down the Hussein regime. Bush would speak from the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln beneath a “Mission Accomplished” banner.

However, the Iraq war was quite far from over as loyalists to the Hussein regime went on to lay the foundation of a postwar insurgency. In the meantime, no WMDs were ever found in Iraq and the U.S. would remain in Iraq for eight years before declaring an end to the war on December 15, 2011.

In 2021, the U.S. military completed troop-level drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq; there are reportedly now 2,500 servicemembers each in both areas of operation.

Most recently, U.S. and coalition forces came under a rocket attack in western Iraq on March 3, 2021. No U.S. troops were injured; however, a civilian U.S. contractor died of a heart attack during the attack at Al Asad Air Base.

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VA Resources

On This Day in 1941, the Tuskegee Airmen were Established

On March 19, 1941, the U.S. War Department established the 99th Pursuit Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAC) that would become the first unit consisting of African American pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen. In a time when segregation was the law of the land, the Tuskegee Airmen pushed back on the prevalent racism within and outside the ranks of the U.S. military. Following accomplishments in flight by pilots like Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart in the decades before (1920s & 1930s), young men and women lined to up follow their flight paths; among them were young African Americans looking for their chance to take flight.

Unfortunately, African Americans were regarded as less-than and this widespread way of thought presented significant obstacles. In fact, black people were regarded as inferior in combat and seen as unable to become trained pilots. In 1938, President Roosevelt, seeing war was on the horizon, expanded the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) in the U.S. to ramp up the number of pilots in the nation; black people were excluded. But, in 1939, the CPTP opened up to historically black colleges which helped increase the number of black aviators. In 1940, the Roosevelt Administration announced that the AAC would begin training black pilots. At the start of 1941, it was announced that an all-black fighter pilot unit would be trained at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama located in the heart of the Jim Crow South.

Tuskegee airman Instructor Daniel “Chappie” James

The Tuskegee Airmen would go on to confront racism at home and abroad while racking up an exemplary record in World War II. The Tuskegee program would train some 1,000 pilots and nearly 14,000 navigators, bombardiers, instructors, aircraft and engine mechanics, control tower operators, and other maintenance and support staff. The Tuskegee Airmen flew about 1,600 missions and destroyed over 260 enemy aircraft in Nazi-controlled territory. In addition to the airmen’s amazing record, they would help lay the foundation for President Truman’s decision to finally desegregate the armed forces in 1948.

Following the war and desegregation, the Airmen carried on in the newly formed U.S. Air Force (USAF) and some taught in civilian flight schools. They were instrumental in developments in aviation and one Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr. became the first African-American to attain the rank of four-star general. Another Airmen Marion Rodgers went on to work for NORAD and served as a program developer for the Apollo 13 project.

Time has seen the Tuskegee Airmen cement a remarkable legacy of breaking barriers and accomplishments during and after World War II.

Time has also seen members pass on with age. Robert Holts, the last known member of the Tuskegee Airmen, died on February 12, 2021 at the age of 96.

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On This Day in 1942, the K-9 Corps was Formed; It is K-9 Veterans Day

PICTURE IT, U.S. Army, 1942…

On this day in 1942, the Quartermaster Corps (QMC) of the U.S. Army began training dogs for the newly formed War Dog Program, or K-9 Corps. Militaries around the world have employed dogs since ancient times. Originally, dogs were employed in offensive operations, being sent into enemy territory to break up formations and tearing down as many enemies as possible. Over time, dogs were used as couriers, sentries, and scouts.

It’s estimated that over a million dogs served on both sides during World War I as messengers and providers of comfort to soldiers. After WWI, the U.S. largely halted the practice of training dogs for military purposes. When the U.S. entered World War II in 1941, a movement was formed by the American Kennel Association and a group called Dogs for Defense to ask dog owners to donate healthy animals to the Quartermaster Corps of the U.S. Army. The QMC started training dogs in March 1942 and, later that year, more dogs were trained for the U.S. Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard.

Initially, the K-9 Corps accepted over 30 breeds of dogs but that was narrowed down to seven: German Shepherds, Belgian sheep dogs, Doberman Pinschers, collies, Siberian Huskies, Malumutes, and Eskimo dogs. Training consisted of 8 to 12 weeks of basic obedience training after which canine recruits were sent through specialized programs to become sentries, scouts or patrol dogs, messengers, or mine-detectors. Scout dogs were notable because they proved essential in alerting patrols of enemy approach and preventing surprise attacks.

Since then, canine compatriots have put their paw prints on military history, proving themselves vital in every conflict. Here are some notable K-9s:

  • Sergeant Stubby, 102nd Infantry Regiment: In 1917, a stray pit bull mix wandered into where members of the 102nd Infantry Regiment were training and proceeded to participate in drills, even learning how to salute with his right paw. It was clear Stubby would fit right in and he was adopted by Private J. Robert Conroy who smuggled him into the trenches of France where he proved himself in war. Stubby warned troops of imminent poison gas attacks and learned how to locate the wounded during patrols. He was promoted to Sergeant after sniffing out a German spy and attacking him until reinforcements arrived. Sgt Stubby served 18 months during which he took part about 17 battles, surviving wounds and boosting morale of his fellow soldiers.
  • Chips, 3rd Infantry Division: Trained as a sentry dog, Chips, a Collie-German Shepherd-Siberian Husky mix, was donated to serve during WWII and deployed with the 3rd ID in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, and Germany. In the invasion of Sicily, Chips and his handler were pinned down on the beach by a machine gun team. Chips jumped off leash and jumped into the machine gun pillbox, attacking the gunners and causing them to surrender. He sustained a scalp wound and powder burns in the battle but this did not deter him from helping take 10 Italian prisoners later that day.
  • Cairo, U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six: A Belgian Malinoi, Cairo deployed with the SEAL Team that stormed Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan in May 2011. He was tasked to stand guard outside the compound and keep locals at bay. Inside, he would sniff out bombs or booby traps. Depending on the needs of the mission, Cairo was trained to fill any role; however, when the first of two choppers hovering around compound had to ditch, Cairo’s chopper made a landing across the street. From there, Cairo and four SEALs set up a perimeter while the rest of the team stormed the site. It would be over a half hour before bin Laden was confirmed dead, then Cairo and his SEAL team came back to base.

March 13th is K-9 Veterans Day

Today, March 13th is a day set aside to honor and commemorate the service and sacrifice of military working dogs throughout history. America’s military dogs serve important roles in units around the globe. It’s estimated that the U.S. Army employed 1,500 dogs during the Korean War and 4,000 in the Vietnam War.

According to the U.S. Army, today, there are about 578 dog teams that have seen action in Afghanistan and Iraq. These dogs carry on a tradition of distinguished service, continuing to save life and prevent injuries to our troops.

To every American military K-9 and handler, past and present, thank you for your service!

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On This Day in 1942, the Navy Seabees were Formed

When Japanese forces carried out the infamous surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the U.S. Navy was alerted of the need for a militarized construction force as the attack marked the United States’ entry into World War II. On December 28, 1941, three weeks after Pearl Harbor, Rear Admiral Ben Moreell requested the authority to create Naval Construction Battalions which would be comprised of military-trained, skilled American laborers who could build anything, anywhere under any conditions.

Admiral Ben Moreell, CEC, USN
The father of the US Navy Seabees
“The King Bee”

Before World War II (the last 1930s), the U.S. observed the need to prepare militarily and Congress authorized the expansion of naval shore activities to the Caribbean, then to the Central Pacific. The U.S. Navy awarded contracts to civilian construction firms that employed native civilian populations and U.S. citizens who fell under the command of naval officers overseeing construction projects. These firms would go on to build several large bases on Guam, Midway, Wake, Pearl Harbor, Iceland, Newfoundland, Bermuda, and Trinidad. However, international law dictated that civilians that came under enemy military attacks would not be able to resist and could be executed. This remarkable mandate added to the U.S. concern to have a military-trained construction entity if and when war arrived.

Unfortunately, Pearl Harbor served as a tragic wakeup call that pushed Rear Admiral Moreell’s December 28th authorization request to create Naval Construction Battalions. It would be just over a week when the Bureau of Navigation would give the go-ahead and on January 5, 1942, the original Construction Battalions (CBs) were formed at the new naval base in Davisville, Rhode Island. On January 17, 1942, less than two weeks later, the First Construction Detachment made up of 296 men deployed and arrived in Bora Bora on February 17, 1942.

On March 5, 1942, the Department of the Navy officially named all Construction Battalion personnel the now famous Seabees. Their motto, Construimus, Batuimus (We Build, We Fight), was personally supplied by Rear Admiral Moreell. Their logo, the Fighting Bee, was created by Rhode Islander Frank J. Iafrate, a civilian file clerk who later enlisted and served as a Chief Carpentersmate with a CB Maintenance Unit.

The history of the Seabees is storied by legendary deeds spanning the globe. World War II saw them construct over 400 advanced bases in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of operation. More than 325,000 Seabees served in WWII and they were among the first to go ashore during D-Day of the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944 (See below) as members of naval combat demolition units. When the war entered demobilization, the Bees’ base depot and training center were closed in December 1945 and the units were renamed Mobile Construction Battalions (MCBs) where members carried out support ops in Cuba and throughout the Pacific.

This would not be the end of the Seabees however…

In June 1950, North Korea attacked South Korea in a move that would kickstart a civil war that later involved the U.S. and China. The Davisville base was reactivated and the Seabees once again got into the fight, this time providing pontoon causeways, serving side by side with the Marine Corps and Army, building and defending what they built. Perhaps the largest accomplishment in the Korean War was building Cubi Point that saw the Seabees essentially cut a mountain in half to make way for a two-mile long runway. Cubi Point would be comprised of an air station with an adjacent pier capable of docking the Navy’s largest carriers.

Following the Korean War, Seabees distinguished themselves in the following operations:

  • Annual deployments starting in 1955 to Antarctica to build and expand scientific bases that included constructing a 6,000-foot ice runway on McMurdo Sound despite a blizzard.
  • From 1965 to 1970, they supported Marines in Vietnam by building aircraft support facilities, roads, and bridges but also helped the Vietnamese by paving roads, digging wells, providing medical treatment, and building schools, hospitals, utilities systems, roads and other community facilities.
  • Building a base on Diego Garcia, an atoll in the Indian Ocean, a project that lasted 11 years and cost $200M. The base would provide invaluable during Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM.
  • During the Gulf War, more than 5,000 Seabees built advanced bases, constructed airfields, provided petroleum and water facilities, and went with the Marines into Kuwait.
  • Seabees deployed to Beirut following the 1982 Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon to build underground bunkers for the Marines.
  • Relief and recovery efforts following Hurricanes Camille, Andrew, George, Mitch, Katrina, Ivan, and Maria.
  • Construction support and disaster relief in the wake of the Haiti earthquake.

Today, the Seabees continue to serve in the Global War on Terrorism. They have repaired runway facilities in Afghanistan and built aircraft parking, munitions storage, landing pads, bridges, and camps in Kuwait and Iraq. About two-thirds of Seabees today are reservists with active duty members serving in six active Battalions, two Amphibious Construction Battalions (ACBs), and two Underwater Construction Team (UCTs).

The U.S. Navy continues to reach out to recruit Seabees as builders, construction electricians and mechanics, engineering aids, equipment operators, steel workers, and utilitiesmen. Check out the video below for more information on today’s Seabees.

Last and very certainly not least, to all our Seabees, past and present, out there: Thank you for building up and defending the nation!

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Happy 106th Birthday, U.S. Navy Reserve

Today the U.S. Navy Reserve turns 106!

Formed in 1915 in response to the outbreak of World War I, the U.S. Navy Reserve was first only open to Navy Veterans. By 1916, general enlistment requirements opened up the reserve and the number of serving Naval Reservists grew to 245,789 which accounted for about 54% of the total U.S. Naval Force at the time. At the end of World War II, the ranks of the Navy Reserve numbered to about 3 million, making up 85% of all Sailors serving at the time.

Over the past 106 years, the U.S. Navy Reserve has seen five future U.S. Presidents and 15 Medal of Honor recipients in its ranks. Today, the Reserve delivers operational support to the fleet and to combat forces. In its time since 9/11, the Reserve has mobilized over 70,000 times and has deployed more than 4,500 times by reservists on Full-Time Support.

To ALL U.S. Naval Reservists out there, thank you for stepping up in service of the nation and Happy Birthday, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve!

It is Women’s History Month!

In 1981, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 97-28 which authorized and requested the President proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” For the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designation a week in March. After being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project in 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-9 which designated the whole month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.” Over the next seven years, Congress passed resolutions for the President to make an annual proclamation for the month of March. In 1995, the President started to issue a series of annual proclamations designating March as Women’s History Month to celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.

Women continue to make history to this very day. For example, the United States voted for its first-ever female Vice President in the 2020 General Election in Kamala Harris and, recently, female recruits arrived at MCRD San Diego to make up the Marine Corps’ first coed company in the base’s 100-year history for boot camp. For the purpose of this post, we’ll focus on the contributions of our nation’s Women Servicemembers and Veterans.

According to the VA’s Women Veterans Make History page, women who served did not formally fall under a military command until the early 20th century. Before then, women served in various capacities starting as early as the Revolutionary War. It’s estimated that more than 400 women fought in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War.

Over 1,000 women flew aircraft for the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs)

As the nation entered the 20th century, the number of Servicewomen increased. During World War I, approximately 35,000 women served as nurses and support staff. In World War II, that number increased to about 140,000 women who took on critical billets in military intelligence, cryptography, and parachute rigging. During WWII, 1943 specifically, the U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserve was formed.

It wasn’t until 1948 when Congress passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act that Servicewomen were granted permanent status in the military thereby entitling them to benefits when they left the ranks to become Veterans.

On May 28, 1980, 62 women graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in the Class of 1980 becoming the first women to graduate from the academy. (Photos from Signal Corps Collection, U.S. Military Academy Archives) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

During the Vietnam War, approximately 7,000 women served in Southeast Asia. In 1976, women were admitted to America’s service academies at West Point (U.S. Military Academy), Annapolis (U.S. Naval Academy), and Colorado Springs (Air Force Academy). In the early 1990s, more than 40,000 women deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM.

More recently, since the start of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM following 9/11, over 700,000 women have served in OEF and 2003’s Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF).

The U.S. Armed Forces make efforts to recognize the contributions of women to our nation’s defense. Below are their respective pages commemorating the service of women in the military.

When Servicemembers finish their service, they become Women Veterans. The VA has made the health of Women Vets a priority and the following is listing of resources.

Over the course of the month, the SITREP will highlight a resource for Women Veterans. You can also follow the SITREP socials for more content as well as our Women Veterans resource page.

Last but not least, thank you to all Women serving in the U.S. military and to all Women Veterans for your service to the nation!

For more Women’s History, check out www.WomensHistoryMonth.gov and the National Women’s History Museum.

On This Day in 1991, the Persian Gulf War Ended

On this day in 1991, President George Bush declared a ceasefire that would end the Persian Gulf War that lasted 42 days.

In early August 1990, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion and occupation of neighboring Kuwait. In response, Arab powers called on the U.S. and other Western nations to intervene. When Hussein defied the UN’s call to withdraw Iraqi forces, the Persian Gulf War began in mid-January 1991 with U.S.-led air offensive, Operation DESERT STORM.

On February 28, 1991, President Bush’s ceasefire declaration went into effect under terms that Iraq recognize Kuwait as a sovereign nation and to dispose of all weapons of mass destruction. In all, an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed while the U.S. lost 219 servicemembers.

To all Persian Gulf War Veterans, thank you for your service.

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Resources

More than 650,000 Service members served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm from August 2, 1990 to July 31, 1991. For VA benefits eligibility purposes, the Gulf War period is still in effect. This means that anyone who served on active duty from August 2, 1990, to present is considered a Gulf War Veteran. For example, the Veterans Pension benefit requires service during a wartime period. Therefore, any Veteran who served on active military service for any period from August 2, 1990, to the present meets the wartime service requirement.

On This Day in 1945, U.S. Marines Raised the Flag on Mount Suribachi

On this day is 1945, U.S. Marines raised the American flag on Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi after four days of fierce fighting to claim the island as an air base.

There were two flag-raisings after a commander called for a larger flag to be put up to inspire the troops and demoralize the opposing forces. It was the 2nd raising that photographer Joe Rosenthal captured, that photo would go on to become of one of the most famous photos from World War II. Rosenthal would receive a Pulitzer Prize for the photo.

According to the VA, in 2020, ~325,574 of the 16M Americans who served in WWII were alive.

To all WWII Veterans out there, thank you for your service and bravery.

Many thanks to the National Archive for the footage.

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On This Day in 1945, the Battle of Iwo Jima Began

On this day in 1945, the Battle of Iwo Jima, an island located 750 miles off the coast of Japan, began in what would become some the bloodiest fighting of World War II.

On February 19, 1945, U.S. Marines made an amphibious landing on the beaches of Iwo Jima to be met with hostile terrain that made it difficult to get firm footing for the troops and vehicles. As the Marines tried to make their way forward, Japanese forces that had been laying in wait opened fire inflicting significant casualties.

Over the course of five weeks, some 70,000 Marines landed on Iwo Jima and, though they outnumbered the Japanese by more than three-to-one, perhaps more than 25,000 casualties occurred including nearly 7,000 deaths. As for the Japanese, of the 21,000, all that remained were 200 of the fighting forces.

On March 16, 1945, the U.S. declared Iwo Jima secured following the weeks of intense fighting. The last attack on the island occurred on March 26th when Japanese troops killed about 100 Americans before being killed themselves.

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On This Day in 1943, the U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserve was Formed

On this day in 1943, the U.S. Marine Corps’ Women’s Reserve was formed after months of delay following President Roosevelt’s signing of Public Law 689 on July 30, 1942.

The law officially established the Women’s Reserve as a branch of the Naval Reserve for the Navy and Marine Corps. Its purpose, to free up officers and men for combat as the Women’s Reserve filled enlisted and officer billets on the homefront.

Though faced with opposition from government and military leaders, the Women’s Reserve proved invaluable. Commandant of the Marine Corps General Thomas Holcomb, who had been opposed to the Reserve, reversed course by 1943’s end saying, “There’s hardly any work at our Marine stations that women can’t do as well as men. They do some work far better than men…What is more, they’re real Marines. They don’t have a nickname, and they don’t need one.”

Thank you to all Women Marines and Women Veterans who have served and are serving this great nation: OOHRAH!

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