Original U.S. Banana Wars Occupation of Nicaragua Battle of El Bramadero USMC Nicaraguan Medal of Merit KIA Grouping With Research and Photographs

Item Description

Original Items: One-Of-A-Kind: This is an incredible grouping attributed to a young United States Marine who’s unit was ambushed by bandits and was mortally wounded and unfortunately succumbed the following day.
The United States occupation of Nicaragua from 1912 to 1933 was part of the Banana Wars, when the US military invaded various Latin American countries from 1898 to 1934. The formal occupation began in 1912, even though there were various other assaults by the U.S. in Nicaragua throughout this period. American military interventions in Nicaragua were designed to stop any other nation except the United States of America from building a Nicaraguan Canal.
Nicaragua assumed a quasi-protectorate status under the 1916 Bryan–Chamorro Treaty. President Herbert Hoover (1929–1933) opposed the relationship. On January 2, 1933, Hoover ended the American intervention.
The Battle of El Bramadero, or the Battle of Bromaderos, took place between the 27 and 28 February 1928 during the American occupation of Nicaragua of 1926–1933 and the Sandino Rebellion. The battle began on the twenty-seventh when a convoy of thirty-six Marines, one American naval pharmacist's mate, twenty Nicaraguan "muleros," two Nicaraguan "'Jefe' muleros," and 99 mules led by First Lieutenant Edward F. O'Day moving along the Yalí–Condega trail was ambushed by a force of Sandinista rebels led by Miguel Angel Ortez.
The Sandinistas opened fire from all along the mule train's right flank at 1:30 PM, while some other rebels managed to seal off "the trail to the front and rear of the convoy." These Nicaraguan insurrectionists were estimated to be "at least" 600 rifles strong, armed with "a minimum" of four machine guns and "a large quantity" of dynamite bombs. The Marines fell back to a ridge on the left of the trail, "leaving three of their dead behind." The guerrillas advanced on the American position and hacked open the heads of the dead Marines with their machetes. At 8:30, the firing from the Sandinistas decreased as the insurgents began to withdraw, although about 200 of them remained to continue harassing the Marines. Some of the guerrillas spoke "irregular English" and taunted the Americans with "slurs and insults" during lulls in the fighting.
At dawn of the following day, of the 28 February, a force of 88 Marines led by Captain William K. MacNulty arrived on the battlefield to relieve O'Day's men, and they helped drive off the remaining Sandinistas. All in all, the Marines suffered three killed, two died from wounds the following day, and eight non-fatally wounded (in addition, four of their "muleros" were wounded). One-third of their mules were killed, wounded, or captured. Sandinista losses for February 28 were about 10 killed and 30 wounded (this was MacNulty's "conservative estimate").
One of the Marines killed was Corporal Cicero Dicator Austin from Texas, this is his grouping. Corporal Austin was born on December 19, 1904  and was from Crockett, Texas. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on October 29, 1924 and graduated Marine Boot Camp aboard the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina.
On January 7, 1925 he was sent to the Sea School Detachment in Norfolk, Virginia. From there, on April 9th, he was assigned to the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Texas. He would continue to serve aboard various ships until his arrival in Nicaragua (2nd time) in 1928.
On February 27,1928, While serving with the 57th Company, 2nd Battalion 11th Marine Regiment, Corporal Cicero Dicator Austin was fatally shot while engaged in combat with an organized enemy element . The bullet that struck him made an entrance at a downward angle in his right scapula. The bullet tore through his body from the top right and exited in his left posterior axillary line, just below his 10th rib. He succumbed to his wounds and made the ultimate sacrifice at 12:30 PM on February 28, 1928.
This grouping consists of the following:

- Nicaraguan Medal of Merit “Merito”: This medal was awarded to Corporal Austin by the President of the Republic of Nicaragua, J.M. Moncada, in recognition of the exceptional services rendered to the Republic. Included with this medal is the original award citation dated October 16, 1929 and a copy of a translation. Accompanied with this is a letter (copy) written to Corporal Austin’s brother from Ben Hebard Fuller, the 15th Commandant of the Marine Corps on October 7, 1930:

My dear Mr. Austin:
I take pleasure in forwarding to you this date, by registered
Mail, a Nicaraguan Medal of Merit, silver star, and citation which have
been posthumously awarded to your brother, the late Corporal Cicero D.
Austin, U.S. Marine Corps, for his service in Nicaragua and which I am
sure you will cherish as a reminder of him.
I wish to express my own appreciation of the fine qualities
of your brother which caused him to be decorated by the President of
Sincerely Yours,
Major General Commandant
Also included:
- Sharpshooter Medal

- Original Photograph of Corporal Austin: In the photo he appears to be standing aboard a Naval ship in his Dress Blues.

- (2) Copies of Photos: In these photographs they show where Corporal Austin was buried in Nicaragua following his death. The 2 graves present are marked with wooden crosses. Buried next to him is Private Curtis J. Mott, the second Marine to die of wounds on February 28th, the day after the battle.  
There are also many documents (copies) included such as his service record, battle reports, after actions, maps with the locations of burials and battles as well as letters written by his brother in regards to when his brother’s body can be retrieved and sent back to the United States for burial. It is unclear when his body was returned and buried in Texas.
This is an amazing grouping with documentation and reports. Comes ready for research and display.
The engagement at El Bramadero on 27 February 1928, in which five Marines were killed and eight wounded, became a key event in the emergent Sandinista narrative of the crafty and invincible guerrilla, and steeled the Marines' resolve to wage war without quarter against the "Bandit Forces" and their supporters. This report by Lt. Edward F. O'Day offers many revealing details about the battle.
Headquarters, 2nd Battalion, 11th Regiment.
Condega, Nicaragua. 1 March 1928.
From: First Lieutenant Edward F. O'Day,U.S.Marine Corps.
To: The Battalion Commander, 2nd Battalion, 11th Regiment.
Subject: Report of engagement with bandit forces
     1.   The following report of a skirmish with bandit forces is herewith submitted:
     On 27 February 1928, the ration train under my command that left ESTELI on 23 February, 1928, and proceeded to SAN RAFAEL and YALI with commissary stores, cleared YALI at 8:15 a.m. on 27 February, 1928, all stores having been delivered. The column consisted of one officer, thirty five Marines, one pharmacists mate third class, U.S.Navy, twenty muleros and two "Jefe" muleros with ninety nine mules and was proceeding along the trail between YALI and CONDEGA. At approximately one-half the distance between the two towns, the column was ambushed by the bandit forces. The exact location of the skirmish is about one thousand yards west of a town named BROMADEROS [El Bramadero].
     2.   The column had just been closed up and was proceeding west, and as it entered the flat space of ground between the two ranges of hills, the Bandit Forces opened fire on the right flank of the column throughout its entire length, also from the front and rear of the column.
     3.   The firing commenced at approximately 1:30 p.m., and lasted until 8:30 p.m. the same date, when it subsided to irregular harrasing fire throughout the night. It is estimated beyond doubt that the bandit forces had a minimum of four machine guns, at least six hundred rifles and a large quantity of dynamite bombs. It is estimated that at least two hundred dynamite bombs were discharged.
     4.   The bandit forces withheld fire until the entire column was in front of them, varying in distance from 75 to 200 yards along the trail. The first shot of the skirmish was directed at the undersigned and was immediately followed by simultaneous firing along their entire line, the opening up with everything that they may have had. The mule train was stampeded upon the initial burst of fire along the line. The Marines eased off to the brush on their left and commenced firing. Being out-numbered to such an extent and the bandit forces having fire superiority, the Marines eased to the left gradually, taking position on a ridge. The Bandit Forces continued incessant fire until about 2:30 p.m. when they advanced towards the Marines in line of skirmish. The machine guns keeping up fire on the Marine's positions, in addition to bandit rifles. Advancing to the foot of the hill the Bandit Forces fell back at about 3:00 p.m., leaving in the vicinity several groups of their men. As they fell back to their positions, they ravaged what could be found on the train. At or about 6:30 p.m. they again moved forward in skirmish formation and proceeded to the base of the hill. This advance was also broken up and stopped by Marine fire. The Bandit Forces kept firing during the entire time until about 8:30 p.m. They were evidently well supplied with ammunition as one or more machine guns were firing practically all of the time in addition to rifle fire and bombs. During the night there was a great deal of movement of bandit troops and what sounded like bull carts and a mule train. The Marines maintained position occupied until day-break when reinforcements from the 57th Company, under Command of Captain William K. MacNulty, U.S.Marine Corps, arrived on the scene at day-break. The attack on Bandit Forces was then taken up.
     5.   The following named Marines were killed in action on 27 February 1928:
Private PUMP, John C.
Private ROBBINS, George E.
Private SCHLAUCH, Albert.
Two more as follows, died the following day, 28 February 1928, from wounds received in action on 27 February 1928:
Corporal AUSTIN, Cicero D.
Private MOTT, Curtis J.
There were eight men wounded as follows:
Sergeant CHRISTIAN, Wilbourn O.
Sergeant ISHAM, Charles H.
Private BALLARD, Lewis E.
Private CRUM, Peter C.
Private DAVIS, Lem, C.
Private MAYNARD, Linton C.
Private CARTER, Raymond B.
Private PHELPS, Clarence E.
Four of the twenty muleros with the column were wounded by rifle fire, two of them leaving the vicinity for ESTELI at dusk, one going to CONDEGA, the other being wounded in the groin, remained with the Marines.

The Rest Of The Report Can Be Found at this LINK.

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