Original U.S. WWI USMC Marine Corps Yard Long Unit Photos - 5th Marine Regiment 1919 and Aircraft Squadrons 1930

Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind set. This is a set of two United States Marine corps unit photos known as "yard longs". The first is a photograph of the 51st Company, 5th Marine Regiment taken in Germany in 1919 just after World War One. This photograph is professional framed and measures in the frame 34" x 10".

The second photograph reads; Aircraft Squadrons, West Coast Expeditionary Force, U.S.M.C. 4-5-30. This photo is also professional framed and measures 35" x 8".

The 5th Marine Regiment was activated on June 8, 1917, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the 5th Regiment of Marines. They immediately deployed to France, arriving on June 26, and were assigned to the 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army. Later that year, in October, they were reassigned to 4th Brigade of Marines under the 2nd Infantry Division.

In spring 1918, the regiment was involved in the fierce battle of Belleau Wood and was given the nickname Devil Dog.

The Fifth subsequently participated in the offensive campaigns at Aisne, Battle of Saint-Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. They also participated in the defensive campaigns at Toulon-Troyon, Château-Thierry, Marbache and Limey. From 1918 until 1919 the regiment participated in the occupation of the German Rhineland. In August 1919 it relocated back to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. It was inactivated on August 13, 1919.

The regiment's actions in France earned them the right to wear the Fourragère (seen in the outline of the unit's logo), one of only two in the Marine Corps (the other being the 6th Marine Regiment). The award was a result of being the only regiments in the American Expeditionary Force to receive three Croix de guerre citations: two in the order of the army and one in the order of the corps—Fourragère and Croix de guerre with two Palms and Gilt Star. The Fourragère became part of the uniform of the unit, and all members of the organization are authorized to wear the decoration on the left shoulder of the uniform while members of the organization.  

Three Marines of the regiment were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during the war. Sergeant Louis Cukela, Gunnery Sergeant Ernest A. Janson, and Sergeant Matej Kocak each received two Medals of Honor (one from the Navy and one from the Army) for a single action, making them three of only nineteen double recipients of the medal. In addition, two U.S. Navy officers attached the 5th Marines received the Medal of Honor: Lieutenant Commander Alexander Gordon Lyle of the Navy Dental Corps and Lieutenant Orlando H. Petty of the Medical Corps.

The end of World War I saw Congress authorize 1,020 men for Marine Corps aviation and the establishment of permanent air stations at Quantico, Parris Island and San Diego. The United States also embraced its role of global power and the Marine Corps became the preferred force for military intervention; where the Marines went, so went Marine Corps aviation. During the Banana Wars, while fighting bandits and insurgents in places like Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, Marine Corps aviators began to experiment with air-ground tactics and making the support of their fellow Marines on the ground their primary mission. It was in Haiti that Marines began to develop the tactic of dive bombing and in Nicaragua where they began to perfect it. While other nations and services had tried variations of this technique, Marine Corps pilots were the first to embrace it and make it part of their tactical doctrine. And besides dive-bombing, Marine Corps aviation in Nicaragua developed the skill of air resupply of outposts dropping bundles from Fokker F.VII tri-motors. Even prior to the events in the Caribbean, pioneering Marine Corps aviators such as Alfred Cunningham had noted in 1920 that, "...the only excuse for aviation in any service is its usefulness in assisting the troops on the ground to successfully carry out their missions.

It was not until 3 May 1925 that the Marine Corps officially appeared in the Navy's Aeronautical Organization when Rear Admiral William A. Moffett, then Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics, issued a directive officially authorizing three fighting squadrons. Also taking place during the 1920s was that Marine Corps squadrons began qualifying on board aircraft carriers. However, in terms of mission and training, the assignment of two Marine scouting squadrons as component units of the Pacific Fleet carriers would be one of the greatest advancements for Marine Corps aviation. Prior to this, Marine Corps squadrons were loosely controlled with regard to doctrine and training. This assignment enabled nearly 60% of active duty aviators at the time to be exposed to a disciplined training syllabus under a clearly defined mission.

The turning point for the long-term survival of Marine Air came with the structural change of the establishment of the Fleet Marine Force in 1933. This shifted Marine doctrine to focus less on expeditionary duty and more on supporting amphibious warfare by seizing advance naval bases in the event of war. This also saw the establishment of Aircraft One and Aircraft Two to replace the old Aircraft Squadron, East Coast and Aircraft Squadron, West Coast that had supported operations in the Caribbean and China as part of their expeditionary duties. This organization would remain until June 1940 when Congress authorized the Marine Corps 1,167 aircraft as part of its 10,000 plane program for the Navy. Just prior, in 1939, the Navy's General Board published a new mission for Marine Aviation, which stated: "Marine Aviation is to be equipped, organized and trained primarily for the support of the Fleet Marine Force in landing operations and in support of troop activities in the field; and secondarily as replacement for carrier based naval aircraft.[21] " On 7 December 1941, the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Marine Corps air units consisted of 13 flying squadrons and 230 aircraft.
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