Original U.S. WWII USMC Paramarine 1st Parachute Battalion Named Silver Star Grouping
Original Items: One-of-a-kind set. United States Marine Corps Sergeant Luther Hibbard Magee (261660) was assigned to Company B, 1st Parachute Battalion, 1st Marine division during World War Two. He was part of the invasion force on the Island of Gavutu (Solomon Islands). He was the recipient of the Silver Star, Air Medal with Gold Star (in 1945 he served as a Navigator with Marine Bombing Squadron 613) and a Purple Heart.
His Silver Star, included in this set, is nicely engraved on the reverse SGT. Luther H. MAGEE. A copy of his Silver Star Citation is also included and reads:
DEC 4 1942
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to
SERGEANT LUTHER H. MAGEE, USMC.,
service as set forth in the following
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving with the First Parachute Battalion, First Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the invasion of Gavutu, Solomon Islands, on August 7, 1942. Disregarding his own imminent danger, Sergeant Magee, with two comrades, launched a daring attack over unprotected ground against a hostile machine-gun position and succeeded in overpowering the Japanese gunners, thereby eliminating a serious menace, to the advancing marines. Although painfully wounded, he maintained his aggressive combat against other groups of the enemy and later, after receiving medical attention, he immediately resumed relentless fighting, continuing in vigorous and courageous action until a boat arrived to transport him and other casualties to a ship. His unswerving devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
For the President,
Secretary of the Navy
Sgt, Magee was also given a Purple Heart for this action on August 7th, 1942.
Also include in this set are:
- Engraved Silver Star Medal.
- Air Medal with Gold Star with copies of Recommendation of Award Strike Flight System for his Air Medal and Gold Star in lieu of a second Air Medal for his service as a Navigator with the Marine Bombing Squadron 613.
- Naval issue Purple Heart Medal.
- Copies of 25 pages of military records.
- Gold Paramarine wings pin back badge in original box with felt lining. The box still retains the original paper tags to the inner lid and read Harry S. Wosk, San Diego. This store was a known retailer of these wings.
- Unattached Paramarine embroidered shoulder patch with felt background.
- Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal engraved Luther H, Magee / 1st Enlistment / 1937-1943
- Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with three combat stars
- American Defense Medal
- Service "A" uniform jacket, also known as the "pickle suit". Correct EGA collar pins and USMC buttons. Features Private chevrons on each sleeve and a beautiful early war Paramarine patch to left shoulder. The jacket is unmarked, approximate size US 36
- NCO USMC Visor Cap or cover approximate size US 7.
- Imperial Japanese Personal Ditty Bag
- Imperial Japanese Good Luck flag made of silk with multiple signatures in Kanji and temple stamps measuring approximately 30" x 42".
- Imperial Japanese National "meatball" flag made of silk measuring approximately 28" x 40" (some holes).
- Imperial Japanese National "meatball" flag made of silk with Yokohama Japan and Kanji symbols, made of silk measuring approximately 14" x 17".
- Imperial Japanese Cigarettes in unopened box.
- Imperial Japanese pistol ammunition in unopened box.
- Imperial Japanese Army Pilot Bullion Embroidered Wings Patch
- Imperial Japanese Medal Case
Established in 1940, the Paramarines were United States Marines who were trained as paratroopers. An all-volunteer force within the USMC, the Paramarines found themselves hamstrung by the Corps' lack of sufficient air assets for large scale aerial assaults, and like their counterparts with the Army Airborne and the German Fallschirmjaegers were used as an elite light infantry force. While never jumping en-masse, the Paramarines were active participants in the "island hopping" campaign in the Pacific, distinguishing themselves on Guadalcanal and other battlefields, with two Paramarines participating in the famous flag raising at Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. Much like their amphibious counterparts the Marine Raiders, the Paramarines were disbanded before war's end, limiting the production window for paratrooper-specific equipment.
The first cohort of Marines paratroopers trained at NAS Lakehurst in New Jersey in October 1940, eventually becoming the 1st Marine Parachute Battalion. They were followed by a second group in December 1940, forming the 2nd Marine Parachute Battalion. A third class trained at Camp Kearny in San Diego, California in early 1941, eventually forming the 3rd Marine Parachute Battalion. After the United States entered World War II, the training program was stepped up, and a special training camp and parachute training school was opened temporarily at Camp Elliott in San Diego in May 1942, next to Camp Kearny, moving to purpose-built accommodation nearby at Camp Gillespie in September 1942. A second training camp and parachute training school opened at Hadnot Point on the New River in North Carolina in June 1942, but closed in July 1943.
The 1st Parachute Battalion was attached to the 1st Marine Division for the invasion of Guadalcanal. On 7 August 1942 the unit conducted an amphibious assault on the small island of Gavutu and later seized the neighbouring island of Tanambogo with other Marine units. The battalion later moved to Guadalcanal fighting alongside the 1st Marine Raiders in the Tasimboko raid and the Battle of Edson's Ridge. The high casualties suffered by the Marine paratroopers led the battalion to be moved to Camp Kiser in Tontouta, New Caledonia in September. The 2nd Parachute Battalion performed a diversionary raid on Choiseul Island in October 1943 and later joined the 1st and 3rd Parachute Battalion on Bougainville.
The three parachute battalions with approximately 3,000 members, had become the 1st Marine Parachute Regiment, of the I Marine Amphibious Corps. Four parachute operations were planned but never executed.
However, the need for and cost of a parachute corps in the Marines was questioned, as were other specialized elite units, such as the Marine Raiders. The Marine Corps also lacked the transport aircraft required for a massed parachute drop. On 30 December 1943, Marine Commandant Thomas Holcomb ordered the 1st Marine Parachute Regiment to be disbanded, and along with the Marine Raider units, it officially ceased to exist on 29 February 1944.
Apart from a small group including Peter Julien Ortiz who parachuted into France as part of an Office of Strategic Services team to support the French Resistance, the Paramarines never dropped by parachute into combat, but were utilized during beach raids in the Pacific campaign, including at Guadalcanal. Paramarines at San Diego were transferred to the 5th Marine Division which landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. Former Paramarines, Cpl. Harlon H. Block and Pfc. Ira H. Hayes, assisted in the raising of the American flag on Mount Suribachi on 23 February 1945, depicted in Joe Rosenthal's iconic photograph. A third former Paramarine, Sgt. Henry O. "Hank" Hansen, had participated in the first American flag-raising earlier that day. 4 of the 82 Marine Medal of Honor recipients in World War II, were former Paramarines who were awarded the medal for their heroic actions on Iwo Jima.
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