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24th Marine Regiment

24th Marines conducts training to prepare for employment as a Regiment tasked to plan and conduct combat operations in order to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, or to repel his assault by close combat. The 24th Marines is one of three infantry regiments in the Fourth Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, United States Marine Corps.

The two-fold mission of 24th Marines is to provide a well-trained and credible force, capable of rapidly mobilizing to augment or reinforce active duty Marine Corps forces participating in missions ranging from humanitarian/peacekeeping operations to major conflicts, in time of war, national emergency or contingency operations and during in peacetime to provided operation tempo relief for active forces throughout the spectrum of operations including Joint and Combined Operations. In addition to the implied task of continuously training, maintaining, and improving our warfighting capabilities, 24th Marines second, but equal, mission is to provide service to the local community. Marines and Sailors throughout the Regiment, actively participate in and support community events. Besides providing casualty assistance, funeral support, and color guards, 24th Marines works in conjunction with the Marine Corps Coordinating Council, the Marine Corps and Navy Leagues and other local civic and fraternal organizations to conduct a wide range of community projects and support activities.

The 24th Marine Regiment was activated at Camp Pendleton, California on 26 March 1943. All three battalions were organized at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina prior to activation of the Regimental Headquarters. 1st Battalion, 24th Marines formed on 19 October 1942; 2d Battalion, 24th Marines on 20 January 1943; 3d Battalion, 24th Marines on 1 February 1943. In August of that same year the Regiment was attached to the newly created 4th Marine Division.

The Regiment began movement to the combat zone in January 1944 when it sailed from San Diego, California for the enemy held Marshall Islands. The first combat assignment for the Regiment was to take part in the seizure of Roi-Namur, twin islands in the Kwajalein Atoll. On 1 February the Regiment assaulted Namur. The 2d and 3d Battalions led the attack. On moving inland the Regiment met strong resistance. Second Battalion suffered especially heavy casualties, primarily due to the explosion of an enemy ammunition dump. The island was completely wrested from the Japanese by the following day. The 24th Marines reembarked and sailed for Hawaii two days later. While stationed there, 24th Marines took part in the preparations for the invasion of the Mariana Islands.

Saipan was the first objective of the Mariana Island Campaign for the Regiment. The 24th Marines were originally placed in reserve. However, heavy fighting on the day of the landing, 15 June 1944, forced the call-up of the Regiment. 24th Marines went ashore that afternoon joining other Marine units from the 2d and 4th Marine Divisions in pushing inland. The Japanese stubbornly resisted the invading Americans until 9 July when the island was declared secure.

American military forces in the Marianas next turned their attention to the neighboring island of Tinian. The 24th Marines had a leading role in the campaign to seize Tinian. The Regiment was in the first wave to hit the beaches. Enemy opposition was quickly overcome and the 24th Marines rapidly moved inland. By 1 August organized resistance had ended with the island under American control. The Regiment returned to Hawaii at the end of the month.

In Hawaii, the 24th Marines received replacements for losses suffered in the Marianas and started training for its toughest battle of World War II - Iwo Jima. In late January 1945, the 24th Marines embarked and sailed for the Japanese stronghold, landing on 19 February with other 4th Marine Division units. From the very beginning of the operation the 24th Marines remained locked in battle, often in hand-to-hand combat. The last enemy pocket of resistance was finally crushed on 16 March. The Regiment was relieved two days later and immediately boarded naval vessels and returned to Hawaii. The ferocity of the campaign was reflected by the great number of casualties incurred by the 24th Marines. The Regiment suffered 652 killed and 1053 wounded.

The 24th Marines remained in Hawaii until October when it was ordered back to California, where it was deactivated on 31 October 1945. In 1962 the Marine Corps Reserve began a reorganization process which eventually led to the formation of the 4th Marine Division/Wing Concept.

The three battalions of 24th Marines were activated on 1 July 1962. The Regimental Headquarters was not reactivated until 1 February 1966. In July 1962, the 4th Infantry Battalion of New Orleans, was re-designated as 3d Battalion, 24th Marines. The New Orleans unit contained the battalion headquarters, H&S Company and I Company while Companies M, K and L were located in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Shreveport, respectively. From 1962-1967, the unit performed ATD at Coronado, Camp Lejeune, Twenty-Nine Palms and Camp Pendelton. The New Orleans Marines proudly passed the traditions of 3/24 on to the Marines of Illinois, Kansas and Missouri, when on 1 February 1967, the former 3d Infantry Battalion, USMCR, was re-designated as 3d Battalion, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division, USMCR.

In November 1990 the 24th Marines were activated for participation in Operation DESERT SHIELD. Initially, the Regiment deployed to Camp Pendleton, California for work-up training. In January 1991, demonstrating the flexibility of the Regiment, 1st Battalion deployed to Okinawa, Japan, for duty with 3d Marine Division. The remainder of the 24th Marines deployed to Saudi Arabia for duty with I MEF in support of operations against enemy forces in Kuwait. The Anti-Tank (TOW) Platoon, 24th Marines was in support of 2d Marine Division. From 16 January to 28 February the 24th Marines participated in Operation DESERT STORM.

During Operation Desert Storm the integration of Marine Reservists into the force went very well. The response rate to the callup was nearly 99 percent and reflected a high level of morale. Apart from the 24th Marines, most Reservists deployed as battalions, squadrons, and companies, or as reinforcement detachments.

The largest of the Reserve units mobilized was the 24th Marines, headquartered in Kansas City, which assumed the rear area security mission for the force in January 1991. The story of their deployment was typical of the Marine Reserve experience in the Gulf.

The regiment mustered about 1,716 personnel and consisted of a headquarters company and three rifle battalions spread throughout drill sites in the mid-west. Its commander was Colonel George E. Germann, a regular officer and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy with a devotion toward physical fitness. The battalions received their activation orders on 13 November and most of the officers reported on 22 November. The enlisted personnel-- many of them college students -- arrived by 29 November. Some members of the regular inspector-instructor staff deployed with the unit, some reported to combat replacement companies, and others remained at their stateside posts.

The regiment's 1st Battalion deployed to Okinawa where it filled a vacated slot as part of the unit deployment program. After administrative and medical screening at 14 local training centers in places like Danville, Illinois, and Johnson City, Tennessee, the remaining companies drew their equipment and flew to Camp Lejeune during the first week in December. There, they formed into their usual battalions, the 2d under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Francis A. Johnson, and the 3d under Lieutenant Colonel Ronald G. Guwilliams. After a brief training cycle that included weapon firing and chemical warfare training, the regiment flew into Jubayl on 1-3 January 1991.

By early January 1991 the I Marine Expeditionary Force (Rear) was defended by the 24th Marines, the two-battalion Reserve regiment from Kansas City, which had just arrived from Camp Lejeune. Conventional doctrine called for rear area security to be drawn from supported units, and up to this point 1st Force Service Support Group had provided the troops for the mission. But now Lieutenant General Boomer wanted to dedicate that group's specialists solely to the tremendous task of shifting combat service support north for the offensive. The 24th Marines were a ready-made solution to the problem of providing security to many dispersed sites. Each of its companies was capable of independent duty and the companies were unusually cohesive, having trained together for years at local centers throughout the mid-west. Colonel George E. Germann, the regimental commander, deployed units in platoon and company strength along a 200-mile chain of locations from Bahrain to Mishab, shifting them promptly as needs changed.

In April 1991, the Regiment redeployed to the United States. In June, the 1st Battalion redeployed from Okinawa to Detroit.

On 25 October 1996, the Regimental Headquarters building was officially dedicated as Dyess Hall, after LtCol A. J. Dyess, USMCR, former Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism above and beyond the call of duty on the island of Roi-Namur during World War II.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to to close Marine Corps Support Activity, Kansas City, MO. However, it also recommended to retain an enclave for the 24th Marine Regiment at the Kansas City installation. Relocating these functions would remove the primary missions from Marine Corps Support Activity Kansas City and would either eliminate or move the entirety of the workforce except for those personnel associated with the 9th Marine Corps District and 24th Marine Regiment. This recommendation would close the Marine Corps Support Activity but would retain an enclave for these organizations.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:17:51 ZULU