When thinking of Marine Corps actions that helped shape U.S. history, one usually conjures images of young Marines laying down their lives on a far-off battlefield. Corporal Louis J. Hauge Jr., for example, died while rushing a Japanese machine-gun emplacement on Okinawa. Sergeant Matej Kocak used his bayonet to clear out a German fortification at Soissons, France, in 1918. Then there is Second Lieutenant John P. Bobo, who, when attacked by North Vietnamese soldiers after having his right leg severed below the knee by a mortar round, continued to fight back, jamming his leg into the dirt to prevent blood loss. All three of these men died in combat and received Medals of Honor. In the 1980s their names were affixed to three new classes of vessels that emphasized the forward-deployed mission of the Corps and continued a bond between Marines and the civilian merchant mariners who crewed them during Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Restore Hope, and Iraqi Freedom.
Semper Sealift - Second Prize, 2015 Naval History Essay Contest: Marine Corps Actions Shaping History
The partnership between the U.S. Marine Corps and Merchant Marine—a relationship that began in the 18th century—is now best exemplified by maritime prepositioning.
By Salvatore R. Mercogliano