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Sunday, June 06, 2004


This weekend (June 2004) marks the 60th anniversary of the Normandy invasion of WW II. There has been much ado in the media and so forth regarding the massive Normandy "amphibious invasion," Ike's brilliant planning and execution, courage, heroism, etc.--and rightfully so.The Normandy invasion is often regarded as the largest amphibious operation in history; some have even compared the amphibious landings in the Pacific as miniscule in comparison.

In perusing the book, Soldiers Of The Sea-The United States Marine Corps, 1775-1962, by Robert Debs Heinl, Jr., Colonel, USMC (The National Aviation Publishing Company of America, Baltimore, Maryland, 1991, page 513), I find an interesting remark by the author regarding the above.

"Under atomic attack, the World war II amphibious assault was finished. Normandy (more a ferrying operation than a true oceanic amphibious assault in any case) and Okinawa would never be repeated."

Of course, there was another amphibious landing, at Inchon in 1950.

Although Col. Heinl's mention of Normandy, above, is not much more than an aside comment and not the main thrust of his point regarding amphibious assault in general, his remark does, I think, sum up and define the major difference between the Normandy Invasion and Marine Corps amphibious operations in the Pacific. And he does so in a very few words, and in a more correct light than is usually perceived.

I like Colonel Heinl's insights into historical Marine Corps topics as he is always most thorough, and he delves into areas usually left untouched by other writers. Then, too, Heinl's book sports a photo by S/Sgt Lou Lowery (Leatherneck magazine) of the Iwo Jima Flag Raising; not the Joe Rosenthal version, mind you, but the first flag raising that preceeded the "replacemnet flag" raising some time later, which was captured on motion-picture film by Sgt Genaust, and photographed by Rosenthal. But, then, this is an area of special interest to me.

And also, part of the book title says it all, and immediately gains my attention--"...1775-1962," for it was those years that I find as most significant, and interesting for me.

Semper Fidelis
Richard Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
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By R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
Semper Fidelis
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