Written By Nelson Donley, one of its members , for the 50th Anniversary at the 1995 Force Recon Association Reunion in St. Louis, Missouri
For those who served in the Force Reconnaissance Companies of today, it is important to know what has gone on in the past. The following is a brief synopsis of the Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion, from which the basic foundation of Force Reconnaissance operations began. Those Marines and Hospital Corpsmen did not have high-tech equipment. Their basic weapons were the M-1 rifle, Thompson Sub machine Gun, M-1 Carbine and the basic K-Bar Knife. When one looks at the young men in their 20's, you can see the same determined look in the faces of today's Force Recon Marines and Corpsmen.
The following was compiled and submitted by the current president of the Force Recon Association, Nelson C. Donley. It is a slice of their time in history and will always remain part of your heritage.
3 NOV 1943 Departed Pearl Harbor for Gilbert Islands on the submarine USS Nautilus.
18 NOV 1943 USS Nautilus depth-charged by the USS Ringgold, A U.S. destroyer, off Tarawa and Gilbert Islands. The USS Nautilus was hit in the Con by a 5 inch shell from the USS Ringgold.
26 NOV 1943 Left Apamama Atoll on troop transport in floating reserve for Tarawa landing.
5 DEC 1943 Disembarked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
23 JAN 1944 Left Pearl Harbor on the USS Kane for the Marshall Islands.
30 JAN 1944 Landed in the Marshall Islands. Reconnoitered 34 islands, including Majuro, Eniwetok and Kwajalien
28 FEB 1944 Left for Pearl Harbor on the USS Neville
7 MAR 1944 Arrived at Pearl Harbor
14 MAR 1944 Size of Amphib Recon Company doubled, companies "A" and "B" were formed. Trained at Camp Catlin(between Pearl Harbor and Honolulu).
28 MAY 1944 "B" Company left Pearl Harbor for the Marianas Islands on the USS Cambria. "A" Company left Hilo, Hawaii for the Marianas Islands on the USS Stringham. "A" Company was to land at night on 14 JUN 1944 (D-1) to take Tapotchau, Saipan. Mission aborted on 12 JUN 1944 (D-3).
15 JUN 1944 "B" Company arrived off Saipan. Went ashore in early wave.
7 JUN 1944 Both companies joined forces at Charan Konoa, Saipan.
11 JUL 1944In joint operation, Battalion made Reconnaissance landings at night on Tinian, checking landing sites for invasion. This was a swim-in operation. "A" Company worked off the USS Stringham and "B" Company worked off the USS Gilmer.
26 JUL 1944 Unit landed on Tinian.
7 AUG 1944 Left for Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Azalia City.
18 AUG 1944 Arrived at Pearl Harbor. Returned to Camp Catlin.
16 - 24 JAN 1945 "B" Company boarded USS Bladen for maneuvers around the Hawaiian Islands. Returned to Pearl Harbor and Camp Catlin.
27 JAN 1945 "B" Company left Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Bladen for Iwo Jima.
18 FEB 1945 Arrived off Iwo Jima to conduct Reconnaissance of beaches. Mission cancelled.19 FEB 1945"D-Day" on Iwo Jima.
21 FEB 1945 "B" Company went ashore on Iwo Jima.
13 MAR 1945 Secured Kama and Kangoku Rock off of Iwo Jima.
14 MAR 1945Left Iwo Jima aboard LST 784
19 MAR 1945 Arrived on Saipan for rest and new supplies.
MAR 1945 "A" Company debarked from Pearl Harbor on two ships, USS Scribner and USS Kinger. They went to Leyte, Phillippine Isalands for LCR training with the Army's 77th Division. Made several landings then left for Okinawa.
25 MAR 1945 "B" Company boarded USS Chase for Okinawa.
6 AUG 1945 Left Okinawa believing we were on our way to Pearl Harbor. After a day or so, we were advised that we were going to Guam for training to land on Japan. This was called "Operation Olympic".
11 AUG 1945 Arrived at Ulithin Atoll.
11 - 24 AUG 1945 Stayed aboard the USS Elkhart. Learned that the Japanese had surrendered. To celebrate this occasion, we were taken to one of the islands for a beer party. Each of us received two cans of beer.
24 AUG 1945 Transferred from USS Elkhart to USS President Johnson. (The USS Elkhart had been directed to go to the Phillippine Islands to pick up troops to go to Japan as occupational forces. If we had not gotten off the ship, we would have ended up in the Phillippines. The unit had one hour to get transferred off the ship.)
26 AUG 1945 Left Ulithin Atoll aboard the USS President Johnson for Pearl Harbor.
31 AUG 1945 Arrived off Eniwetok. Stayed aboard ship.
2 SEP 1945 Left Eniwetok
12 SEP 1945 Arrived at Pearl Harbor. Taken to Camp Catlin.
17 SEP 1945 Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion disbanded and most men were sent to Replacement Battalion at the Transient Center.
23 SEP 1945 Most of our unit left Pearl Harbor for the United States aboard LST 761.
4 OCT 1945 Arrived in San Diego late in the afternoon and required to stay aboard ship that night.
5 OCT 1945 Transferred from ship to Marine Corps Base, San Diego. (Today it is known as MCRD, San Diego)
Thanks to all Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion members for their input in helping us get the history of our unit. A special thanks to Jack Burke, Sam Lanford, Ray Lori and Colonel Silverthorn for the copies of their notes and diaries. It is probably not 100% correct, but it is close. If you have any additions or corrections, please contact us.