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  • Writer's pictureForce Recon Association

From one era to another...

Written By  Nelson Donley

On the 12th of September, 1945, the 1st Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion arrived at Camp Catlin, Territory of Hawaii at he finish of WWII.  On the 17th of September, 1945, the battalion was disbanded and most of the men were sent to a replacement battalion at the Transient Center.

On the 4th of October, 1945, they arrived in San Diego late in the afternoon and were required to stay aboard LST-761 that night.

On the 5th of October, 1945, the men disembarked the ship, transferring to Marine Corps Base San Diego ( now MCRD San Diego) and thus marking the end of the 1st Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion as the Marine Corps down-sized for peacetime.

In the 1950's, Amphibious Reconnaissance was reborn.  During the Korean Conflict there were two Amphibious Reconnaissance units: 1st Amphib Recon Company - west coast and 2nd Amphib Recon Company - east coast.  These two companies would use the submarines, ASSP # 313 Perch (west coast) and ASSP #315 Sea Lion (east coast) to conduct training in amphibious reconnaissance, raids, etc.

The lessons learned in WWII and Korea showed that the Marines selected for training in Amphibious Reconnaissance should possess superior mental and physical characteristics, swimming ability and known courage; in addition, the training would include physical fitness, swimming, scaling cliffs, long hikes, patrols with light rations for several days duration, crossing streams and rivers, map reading, compass, military signs and symbols, semaphore, blinker, use of radios, ability to observe and remember closely and accurately, make detailed reports of observations, sketching, camera use, hydrography, beach study, rubber boat training and handling for a day and night and weapon knowledge.

In 1953, or so, the "A" Cpmpany 1st Amphib Recon is thought to be credited with the birth of "AARUGHA!", or, as said now by some, " OOORAH!".  When Recon Marines were aboard the submarine ASSP Perch # 313 (WWII vintage) when it was about to dive, they would hear the words, "Dive! Dive! Dive!" followed by the Klaxon horn sounding the "AARUGHA, AARUGHA, AARUGHA" (just like on the old model A cars).

Sometime between 53 and 54, while on a conditioning run and singing out our cadence chants, someone in the company formation initiated the Klaxon Horn dive sound, "AARUGHA", and it was a natural for the Amphib Recon men from then on.

Former Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, John Massaro, was the Company Gunny of 1st Force Recon in the late 50's when he was transferred to MCRD, San Diego as Instructor at the DI school.  He took "AARUGHA" with him and passed it on to the DI students as they ran and they, in turn, passed it on to the recruits.  So, now you have the whole story.

In the following pages will be pictures from the early 50's era to 1957, when 1st Amphib Recon joined with MCTU #1 (or Test Unit #1) to form the basis for Force Recon as known today.

I would like to give credit and my thanks to CMDR Ray Willian Stubbe who wrote the manuscript of "AARUGHA" for the history of Force Recon from the beginning to the Vietnam War.

Wayne Pilny, 1st Amphib Recon 53/54

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