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Parris Island AG-72 - History

Parris Island AG-72 - History


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Parris Island
(AG-72: dp. 850; 1. 184'6", b. 33', dr. 9', s. 20 k., cpl. 110
a. 20 and 40mm.)

PCE-901 was laid down 10 May 1943 by Willamette Iron and Steel Corp., Portland, Oreg.; launched 8 July 1943; reclassified as Parris Island (AG-72) 28 April 1944, and placed in service 30 October 1944.

Parris Island was assigned to the Commandant 13th Naval District 14 November 1944, upon completion of shakedown trials, and was transferred to the 11th Naval District 26 November. She performed coastal duties until she was placed out of service 19 Junc 1947. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register 1 August 1947 and turned over to the Maritime Commission 20 January 1948 at San Diego, Calif.

In 1948, Parris Island was sold to Honduran registry. She retained her original name, serving as SS Parris Island, and continues in this capacity into 1970.


Seeking Parris Island boot camp photos of Robert Lee Robison

How to find boot camp photos of Robert Lee Robison at Parris Island, SC? He was there in August 1945 for the US Marine Corps?

Re: Seeking Parris Island boot camp photos of Robert Lee Robison
Jason Atkinson 02.12.2020 13:09 (в ответ на Don Robison)

Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

In many instances, the instructor of a training facility paid for a civilian photographer to come to the base to take pictures. These photographs sometimes were filed in the records of the military unit but oftentimes they were distributed to the individual members without a permanent copy being kept.

If a group photograph was taken by the Marine Corps or other official military photographers, then the photograph would be considered permanent records and are part of the photograph collections in the custody of the National Archives at College Park - Still Pictures (RDSS). Please contact RDSS via email at [email protected] for more information about these photographs.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDSS . We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.

We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

Re: Seeking Parris Island boot camp photos of Robert Lee Robison

Maybe I can help you out.  My father completed boot August 1945 at Parris Island.  What platoon did Robert complete his basic training? 


Oldest Recruit In the History of Parris Island

APRIL 6, 2021 – The average age of a United States Marine Corps recruit is 21 years old. When Paul Douglas enlisted in 1942, he left behind his wife, child, and career and reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island at the ripe age of 50.

Even though thousands of visitors have walked the halls of the Douglas Visitor Center, very few know the story of the man behind the namesake, who became the oldest recruit in the history of Parris Island.

Born in 1892, Douglas embarked on a career as an economics professor, teaching at multiple universities across America from 1916-1942. In 1939 Douglas ran for Chicago City Council and won.

By 1942, Douglas had made many acquaintances in high places namely Frank Knox, an associate he befriended during his tenure at the Chicago Daily News who later became Secretary of the Navy. With a little help from Knox, Douglas enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a private, five months after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, as the country was plunged into a second world war. Douglas had wanted to see combat and fight for his country, so with his connections in the naval service the Marine Corps became the most logical choice.

Now the 50-year-old famed economist, professor and politician found himself at the command of drill instructors whom he was old enough to have fathered. After completing boot camp, Douglas proudly wrote “I found myself able to take the strenuous boot camp training without asking for a moment’s time out and without visiting the sick bay.”

After impressing his command during boot camp, Douglas was assigned to the personnel classification section on Parris Island. With influence from his connections in the Roosevelt administration, three weeks later he passed a test to be promoted to corporal, and one month after that, staff sergeant. Following a recommendation from his commanding officer (and a strong recommendation from his old friend Frank Knox,) Douglas was commissioned as a captain in the Marine Corps, after seven months as an enlisted Marine.

During the battle of Peleliu, while serving as the division adjutant to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, Captain Douglas made trips to the front lines to evacuate the wounded and dead men. During one of these trips Douglas saw that the men were in desperate need of flamethrower and rocket launcher ammo. He swiftly returned to the rear and hand-delivered the men the ammo under heavy mortar and small arms fire. For these heroic actions, Douglas would be awarded the Bronze Star medal. Later into the campaign at Peleliu, Douglas came under fire and was hit by a piece of shrapnel, for which he received his first Purple Heart medal.

Douglas went on to serve in the battle of Okinawa, often being remembered by Marines for running around the battlefield with the vigor of a much younger Marine. He was promoted to major during the battle of Okinawa. Pfc. Paul E. Ison stated that it was after the major had pulled his demolition team aside to assist in resupplying ammo to the front lines that he noticed Douglas had been injured.

Douglas had been hit by a machine gun in his left forearm and was evacuated by the men that he had dedicated his life to serving. After being hit, he proceeded to use his uninjured hand to take off his major rank insignia so that he wouldn’t receive special attention.

“All of us have standards by which we measure other men. Paul Douglas is one of the finest, bravest and truest men that I have known during my lifetime.” Emily Douglas, Paul Douglas’ wife

Ison said, “If I live to be 100 years old I will never forget this scene. There, lying on the ground, bleeding from his wound was a white-haired Marine major. He had been hit by a machine gun bullet. Although he was in pain, he was calm and I have never seen such dignity in a man. He was saying ‘Leave me here. Get the young men out first. I have lived my life. Please let them live theirs.”

Douglas expressed passionate interest in returning early to his men to continue serving on the front lines. He was hospitalized in San Francisco and subsequently moved to Bethesda, Maryland where it took more than 14 months to be dismissed from the hospital and was medically retired from the Marine Corps, only regaining partial use of his left hand.

Noting his unusual bravery, an officer who served under Douglas said “No one could keep the major out of the front lines. He loves his boys and was right in there with them all the time.”

In his command it had been a normal sight to see Douglas waiting in the back of the chow hall line while fellow officers skipped to the front of the line, picking up garbage so that young Marines wouldn’t have to, and anything else he could do to assist the men under him. All accounts of men who served with him said that he was greatly admired by his Marines.

Commenting on the importance of honoring Douglas and his actions through dedicating a building to him, Dr. Stephen Wise, the director of the Parris Island History Museum stated “It’s important to remember Marines who made an impact and influenced the Marine Corps in a positive direction. Douglas was the oldest individual to go through Parris Island, he could have stayed safely on ship and he chose not to we want people to remember these men and their actions.”

Because of his brave actions under fire and unselfish service he was promoted to lieutenant colonel a year after he retired in January of 1947. After returning to Chicago as a war hero, Douglas won his spot as Illinois state senator in 1949. When running for senator the opposing candidate refused to debate him, so Douglas sat down and debated an empty chair, switching chairs and answering for his opponent. He was noted for his support of Dr. Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement and advocating for just treatment of Americans. He served in that position for 18 years until retiring at 74 years of age.

In 1977, Parris Island visitor’s center was named in Douglas’s honor. His wife, Emily Douglas spoke to the tribute Parris Island had bestowed upon her late husband.

“Later in his life many honors came to my husband. But there is none that would have so touched him, made him so astonished as well as thrilled, as having his name associated here at Parris Island.”

Even in public office Douglas continued to advocate for the Marine Corps, and proudly kept the Marine Corps standard displayed in office.

“All of us have standards by which we measure other men. Paul Douglas is one of the finest, bravest and truest men that I have known during my lifetime. It was an honor to have been associated with him, to have shared danger with him and to have observed his nobility of character when he was wounded and asked to be left behind so that younger men might live.”


Parris Island AG-72 - History

Pvt. Paul Douglas, age 50, preforms a rifle inspection with his drill instructor aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot S.C., 1942. Douglas, at age 50 was the oldest recruit in the history of Parris Island, and went on to become a purple heart recipient and Chicago senator. (Marine Corps photograph)

The average age of a United States Marine Corps recruit is 21 years old. When Paul Douglas enlisted in 1942, he left behind his wife, child, and career and reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island at the ripe age of 50.

Even though thousands of visitors have walked the halls of the Douglas Visitor Center, very few know the story of the man behind the namesake, who became the oldest recruit in the history of Parris Island.

Born in 1892, Douglas embarked on a career as an economics professor, teaching at multiple universities across America from 1916-1942. In 1939 Douglas ran for Chicago City Council and won.

By 1942, Douglas had made many acquaintances in high places namely Frank Knox, an associate he befriended during his tenure at the Chicago Daily News who later became Secretary of the Navy. With a little help from Knox, Douglas enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a private, five months after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, as the country was plunged into a second world war. Douglas had wanted to see combat and fight for his country, so with his connections in the naval service the Marine Corps became the most logical choice.

Pvt. Paul Douglas, age 50, preforms pistol qualification aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot S.C., 1942. Douglas, at age 50 was the oldest recruit in the history of Parris Island, and went on to become a purple heart recipient and Chicago senator. (Marine Corps photograph)

Now the 50-year-old famed economist, professor and politician found himself at the command of drill instructors whom he was old enough to have fathered. After completing boot camp, Douglas proudly wrote “I found myself able to take the strenuous boot camp training without asking for a moment’s time out and without visiting the sick bay.”

After impressing his command during boot camp, Douglas was assigned to the personnel classification section on Parris Island. With influence from his connections in the Roosevelt administration, three weeks later he passed a test to be promoted to corporal, and one month after that, staff sergeant. Following a recommendation from his commanding officer (and a strong recommendation from his old friend Frank Knox,) Douglas was commissioned as a captain in the Marine Corps, after seven months as an enlisted Marine.

During the battle of Peleliu, while serving as the division adjutant to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, Captain Douglas made trips to the front lines to evacuate the wounded and dead men. During one of these trips Douglas saw that the men were in desperate need of flamethrower and rocket launcher ammo. He swiftly returned to the rear and hand-delivered the men the ammo under heavy mortar and small arms fire. For these heroic actions, Douglas would be awarded the Bronze Star medal. Later into the campaign at Peleliu, Douglas came under fire and was hit by a piece of shrapnel, for which he received his first Purple Heart medal.

Emily Douglas speaks at the official renaming of the Douglas visitor’s center, named after her husband Paul Douglas on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., 1977. Douglas, at age 50 was the oldest recruit in the history of Parris Island, and went on to become a purple heart recipient and Chicago senator. (Marine Corps photograph)

Douglas went on to serve in the battle of Okinawa, often being remembered by Marines for running around the battlefield with the vigor of a much younger Marine. He was promoted to major during the battle of Okinawa. Pfc. Paul E. Ison stated that it was after the major had pulled his demolition team aside to assist in resupplying ammo to the front lines that he noticed Douglas had been injured.

Douglas had been hit by a machine gun in his left forearm and was evacuated by the men that he had dedicated his life to serving. After being hit, he proceeded to use his uninjured hand to take off his major rank insignia so that he wouldn’t receive special attention.

Ison said, “If I live to be 100 years old I will never forget this scene. There, lying on the ground, bleeding from his wound was a white-haired Marine major. He had been hit by a machine gun bullet. Although he was in pain, he was calm and I have never seen such dignity in a man. He was saying ‘Leave me here. Get the young men out first. I have lived my life. Please let them live theirs.”

Douglas expressed passionate interest in returning early to his men to continue serving on the front lines. He was hospitalized in San Francisco and subsequently moved to Bethesda, Md., where it took more than 14 months to be dismissed from the hospital and was medically retired from the Marine Corps, only regaining partial use of his left hand.

Noting his unusual bravery, an officer who served under Douglas said “No one could keep the major out of the front lines. He loves his boys and was right in there with them all the time.”

In his command, it had been a normal sight to see Douglas waiting in the back of the chow hall line while fellow officers skipped to the front of the line, picking up garbage so that young Marines wouldn’t have to, and anything else he could do to assist the men under him. All accounts of men who served with him said that he was greatly admired by his Marines.

Commenting on the importance of honoring Douglas and his actions through dedicating a building to him, Dr. Stephen Wise, the director of the Parris Island History Museum stated “It’s important to remember Marines who made an impact and influenced the Marine Corps in a positive direction. Douglas was the oldest individual to go through Parris Island, he could have stayed safely on ship and he chose not to we want people to remember these men and their actions.”

Pvt. Paul Douglas, age 50, preforms rifle qualification aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot S.C., 1942. Douglas, at age 50 was the oldest recruit in the history of Parris Island, and went on to become a purple heart recipient and Chicago senator. (Marine Corps photograph)

Because of his brave actions under fire and unselfish service he was promoted to lieutenant colonel a year after he retired in January of 1947. After returning to Chicago as a war hero, Douglas won his spot as Illinois state senator in 1949. When running for senator the opposing candidate refused to debate him, so Douglas sat down and debated an empty chair, switching chairs and answering for his opponent. He was noted for his support of Dr. Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement and advocating for just treatment of Americans. He served in that position for 18 years until retiring at 74 years of age.

In 1977, Parris Island visitor’s center was named in Douglas’s honor. His wife, Emily Douglas spoke to the tribute Parris Island had bestowed upon her late husband.

“Later in his life many honors came to my husband. But there is none that would have so touched him, made him so astonished as well as thrilled, as having his name associated here at Parris Island.”

Even in public office Douglas continued to advocate for the Marine Corps, and proudly kept the Marine Corps standard displayed in office.

“All of us have standards by which we measure other men. Paul Douglas is one of the finest, bravest and truest men that I have known during my lifetime. It was an honor to have been associated with him, to have shared danger with him and to have observed his nobility of character when he was wounded and asked to be left behind so that younger men might live.”


LHD started in 2004 by two volunteers who wanted to give back to the Marine Corps by improving the historical program provided to recruits. The concept was to give a 20-30 minute presentation by living history &ldquointerpreters&rdquo complete with period-correct uniforms, equipment and weapons. In addition to history classes for recruits, the Detachment participates with the Recruit Training Battalions on the &ldquoCrucible,&rdquo and the &ldquoEagle, Globe and Anchor&rdquo ceremony. LHD has been able to provide recruit presentations on at least 10 weekends a year, as well as participate in other local and out-of-state events.

LHD does presentations to Marine Corps recruits, Active/Reserve units, recruiting stations, Marine Corps associations, Depot ceremonies, and to National and State parks travel exhibits and historical demonstrations for schools, air shows, re-enactments, and parades and provides consultants, tour guides and narrators for the Depot&rsquos Command Museum.

LHD has been the centerpiece Marine representation for the largest World War Two event in the country conducted annually the first weekend in June at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum in Reading, PA. The Detachment has been the subject of five news articles and part of a New York Times video article.

In 2007 the founding member of LHD received a Commanding General&rsquos Certificate of Commendation for his contribution to recruit training and recruiting. Also in 2007, LHD was recognized for their efforts by Patriot&rsquos Point in Charleston, SC, and was appointed the official Marine Detachment for the USS Yorktown Museum.

In 2009, the Detachment was recognized nationally by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and was the recipient of the Colonel Magruder Award for excellence in depicting Marine Corps history.

Membership to the Detachment is not limited to Marines &ldquoout of uniform,&rdquo and is made up of individuals with diverse military experience. A common factor among its members is the desire and dedication to &ldquodo it right,&rdquo honor veterans and pass along Marine heritage in a unique way. LHD has Marine Corps equipment, uniforms and weapons spanning the 20th century so that interested individuals are not initially required to purchase their gear to participate. Members of the Detachment are required to join the Historical Society.


Parris Island AG-72 - History

USS Parris Island (AG-72) on 25 October 1944.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class: PARRIS ISLAND (AG-72)
Design: Navy PCE
Displacement (tons): 550 light, 850 trial
Dimensions (feet): 184.5' oa, 180.0' wl x 33.0' e x
Original Armament: 2-20mm
Later armaments: --
Complement: 98 (1944)
Speed (kts.): 15.7
Propulsion (HP): 1,800
Machinery: G.M. diesels, 2 screws

Construction:

AG Name Reclas. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
72 PARRIS ISLAND 28 Apr 44 Willamette Iron & Steel 29 Jan 43 8 Jul 43 30 Oct 44

Disposition:
AG Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
72 PARRIS ISLAND 19 Jun 47 1 Aug 47 20 Jan 48 MC 19 Jan 48

Class Notes:
FY 1942 (as PCE). This ship was one of many 180-foot PC's (later PCE's) whose construction was directed on 17 Jan 42. At this time the Navy was looking everywhere for vessels that could be pressed into escort service, and in March 1942 the commander of the U.S. Destroyer Base at San Diego proposed restoring the old four-piper destroyer TURNER (DD-259), which had been demilitarized in 1936 but retained as a non-self-propelled water barge, YW-36. In forwarding this proposal the Commandant, 11th Naval District, noted that there was an extreme need for a water, cargo, and passenger ferry vessel to support the Fleet Training Base on San Clemente Island and proposed that this mission be assigned to the former destroyer. This ship was reclassified IX-98 and named MOOSEHEAD in February 1943 and entered service in April 1943 as a sonar training ship with the collateral mission of supporting San Clemente.

During the summer of 1943 MOOSEHEAD made three round trips a week to San Clemente and two service craft, YF-270 and YO-45, each made two, but the Navy wanted to use the former destroyer exclusively on training service and on 18 Aug 43 VCNO asked BuShips to study the feasibility of converting a PCE to a logistic support ship for San Clemente Island. She was to be capable of carrying 200 passengers, 58 tons of provisions and other cargo, and 27 tons of refrigerated cargo to the island three times a week, along with occasional cargoes of heavy equipment. The Bureau responded on 1 Oct 43 with three conversion designs, and CominCh approved one of these on 14 Oct 43. Com11 found this design inadequate, but on 20 Dec 43 CNO directed the Bureau to proceed with the PCE conversion. The Superintendent of Shipbuilding at Portland, Ore., was asked on 31 Dec to recommend a hull at Albina to be converted during construction. On 4 Jan 44 he recommended PCE-901, and the Bureau approved the selection on 10 Jan 44. PCE-901 was reclassified AG-72 and named PARRIS ISLAND on 28 Apr 44.

The conversion consisted of moving the superstructure aft, installing cargo handling booms forward and aft, installing refrigerated machinery, and providing holds for 27 tons of refrigerated cargo (between frames 23 and 32, with vegetable storage to port and meat to starboard) and 58 tons of dry cargo. All armament except 2-20mm guns was removed, echo ranging gear was deleted, radio and fathometer were retained, but no radar or IFF was authorized.

PCE-901 had been laid down in January 1943 at Portland, Oregon, and launched that July. Her completion following conversion was initially estimated as mid-September 1944, but a San Clemente support ship was needed long before then and on 30 Jan 44 the new but unconverted PCE-873 was temporarily assigned to this duty. This vessel operated as a sonar training ship and occasional San Clemente resupply vessel until 30 Oct 44, when she began conversion to PCEC-873. On 6 Oct 44 CNO specified that AG-72 was to be placed in service, not in commission. The ship was completed, accepted, and placed in service on 30 Oct 44 and reported to the 11th Naval District on 26 Nov 44 after shakedown.

PARRIS ISLAND was earmarked for disposal on 21 Sep 45 but was given a reprieve and reassigned back to the 11th Naval District on 4 Mar 46. She was definitively designated for disposal on 21 May 47 and was decommissioned and delivered to the Maritime Commission at San Diego. The ship was sold into merchant service in January 1948 to a Honduran fruit transportation firm and finally met her end in the early 1990s in a backwater near Norfolk, Va.


History

For thousands of years Parris Island was home to American Indians. In the 1520s the island was explored by Spanish seafarers. From 1562 to 1563, the French colony known as Charlesfort was located on Parris Island. The French were followed in 1566 by the Spanish who built the fortified village of Santa Elena, which served as the capital of Spanish Florida. Santa Elena was abandoned in 1587 and English colonists came to the region in the late 1660s. In 1735, descendants of Alexander Parris, owner and namesake of the Island, settled on Parris Island.

During the antebellum period, Parris Island was home to numerous Cotton Plantations worked by hundreds of African slaves. After the Civil War, a small farming community for former slaves lived on the island. In the 1880s a naval station was located on Parris Island, and in 1891 a Marine detachment arrived under the command of 1st Sergeant Richard Donovan. By the early 20th century the majority of the naval activity had been shifted to Charleston, S.C., and on Nov. 1, 1915, the Marine Corps established a recruit depot on Parris Island.

Military buildings and homes constructed between 1891 and World War I form the nucleus of the Parris Island Historic District. At the district’s center are the Commanding General’s home, a 19th century wooden dry dock and a turn-of-the-century gazebo, all of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

On Nov. 1, 1915, male recruit training commenced and has continued since.

Prior to 1929, all transportation to and from the island was by ferry from Port Royal docks
to the Recruit Depot docks. In that year, the causeway and a bridge over Archer’s Creek were completed, thus ending the water transportation era. The causeway was dedicated the General
E. Pollock Memorial Causeway in April 1984.

During the fateful December 1941, 5,272 recruits arrived here with 9,206 arriving the following month, making it necessary to add the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Training Battalions. As the war influx continued, five battalions were sent to New River, N.C., to train and the Depot expanded to 13 battalions.

From 1941 through 1945, 204,509 recruits were trained here. At the time of the Japanese surrender, more than 20,000 recruits were aboard the Depot.

On Feb. 15, 1949, a separate command was activated for the sole purpose of training female Marine recruits. This command has since been designated the 4th Recruit Training Battalion and is the only such battalion in existence.

When the Korean War began in 1950, 2,350 recruits were in training. March 1952 marked the peak load with a recruit presence totaling 24,494. When the 1st Marine Division was withdrawn from Korea, Parris Island drill instructors had trained more than 138,000 recruits.

The recruit tide again flooded during
the years of the Vietnam War. A peak training load of 10,979 was reached during March 1966.

Today, nearly 19,000 recruits are trained at Parris Island each year. Technological advances balanced with environmental concerns have enabled the island to grow into one of the most efficient and picturesque military reservations in the world.

MCAS BEAUFORT SQUADRON HISTORIES

Headquarters and
Headquarters Squadron

The lineage, history and mission of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron is in line with that of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

Personnel assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron operate the facilities that provide a home and a base of operations to FMF tenant units of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and 2nd Marine Logistics Group. Marine Aircraft Group 31 is the primary tenant command and consists of seven fighter attack squadrons, which fly and maintain all active duty East Coast Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets and includes MALS-31.

Activated as Marine Corps Auxiliary Airfield in January 1955, the area was
re-designated as Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station June 1956. On March 1, 1960, the auxiliary air station was re-designated a Marine Corps Air Station. The airfield at MCAS Beaufort was named Merritt Field in honor of Major General Lewie Merritt, USMC (retired), on Sept. 19, 1975.

The military population of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron is approximately 700 Marine and Navy personnel.

Our mission is to provide a total quality environment to enhance all tenant activities in the accomplishment of their assigned missions. This includes operating support aircraft, ensuring environmentally sound facilities and practices, providing quality services while utilizing our available resources, nurturing quality-of-life programs and conducting pro-active community relations.

The awards presented to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort include the Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer and the National Defense Service Streamer with one bronze star.

Combat Logistics Company 23

Combat Logistics Company 23 was activated as Combat Service Support Detachment 23, Detachment “B,” 2nd Force Service Support Group, on Nov. 26, 1976, to support Fleet Marine Force Atlantic units at Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, S.C. The name change from CSSD-23 to Combat Logistics Company 23 was made official in April 2005. The change came as part of a sweeping transformation of FSSGs to more effectively support current and future war fighting requirements. The unit will be referred to as CSSD-23 in portions of their history.

CLC-23 consists of an intermediate Maintenance shop, Supply section, Information Systems Management Officer and Medical section.

The primary mission of Det “B” was third echelon maintenance support on tactical motor transport and engineer equipment.

During April 10 through 14, 1978, the detachment participated in its first major support operation “Operation Night Owl.” On May 4, 1981, General Support Unit personnel were assigned to 2d FSSG Det “B” to support ADPE-FMF operations at MCAS Beaufort.

Over several months in 1984 to 1985, Detachment “B” supported the Marines in Lebanon and naval personnel on ships by deploying Marines from various ships within the unit, with skills ranging from heavy equipment operators and mechanics to computer programmers.

On July 22, 1987, Detachment “B” was re-designated as Combat Service Support Detachment Two-Three.

In 1990, the detachment provided a contact team to support Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 during movement to Florida in support of Operation Desert Shield. In June 1991, an additional thirteen Marines deployed to Southwest Asia as part of Combat Service Support Element, Military Prepositioning Force Reconstitution.

From 1994 to 1995, members of CSSD-23 augmented Joint Task Force 160 in Operation Sea Signal in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. JTF-160 took care of the significant migration of Haitians and Cubans, which required significant humanitarian assistance and security on naval base Guantanamo, Cuba.

In December 2001, the Commanding General, 2d Force Service Support Group approved a new detachment logo. The new logo was more descriptive of the maintenance mission of the now “Roughnecks” and displayed an F/A-18 Hornet to illustrate the direct role the detachment’s mission has on keeping MAG-31 flying by helping to keep MWWS-273’s ground equipment up and running.

In January 2002, 41 Marines and Sailors were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom I (OIF-I).

In December 2002, Combat Service Support Detachment 23 increased it’s capability by assuming the 3d echelon maintenance of small arms, as well as establishing the Combat Service Support Detachment 23 ATLASS II help desk in support of all II MEF units located at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

From 2003 to 2004, elements of CSSD-23 participated in support of the Global War on Terrorism, Horn of Africa.

In 2004, elements participated in support of Operation Secure Tomorrow, in Haiti.

Today Roughnecks from CLC-23 continue to support individual augment requirements in support of the Global War on Terrorism, while those at MCAS Beaufort continue to provide critical support of the units stationed here.

Marine Aircraft Group 31

Marine Aircraft Group 31 was commissioned at Cherry Point, N.C., on February 1943. From October 1943 to Oct. 12, 1945, the Group operated throughout the Pacific Area and played an integral part in the battle for Okinawa. Subsequent to the seizure of Okinawa, MAG-31 squadrons continued their part in the war conducting operations from Yantan Airfield on the island. While on Okinawa, MAG-31 was commanded by Colonel John C. Munn, who later became a Lieutenant General and Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps.

On Oct. 12, 1945, the Group departed Okinawa for Yokosuka, Japan, becoming the first Marine land-based Group to operate in the Japanese homeland. The Group was transferred from the 2nd MAW to the 4th MAW on Feb. 12, 1946, and then
to the Fleet Marine Force Pacific on
March 13, 1946.

The Group returned to the United States on July 5, 1946, and was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, San Diego, Calif., until it was decommissioned on May 31, 1947.

MAG-31 was reactivated on March 17, 1952, at Cherry Point, N.C., and transferred to Marine Corps Air Station, Miami, Fla., operating as a part of the 3rd MAW until it was again decommissioned in 1958.

On Nov. 1, 1961, MAG-31 was again reactivated and stationed at its present home, Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, S.C., as part of the 2nd MAW.

The mission of Marine Aircraft Group 31 is to conduct anti-air warfare and offensive air support operations in support of Fleet Marine Forces from advance bases, expeditionary airfields and aircraft carriers, and to conduct such other air operations as may be directed.

The MAG currently operates at a high tempo supporting Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom and the Unit Deployment Program in the Pacific.

Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31

Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 along with Marine Aircraft Group 31, Headquarters Squadron 31 was activated on
Feb. 1, 1943, at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, N.C., as an element of the 3rd Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force.

Between April 7 and Aug. 15, 1945, personnel from Headquarters Squadron 31 supported the tactical aircrews of MAG-31 who flew 38,187 hours and shot down 191 enemy planes. Multiple missions were flown over Okinawa, southern Kyushu, the China coast and more than a dozen enemy-held islands between Formosa and Kyushu. By the end of the Ryukyus Campaign, MAG-31 units had moved from Yontan to Chimu on Okinawa.

On Oct. 12, 1945, Headquarters Squadron 31 departed Okinawa for the Marine Air Base at Yokosuka, Japan, as MAG-31 became the first Marine land-based air group to operate on the Japanese homeland. By July 1946, MAG 31 and its elements were operating out of the Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, Calif., where they remained until deactivation on May 31, 1947.

Headquarters Squadron 31 was reactivated at MCAS Cherry Point, N.C., on March 17, 1952, and moved to MCAS Miami, Fla. On Feb. 15, 1954, Headquarters Squadron 31 was re-designated Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron 31.

Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron 31 was re-designated on Aug. 22, 1958, as it became part of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, AirFMFLant. The squadron, along with the group, was reduced to a cadre status and moved to Cherry Point, N.C. Within three years, the squadron returned to full operational status.

After reactivation on Nov. 1, 1961, Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron 31 was reestablished at MCAS Beaufort, S.C. Personnel provided logistical and administrative support to MAG-31 units and augmented deployed tactical squadrons. Additionally, the squadron provided proficiency training for attached pilots with C-117D and T-1A aircraft.

During November 1968, the squadron received the Commanding General, FMFLant aviation Safety Award for supporting 2,029 mishap-free flight hours. In the ensuing 20-year period, Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron 31 participated in a multitude of training and deployment exercises in support of MAG 31 flying squadrons. Throughout, the squadron focused on sustaining readiness, enhancing combat capabilities and providing around-the-clock logistics support.

On Oct. 1, 1988, Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron 31 was re-designated Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, and in 1990, successfully completed the transition of its aviation logistics support mission from the F-4 Phantom to the F/A-18 Hornet.

S ince its establishment, the Marines and Sailors of MALS-31 have provided on-going support wherever MAG-31 squadrons are deployed—stateside and abroad, from land and from sea—including Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm Operations Deny Flight, Joint Endeavor, and Decisive Edge in Bosnia Operations Noble Anvil, Allied Force and Joint Guardian in Serbia and Kosovo Operation Enduring Freedom onboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq as well as onboard the USS Truman (CVN-75).

“Silver Eagles”

Marine Fighter Squadron 115 was organized on July 1, 1943, at Santa Barbara, Calif., under the command of Maj. John S. MacLaughlin. Sixteen days later, the command was assumed by one of the Marine Corps’ most famous Aces, Maj. Joseph Foss, holder of a Marine World War II record of 26 enemy aircraft shot down. The squadron quickly picked up the nickname, “Joe’s Jokers.” In May 1944, the squadron joined the Pacific campaign flying the legendary F4U-1 Corsair.

At the conclusion of World War II, the squadron deployed to Peking, China, to protect U.S. interests in that area and support III Marine Amphibious Corps supervising the surrender and repatriation of 630,000 Japanese troops and civilians in North China.

In December 1949, VMF-115 became the first Marine Corps squadron to receive a full complement of Grumman F9F-2 Panther jet fighters and during November 1950, was the first to serve aboard a carrier, qualifying all 18 pilots without incident aboard the USS Roosevelt.

In the spring of 1957, the squadron received the Marine Corps’ first F-40 Skyrays and were designated VMF (AW)-115. After flying Skyrays longer than any other squadron, VMF (AW)-115 was re-designated VMFA-115 on Jan. 1, 1964, and transitioned to the Mach II capable F-4B Phantom II.

The “Able Eagles” were deployed to Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, on Oct. 14, 1965.

During the Vietnam War, VMFA-115 flew more than 34,000 combat sorties, at a cost of 14 aircraft lost, 21 aircrew killed in action, and six Marines killed in action while participating in such battles as the Tet Offensive, Hue City, Khe San and Task Force Delta.

In July 1977, VMFA-115 relocated to 2nd MAW, MCAS Beaufort, S.C.

After flying Phantoms for more than 20 years, VMFA-115 began the transition to the F/A-18A Hornet on Jan. 1, 1985, and officially stood up with 14 aircraft on Aug. 16, 1985. The following year, the squadron became officially known as the “Silver Eagles.”

In 1989, VMFA-115 returned to the Philippines and supported government forces during a coup attempt in that country. The squadron flew armed CAP and escort missions until the situation stabilized.

During the years from 1991 to 2000, the “Silver Eagles” participated in the Unit Deployment Program (UDP) in the Western Pacific for six-month deployments in support of 1st MAW. Upon completion of their 2000 UDP, the “Silver Eagles” began the transition from F/A-18As to the updated F/A-18A s. As of spring 2001, VMFA-115 was designated a carrier integration squadron. The Marines of VMFA-115 deployed aboard the USS Truman as part of Carrier Air Wing 3 in the fall of 2002 this was the first carrier deployment for the “Silver Eagles” since 1981 when they flew F-4s. This deployment was in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in which the squadron expended more than 150 tons of ordnance.

The illustrious history of Marine Corps aviation has been highlighted with the outstanding achievement of VMFA-115. The squadron has seen extensive service in nearly every war involving Marines. During those years, it carried out its assigned missions with distinction in the South Pacific, the Philippines, North China, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand. In peacetime training, whether in Japan, the United States, Hawaii Okinawa, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean or Western Europe, VMFA-115 set a standard of excellence for other Fighter-Attack squadrons in the Marine Corps to follow.

The Silver Eagles returned from a seven-month deployment aboard Al-Asad Air Base, Iraq in September 2008, where they supported Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“The Werewolves”

Marine Fighter Squadron 122 was commissioned on March 1, 1942, at Camp Kearny, Calif. Originally the “Candystripers,” the squadron was organized and trained under its first Commanding Officer, Major I.I. Brackett. Outfitted with the F-4F “Wildcat,” the squadron embarked on its first combat tour in October 1942. Throughout 1942-43, the squadron conducted combat operations on Espiritu Santo, at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, and during the Rendova and Munda campaigns. During April 1943, under the command of Major “Pappy” Boyington, VMF-122 transitioned to the F4U-1 “Corsair,” and accounted for 351/2 kills. The squadron ended its first combat tour, returning to Miramar, Calif., in August 1943.

Embarking on the USS Hollandia for its second combat deployment during July 1944, the squadron was outfitted with new Goodyear F4G-1A aircraft.

The squadron remained at Peleliu until reporting to MCAS Cherry Point, N.C., in February 1946. Deactivated between July and October 1946, VMF-122 was reactivated and received the FH-1 “Phantom” in November 1947, becoming the first Marine Squadron to employ jet-propelled aircraft. Assigned to USS Oriskany, VMF-122 became the first Marine jet squadron to be both day and night qualified for carrier operations. In July 1952, the squadron transitioned to the F9F-4 “Panther.” Later equipped with the more powerful
F9F-5, the squadron deployed aboard the USS Coral Sea. Following the Mediterranean Sea cruise in 1953, the squadron was assigned to MAG-24 at MCAS Cherry Point, N.C.

In January 1954, VMF-122 was the first Marine Squadron equipped with the FJ-2 “Fury.” With a change of aircraft, the squadron adopted the distinctive Candystriper insignia and tail markings. VMF-122 relocated to MCAS Beaufort, S.C., in September 1957. In December 1957 the squadron became the fastest squadron in the Marine Corps with delivery of the first F8U-1’s (F-8A) “Crusader” by Chance-Vought. A new patch was designed to go with the new aircraft and VMF-122 officially became known as the “Werewolves.”

During 1964, the Werewolves deployed to Atsugi, Japan, for one year, returning to MCAS El Toro, Calif., in January 1965. At El Toro, VMF (AW)-122 transitioned to the F-4B “Phantom” and was designated Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122. VMFA-122 deployed to the Republic of Vietnam in August 1967, operating from Da Nang Air Base. VMFA-122 rotated to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, in September 1968, returning to Vietnam in the summer of 1969, at Marine Air Base Chu Lai.

Following a distinguished combat record, the “Werewolves” were assigned to MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, in September 1970. The “Werewolves” were then ordered to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, as a Joint Chiefs of Staff directive to counter a North Vietnamese offensive against South Vietnam. The squadron returned to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, on Dec. 27, 1972.

On Aug. 14, 1974, VMFA-122 was placed in a Cadre status in anticipation of becoming the Marine Corps’ first F-14A squadron. With the decision not to accept the “Tomcat” into the Marine Corps inventory, VMFA-122 was reactivated at MCAS Beaufort, S.C., and refitted with the F-4J. On Sept. 25, 1985, VMFA-122 flew its last F-4 sortie, completing 20 years of service as an F-4 “Phantom” squadron.

On Jan. 22, 1986, the “Werewolves” began a new era with the acceptance of its first
F/A-18A Hornet. In October 2001, the “Werewolves” increased their combat capabilities by transitioning to the F/A-18C. In July 2002, the “Werewolves” continued the UDP rotation, deploying to Iwakuni, Japan, in which the squadron was extended for a full year. While on deployment in November 2002, the “Werewolves” surpassed 70,000 Class A mishap-free flight hours. In February 2004 the squadron deployed for a Western Pacific tour for six months.

The Werewolves returned in early 2007 from a six-month deployment to Iwakuni, Japan, supporting training requirements in Japan and South Korea. The squadron officially became known as the “Werewolves” Jan. 8, 2008.

The Werewolves made history Aug. 29, 2008, when the squadron stepped off American territory and headed east to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Werewolves upon their return May 2011, were the last F/A-18 squadron to serve on the ground in Afghanistan flying out of Kandahar Airfield.

“The Bengals”

Marine Fighter Squadron (VMF) 224 was commissioned on May 1, 1942, at Barbers Point, Hawaii. Flying Grumman F-4F Wildcats, the Bengals entered WWII as part of the vaunted Cactus Air Force stationed on Henderson Field Guadalcanal. Led by Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Robert Galer, in less than two months the squadron accounted for over 60 downed Japanese aircraft and conducted infantry support missions while under constant attack from Japanese Naval, Air and Ground forces. The American victory at Guadalcanal helped stem the tide of the Japanese advance across the Southern Pacific and secured a crucial foothold in the long island-hopping campaign to Japan.

Following the surrender of Japan, the squadron served in various capacities in the states and overseas. The squadron entered the jet era in 1951 with the acceptance of the F2H-2 Banshee. In 1952, after completing a Mediterranean Cruise aboard the USS Roosevelt, the squadron accepted the Grumman F9F-5 Panther, and was re-designated Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 224. In July 1956, the squadron became the first Marine unit to field the A4D-1 Skyhawk aircraft.

On Nov. 1, 1966, the squadron acquired the Grumman A-6A Intruder and was re-designated as Marine All-Weather Attack Squadron 224.

The squadron received the upgraded A-6E TRAM (Target Recognition and Multi-Sensor) aircraft in 1974.

The Bengals deployed to the Middle East arriving on Aug. 28, 1990. Operating from Shaikh-Isa Air Base, Bahrain, the squadron
conducted deterrent and training sorties as
part of operation Desert Shield. From Jan. 16 to Feb. 28, 1991, the Bengals led the way in night combat operations in support of Operation Desert Storm, expending more than 2.3 million pounds of ordnance during 422 combat sorties.

On March 6, 1993, the squadron was re-designated VMFA (AW)-224 and moved to MCAS Beaufort, S.C., where the Bengals received the multi-mission F/A-18D Hornet.

In September 1994, September 1995, and February 1997, the Bengals deployed to Aviano, Italy, as part of the United Nations force for operations Deny Flight, Provide Promise, Deliberate Force, Joint Endeavor, Deliberate Guard and Silver Wake.

In July 2001, VMFA (AW)-224 deployed for UDP in the Far East. For a majority of the deployment the squadron was split into two detachments. The detachments flew in support of both 31st MEU and 15th MEU, conducted ATARS reconnaissance missions, normal squadron training and other such operations as deemed necessary by 1st MAW and MAG-12. During the course of the UDP, the Bengals operated out of Guam, Okinawa, Australia, Trukk Island, Pappa New Guinea, the Philippines Islands, South Korea and mainland Japan.

In July 2003, VMFA (AW)-224 deployed again for UDP in the Far East. The unit operated out of Darwin, Australia Okinawa Guam in support of Exercise Cope North and Iwakuni, Japan.

In February 2005, the unit was the first MAG-31 squadron to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit returned in August 2005 after completing a successful combat deployment at Camp Al Asad, Iraq. The squadron boasts an impressive record of sorties flown and delivery of ordinance in support of operations on the ground. In 2007, the Bengals were deployed to Iwakuni, Japan, as part of the Unit Deployment Program.

The squadron effectively balanced participation in multi-national exercises with needed unit training, to the extent of splitting squadron assets and personnel between two sites. These exercises saw VMFA (AW)-224 in such location as Thailand, Singapore and South Korea as well as Japan. January 2009 marked yet another UDP rotation, with the squadron training and supporting exercises in the same countries as their previous deployment.

“The Thunderbolts”

Marine Fighter Squadron 251 was activated Dec. 1, 1941, at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., as Marine Observation Squadron 251 (VMO-251) under the command of Capt. Elliot E. Bard.

While flying the Grumman F4F-3P “Wildcat” during World War II, the squadron participated in numerous Pacific campaigns including Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Santa Cruz, Luzon and the Southern Philippines. In July 1942, the squadron deployed to New Zealand and was then relocated to the island of Espiritu Santo to support the invasion of Guadalcanal. The squadron returned to the United States in July 1943.

Following a move to Mojave, Calif., in May 1943 and then to Camp Pendleton, Calif., in November of that same year, the squadron transitioned to the Vought F-4U “Corsair” and was re-designated as Marine Fighting Squadron 251. The squadron was redeployed to Espiritu Santo in February 1944 with the new motto “Lucifer’s Messenger.” While on Espiritu Santo, the squadron participated in an offensive push on the Japanese Fortress of Rabaul until January 1944. The Thunderbolts then relocated to the Central Philippines and again to Bougainville in June to participate in the Bismark Sea campaign before returning to the Philippines in January 1945. VMF-251 continued operations in the Pacific until May 1, 1945, when it flew its last combat mission of World War II while supporting clean-up operations at Leyte.

In May 1994, VMFA-251 received F/A-18Cs in preparation for assignment to Carrier Air Wing One aboard the USS America. The Thunderbolts successfully completed their first carrier deployment with the F/A-18C in February 1996. The Thunderbolts deployed two additional times with CVW-1, aboard the USS George Washington in September 1997 and the USS John F. Kennedy in September 1999. Both deployments were in support of Operation Southern Watch.

During the summer months of 2001 the squadron completed another workup cycle with CVW-1. In September 2001, the squadron deployed onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt to the Arabian Sea where it was the first Marine squadron to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom. The squadron returned to MCAS Beaufort, S.C., in March 2002.

In September 2002, the Thunderbolts were presented the Robert Hanson Trophy as the “Marine Fighter Attack Squadron of the Year.”

On Feb. 12, 2003, the squadron detached from MAG-31 and departed on an unscheduled deployment with MAG-11 to the Middle East in support of Operation Southern Watch and then Operation Iraqi Freedom. On Feb. 20, 2003, the squadron began flying combat missions in support of OSW and then transitioned to combat operations in support of OIF on March 19, 2003.

The squadron flew its last OIF mission on May 4, 2003, and returned home to MAG-31 on May 13, 2003. They deployed again aboard the USS Enterprise from April 2006 to October 2006 and flew missions in support of both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. This deployment marked the first time that, as a carrier-based squadron, the unit deployed ashore to Camp Al Asad, Iraq, for two months before embarking back on the USS Enterprise. The squadron deployed aboard the USS Enterprise again from July 2007 to December 2007 and flew missions in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

The Thunderbolts were the last Marine fighter attack squadron to serve aboard the USS Enterprise. The aircraft carrier was decommissioned after the squadron’s return to the Air Station, November 2012.

“The Checkerboards”

Marine Fighter Squadron 312 (VMF-312) was commissioned on June 1, 1943, at Page Field, Parris Island, S.C. Commanded by Major Richard M. Day, the squadron began flight operations with 10 SNJ-4 Texans and one F4U-1D’s and one SNJ-4. The squadron began combat training due to the urgency of the war effort. At this time, the Checkerboards emblem began to appear on both the cowling and rudder of the aircraft. Sporting six .50 caliber machine guns, the design continues to adorn the identifier of VMFA-312.

Departing Parris Island on Jan. 2, 1944, the squadron prepared to begin combat operations in the Pacific theater assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 11 on June 25, 1944, the squadron was transported to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, where they received 24 FG-1 Corsairs. With newly installed 3.5- and 5-inch rocket launchers, the squadron prepared for its first combat action from the recently captured Kadena airstrip. VMF-312 continued to operate from Kadena Air Base until the cessation of hostilities.

In 1973, the squadron received the newer F-4J aircraft, with its much improved radar and avionics, as well as improved aerodynamic design.

In 1979, the Checkerboards became the first Second Marine Aircraft Wing Fighter Squadron to deploy to WES-PAC under the Unit Deployment six-month rotation program. In July 1987, VMFA-312 retired its F-4 aircraft and transitioned to the F/A-18A Hornet.

In April 2000, VMFA-312 began cruise workups with Carrier Air Wing Three however, this time the ship was the USS Harry S. Truman sailing on her maiden deployment. On Nov. 27, 2000, VMFA-312 embarked on the USS Harry S. Truman for her historic first deployment.

Carrier Air Wing Three entered the North Arabian Gulf and began Operation Southern Watch missions on Jan. 3, 2001. On
Jan. 20, a VMFA-312 jet destroyed an anti-aircraft artillery site, which was threatening coalition aircraft in Southern Iraq. On
Feb. 16, five VMFA-312 aircraft participated in a large force strike against numerous targets in the vicinity of Baghdad.

The Checkerboards deployed aboard the USS Enterprise in August 2003. They flew combat sorties in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. In November 2003, it was the first squadron in Carrier Air Wing One to release ordnance in support of ground forces in Iraq. The Checkerboards remained in the Central Command Area of Responsibility until the end of January and returned home to Beaufort in February 2004. The squadron was awarded the 2004 Marine Corps Aviation Association Hanson Award, as the best Fighter Attack squadron in the Marine Corps. The squadron deployed again in September 2007 as part of the Unit Deployment Program and returned in the Spring of 2008.

Marine Fighter Squadron 533 began an illustrious tradition of tactical excellence on Oct. 1, 1943, at Cherry Point, N.C. Commissioned as Marine Night Fighter Squadron 533 (VMF(N) 533), it was the third such Marine Squadron, which flew the Grumman F6F-3N Hellcat.

In October 1945, 533 was stationed in Peiping, China, and soon transitioned to the F7F-3N Tigercat. From Peiping the squadron moved to Hawaii, and in January 1947 to MCAS Cherry Point, N.C., where during the Korean conflict the squadron trained aircrews for the night fighter squadrons in Korea.

In May 1953, the squadron transitioned to its first jet aircraft, the F2H-A Banshee. The squadron was re-designated as Marine Fighter Squadron 533. The F9F-9 Cougar was introduced to the Hawks in 1957. A-4Ds replaced the Cougars and the squadron was re-designated Marine Attack Squadron 533 in 1959. In 1965, Marine Attack Squadron 533 became Marine All Weather Attack Squadron after acquiring the world’s most sophisticated attack aircraft, at the time, the Grumman A-6A Intruder. In June 1972, VMA (AW)-533 returned to combat while deployed to Nam Phong, Thailand, otherwise known as the “Rose Garden.” The squadron returned to MCAS Iwakuni in August 1973. In November 1975, the squadron departed for MCAS Cherry Point. In 1976, VMA (AW)-533 received its first Marine A-6E aircraft.

During December 1990, the squadron completed the movement of ten A-6E Intruders to NAS Cubi Point, Philippines, in preparation for deployment to Operation Desert Shield. From Dec. 23, 1990, to Jan. 16, 1991, the Hawks conducted flight operations and 24-hour CAS/DAS alerts in support of Operation Desert Shield.

On March 24, 1991, the squadron returned to MCAS Cherry Point, completing an 11.5-month around-the-world tour. The Hawks made history on Sept. 1, 1992, when they were re-designated Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, becoming the first squadron in 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing to transition to the two-seat F/A-18D. The squadron received its first F/A-18D on
Oct. 7, 1992, and completed relocation to MCAS Beaufort, S.C., on Dec. 7, 1992. In July 1993, VMFA (AW)-533 deployed to Aviano Air Base, Italy, in support of NATO forces and Security Council resolution 816. The Hawks flew their first operational mission over Bosnia-Herzegovina only three days after setting foot on Italian soil. The squadron returned to the United States on Jan. 14, 1994.

On March 23, 1995, VMFA (AW)-533 redeployed to Aviano, Italy, in support of Operation Deny Flight. On June 8, 1995, a division of Hawks located and assisted in the rescue of Air Force Captain Scott O’Grady. In August 1996, VMFA (AW)-533 redeployed to Aviano Air Base, Italy, in support of Operations Decisive Edge and Joint Endeavor. The Hawks returned to MCAS Beaufort on Feb. 22, 1997.

On Aug. 31, 1998, VMFA (AW)-533 left MCAS Beaufort for it’s first WestPac Deployment in seven years. On May 28 the Hawks led the first strike into Yugoslavia, destroying multiple military storage facilities north of Pristina. After spending nine out of the previous eleven months deployed, the Hawks returned to MCAS Beaufort on July 2, 1999.

Departing Beaufort on Feb. 10, 2003, in support of Operations Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom and arriving at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait on Feb. 11, 2003, the Hawks once again found themselves poised for combat. On March 20, 2003, coalition forces crossed into Iraq and for the next 30 days conducted 24-hour flight operations in support of the coalition forces’ advance into Iraq. With the end of hostilities in mid-April of 2003 the Hawks were subsequently ordered to prepare for redeployment to CONUS. Leaving the sandstorms of Kuwait behind, the squadron began their retrograde on May 2, 2003, and had safely returned every member of the squadron to Beaufort by May 10, 2003.

In February 2006, the Hawks deployed to Al Asad Air Base in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq.

The squadron was assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in support of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. The Hawks employed the F/A-18D with the Litening II FLIR/TV pod in a myriad of roles which included reconnaissance, surveillance, convoy escort, close-air support, strike missions, forward air controller airborne (FAC(A)) and tactical air controller airborne (TAC(A)). While once again operating around the clock, the squadron expended over 110,000 pounds of ordnance, flying 2,480 sorties and 7,456 flight hours. Having returned safely in August 2006, the Hawks continued to hone their warfighting skills, once again eager to prove their combat capabilities whenever called upon.

Marine Wing Support Squadron 273

“The Sweathogs”

On June 13, 1986, Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 (MWSS-273) was formed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., from elements of Marine Air Base Squadron 31, and Detachment Bravo, Marine Wing Support Group 27. The assigned mission of MWSS-273 is to provide all essential aviatio n ground support to a designated fixed-wing component of a Marine Aviation Combat Element (ACE), and all supporting or attached elements of the Marine Air Control Group (MACG). This support includes internal airfield communications, weather services, expeditionary airfield services, aircraft rescue and firefighting, aircraft and ground refueling, essential engineer services, motor transport, messing, chemical defense, security and law enforcement, airbase commandant functions, and explosive ordnance disposal.

Additionally, in garrison, MWSS-273 is tasked to supplement air station facilities and services provided by Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C.

Since the formation of the Squadron, the “Sweat Hogs” of MWSS-273 have distinguished themselves tactically and professionally in the continental United States and around the world. In 1989, MWSS-273
provided extensive disaster relief support to the city of Charleston, S.C., during the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo. During Operation Desert Storm in 1990, the squadron played a direct role in providing aviation ground support for United Nations forces conducting combat operations against Iraq. During
Operation Desert Storm, the Marines of MWSS-273 assisted in the construction of the largest expeditionary airfield in Marine Corps history at Al Khanjar, Saudi Arabia, in addition to several other major construction and transportation projects. Throughout the 1990s, the squadron provided extensive operational support to Aviano Air Force Base, Italy, Nato contingency operations Deny Flight and Provide Promise, Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti, Operation Joint Forge in the Balkans, Operation Allied Force and Joint Task Force Noble Anvil in Taszar, Hungary, and numerous Marine Expeditionary Units. In addition, MWSS-273 has also provided extensive training and exercise support both in and out of CONUS, to include Baltic Challenge, Baltic Castle, Roving Sands, Combined Arms Exercises (CAX), Hornet’s Nest, Battle Griffin, Fuertes Defenses, Dynamic Mix, Joint Task Force-6 and New Horizons.

MWSS-273 has extended its impressive record into the new millennium, providing support personnel for the ongoing Operation Enduring Freedom taking place in Afghanistan, Operation Iraqi Freedom and joint Task Force-Bravo in the Republic of Honduras, and exercises CAX, Desert Talon and New Horizons. These operations and exercises have continuously challenged the abilities and dedication of the squadron throughout its history, yielding consistently stellar results.

In addition to its tactical competence and success, MWSS-273 has consistently provided support for military and civic construction projects, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

Major projects completed by the Sweat Hogs include: The Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island’s “Crucible” and several physical fitness areas, the Summerville, S.C., parks and recreation athletic complex, St. Helena’s Island tornado clean-up, erosion control at Hunting Island State Park, and hurricane evacuation and clean-up assistance. Since 1997, MWSS-273 has taken the lead, Marine Corps wide, in K-Span construction, completing over 20 buildings in five years, including eleven K-Spans for MCGCDC 29 Palms, six K-Spans for MCAS Beaufort, two K-Spans for MCRD PI and one K-Span for the local community.

Unit Awards include the Navy Commendation Streamer, the National Defense Service Streamer, and the Southwest Asia Streamer with three bronze stars.

In April 2009 the Sweathogs returned from a seven-month deployment where they operated out of Al Asad Air Base where they provided aviation ground support for Multi-National Forces-West in the Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

The Sweathogs deployed to Afghanistan spring of 2012 to support 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing(FWD) with ground support for aircraft as well as retrograde efforts throughout Southwestern Afghanistan.

Marine Air Control Squadron 2 (MACS-2)

“Eyes of the MAGTF”

Marine Air Control Squadron 2’s history dates back to 1 April, 1944, when the Squadron was formed as Marine Air Warning Squadron 11 at Cherry Point, N.C., and was attached to Marine Air Warning Group 1, 9th Marine Aircraft Wing. During June 1944, the squadron relocated to Miramar, Calif., and was assigned to Marine Air Warning Group 2. In March 1945, the squadron relocated once again, being assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii. Four months later, Marine
Air Warning Squadron 11 joined Marine Aircraft Group 43 of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing in Kume Shima, Ryuku Islands. Shortly thereafter, in October 1945, the squadron moved to Tsingtas, China, to join Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, and participated in the occupation of North China until May 1946. Proceeding from North China, the Squadron moved once again to Miramar, Calif., and in August 1946, it was redesignated as Marine Ground Control Intercept Squadron 2, a member of Marine Air Warning Group 2, where it remained until its deactivation on Oct. 15, 1947.

As world attention began to focus upon Communist activity on the Korean Peninsula, Marine Ground Control Intercept Squadron 2 was reactivated in El Toro, Calif., on Aug. 3, 1950. In January 1952, the squadron was attached to Marine Aircraft Group 13 and two months later moved with MAG-13 to Kaneohe Bay, Territory of Hawaii. On Feb. 15, 1954, the Squadron was redesignated as Marine Air Control Squadron 2, and four years later in November 1958, relocated to Atsugi, Japan. In March 1959, MACS-2 joined the First Marine Brigade and returned to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. In August 1990, MACS-2 received orders to deploy to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Shield, and on Sept. 6, 1990, arrived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Establishing a Tactical Air Operations Center (TAOC) in the vicinity of King Abdul Aziz Naval Base (KAANB) , MACS-2 provided a base defense zone for KAANB and the port of Jubayl. On Dec. 29, 1990, MACS-2 displaced to Ras Al Mishab port, harbor, and airfield complex, establishing the primary TAOC eight miles west, to provide anti-air warfare capabilities in support of USMARCENT and I MEF air and ground operations. During Operation Desert Storm in February 1991, an Early Warning and Control (EW/C) site deployed with the ground combat element through the breach to Ahmed Al Jaber airfield in the Kingdom of Kuwait. Upon cessation of hostilities, MACS-2 was redeployed to MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, in March 1991, in support of Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

In 1993, MACS-2 relocated to Beaufort, S.C., subordinate to Marine Aircraft Group 31. While supporting MAG-31 in 1994, MACS-2 acquired Air Traffic Control Detachments A and B. Also in 1994, MACS-2 deployed in support of exercise Display Determination in Turkey, a NATO exercise involving the integration of foreign military units with American units to include an ATC and EW/C detachment. Between 1995 and 1998, MACS-2 participated in Joint Task Force 6, also known as Operation Lone Star, a drug interdiction operation patrolling the Mexican-American border. Further drug interdiction operations included EC-7 in 1996 in Ecuador and Operation Laser Strike in 1997 conducted in Peru. ATC detachments C and D joined MACS-2 in 1998.

MACS-2 relocated once more to Cherry Point, N.C., in 1998 under Marine Air Control Group 28 where she resides today. Deployed in support of real world operations, MACS-2 sent an ATC detachment known as a Marine Air Traffic Control Mobile Team (MMT) to Kosovo with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 1999. In support of the ground war in Serbia, MACS-2 deployed an MMT to the country of Hungary, also in 1999. In 2001, MACS-2 sent TAOC Marines to South-West Asia to support the Air Force in Operation Southern Watch. Current operations include providing an ATC detachment to the Winter Olympics in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. MACS-2 Marines are currently training to provide combat-ready, technically and tactically proficient Marines capable of supporting any future contingency.

HISTORY OF NAVAL HOSPITAL BEAUFORT

Naval Hospital Beaufort has administered the Department of Defense’s managed health care program for active duty members, military, families and retirees, now known as TRICARE, since 1966.

Naval Hospital Beaufort provides general medical, surgical, and emergency services to all active duty Navy and Marine Corps personnel, as well as retired military personnel and all military families residing the Beaufort area. Additionally, there is a VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic with services for VA patients. Health care service includes Anesthesia, Audiology, Aviation Medicine, General Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Anesthesiology, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Pediatrics, Physical Therapy, Mental Health, Internal Medicine, Optometry, Radiology, Medicine, Podiatry, Occupational Health/Preventive Medicine, Emergency Medicine/Urgent Care, Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery, Social Services, Family Practice, Sports Medicine, Health Promotions, Mammography and Radiology.


I absolutely loved this museum. My wife didn't think she would enjoy but she did. I am not a vet but it was still worth going to, well worth going to.In fact we are planning another trip given how much there was to see.

We went at 3:30, museum closed at 4:30 and guard would not let us on base "that close to closing". The museum was not going to take more than a half hour I'm sure. So it seems everything is at the discretion of the mood of the gate attendant.

A great stop by when driving between Charleston and Savannah. The museum is about recruit training, local history regarding the revolutionary war, and lots of military history. A great way to spend about an hour.

This local museum is located on the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. You will need to check in with the base security to get on site so make sure you have your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance or military ID. The museum is full of information about the earliest inability to recruit training starting on the island in 1915. The staff is always happy to help and full of information.

In the heart of Parris Island Marine base is this museum, which offers a complete history of the area and the marine corp. Admission is free and visitors that wish to visit the museum need to let the guards at the gate to know (including showing ID). Some of the exhibits include uniforms throughout the marine corp history, all battles and wars that involved the marines and information about each and every one, archaeological items from the original Spanish and French colonies on the island, and various medals, statues, and models.This is probably one of the best kept secrets in the Beaufort area because its on the marine base, but it's easy to get too and free. Worth checking out.

Semper Fi, do or dieSo gung ho, to go and pay the priceHeres to Leathernecks, Devildogs, and JarheadsParris Island in July, Semper FiTrace Adkins - Semper FiThe Parris Island Museum is in the Marine Base and probably one of the few "must do" items if you're here for Family Day other than lunch somewhere on base. Not REALLY mandatory of course but if you made the trek all the way here you might as well see it. First floor shows different things marine recruits go through during training - the yellow footprints, a printout of the script of the 10 second phone call, and you can try lifting a hump a recruit has to carry to see how heavy it actually is. There's also a gift shop with t-shirts and all sorts of marines related souvenir items. Other side of the first floor has some exhibits on the history of the Parris Island area. Upstairs has exhibits of the marine uniform and weaponry during different periods in history so you can see how things have evolved over time. They even have popular music from each time period playing at each exhibit. It's on the base so if you're wanting to visit the museum be sure to have a valid U.S. government-issued photo identification card, a copy of your vehicle registration, and proof of auto insurance in order to be allowed on base - they also sometimes do random checks so don't bring any weapons or drugs - prescription drugs need to be in one of those Monday through Sunday pillboxes if I recall correctly. There's lots of parking right next to the museum but on family day it can fill up fast.

This Museum is a must visit if you are visiting the low country. Very easy to get to from Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Savannah and Charleston. You will need to have a Drivers License, Vehicle Registration and proof of insurance to show the Military Police/Marine Corps Police at the front gate of Parris Island. Everyone you will encounter is very professional and courteous. When at the gate you will be given directions. Having graduated from Parris Island in June of 1995. It was a very powerful experience for me to return. I was so impressed by the Museum that I felt it meets the same standards of what you might experience when visiting the Smithsonian up in Washington DC. The attention to detail is incredible on all the displays within the Museum. Not only will you learn about the History of Parris Island, but you will gain a wealth of knowledge on the surrounding areas. This Museum rates five stars and more. You will also get to experience Parris Island when visiting this amazing museum. Lots of great photo opportunities. I spent a whole day on Parris Island. As stated in the above it was such a powerful, spiritual experience for me returning. A must visit if you are visiting Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Savannah and Charleston. Also I must add it is very easy to get to from I95.

This is a gem of a museum if you are at all interested in military history. Will keep you occupied for half an hour or so. Interesting for the kids, too, as they have some nice dioramas.


Archaeology Information

Investigations by archaeologists and historians have taught us much about the history of Parris Island. Reports on excavations on Parris Island and research in archives tell us how that place once looked and how the people there once lived. But what we know today about Santa Elena is not what the experts always thought.

Until the mid-20th century, archaeologists and historians assumed the site was French, not Spanish. One of the first primary sources of evidence used to write about the history of Parris Island was a series of French illustrations from the 16th century. These illustrations were drawn by Jacques Le Moyne, a Frenchman who lived at the site when France controlled it.

The first wave of researchers at Parris Island in the 1800s believed the site of Santa Elena was French and not Spanish. They did not have written evidence that Spaniards settled at Parris Island. The first excavations happened in the 1850s. They occurred before the United States outlawed slavery and it was enslaved laborers who excavated the Santa Elena site. During that excavation, they discovered a historic artifact: a gate. The researchers leading the excavation assumed the gate was part of the French settlement, Charlesfort, because they knew about the Le Moyne illustrations.

During World War I, the United States Marine Corps began to use Parris Island as a training site. The Marines uncovered pottery from the 16th century when they built their training grounds on the island in 1917. Major George Osterhout of the U.S. Marine Corps and his team excavated the site after the war. Osterhout was not a trained archaeologist, but he kept careful records of their excavations. He wrote about what they discovered and decided the pottery found at the site looked like it was from Southern France.

Though Osterhout continued to excavate the site and called it a French settlement, other scholars began to publish articles that claimed the Santa Elena site was Spanish. In 1957, National Park Service archaeologists examined the artifacts discovered by Osterhout. These trained archaeologists compared the Parris Island artifacts to other 16th century artifacts found in the state of Florida. These archaeologists decided that the artifacts from Parris Island were from Spain or created by Spaniards. They determined that the excavated fort site that Osterhout called French was actually Fort San Marcos, built by Spaniards in 1577.

After the discovery that the Parris Island artifacts are Spanish, new archaeological excavations revealed more about the site. Archaeologists would also find French artifacts that indicated both the French and the Spanish settled at Santa Elena.These artifacts give historians and archaeologists a window into the lives of Spanish and French settlers. The excavations reveal how the settlers lived and created a timeline for occupations of the settlement, beginning in 1562 with the French at Charlesfort.

Archaeologists found the location of the French fort after discovering French ceramics at the site. These ceramics included faience, a tin-based pottery, and French stoneware. Archaeologists decided that Santa Elena’s first Fort San Felipe was also the site of the French-occupied Charlesfort. The French left Charlesfort in 1563 and the Spaniards built Fort San Felipe on top of it. This was the first Spanish fort built at the Santa Elena settlement.

At Fort San Felipe, archaeologists discovered French and Spanish artifacts mixed together. The Spaniards used many of the features left over from the French-occupied Charlesfort, including the moat and some of the interior buildings. Archaeologists also discovered a small blockhouse that the Spaniards called Fort San Salvador. Experts believe the blockhouse was built in early 1566, but do not know when it was abandoned. In 1570, the first Fort San Felipe burned and was abandoned.

New construction of a second Fort San Felipe began in 1570, but the actual location is still a mystery. Because of American Indian attacks, the fort was abandoned in 1576. In 1577, after the Spaniards returned to Santa Elena, they built the first Fort San Marcos. Archaeologists believe that it was abandoned in 1582 or 1583. Its current location may be under the golf course that is now on the original site of San Marcos. Fort San Marcos, although abandoned, was brought back to life with a second attempt in either 1582 or 1583.

Archaeologists believe that those with power and money, during both periods of occupation, lived in the northeast and southeast corners of the site. Some archaeological data shows that a road most likely formed the eastern boundary of a plaza that also included a church and government buildings.

The archaeological features are well preserved despite how old the site is and the modern buildings and features that have been built up around and on top of the old settlement. Today, a golf course covers most of the Santa Elena site. When it was constructed, the course was created by placing a layer of topsoil over the archaeological site, preserving the remains of the houses and forts. Additional modern features of the site include a golf clubhouse and a paved road. Monuments to the first French settlers and to the Spanish presence have been placed at the site.

While the discoveries on the island can tell us much about early Spanish and French settlements on Parris Island, other archaeological evidence at the site also includes pre and post contact American Indian artifacts, evidence of early 18th and 19th century plantations, and historic material from the U.S. Marine Corps training camp.

The archaeology at Santa Elena is not finished there are still more stories to tell. In 2014, after more than one hundred years have passed since the first excavations, archaeologist Chester DePratter expressed the belief that only 2-4% of Santa Elena has been uncovered.


Our History

In the mid-16th century, Spain and France competed for control of North America. The Spanish government believed it had exclusive rights to the continent by the blessing of the Catholic Church, and France disagreed.

To protect its Atlantic shipping route from English and French privateers, Spain colonized points along the Southeastern coast, from the Caribbean to the Carolinas. One of these outposts was Santa Elena, the first colonial capital of Spanish Florida. Spanish colonists founded Santa Elena in 1566 on Parris Island in Port Royal Sound in present-day South Carolina. Both French and Spanish colonists occupied the site during the 16th century.

Today, the Charlesfort-Santa Elena site is a National Historic Landmark, important for its associations with the 16 th -century conflict between Spain and France for control of the New World and with officers Spaniard Pedro Menendez de Aviles and Frenchman Jean Ribault. The site is also considered archaeologically significant.

After Christopher Columbus opened the Americas to European colonization in 1492, private and royal ships loaded with valuable goods traveled between the colonies and Spain. One of the most important water routes was the Florida Straits between the Bahamas and the Florida coast, where a strong current carries ships east out of the Gulf of Mexico and then straight north up the Atlantic coast. During the colonial era, French and English ships waited in these straits to attack and loot silver-laden Spanish ships. To protect Spain’s interests, King Philip II of Spain decided to build towns on the Florida mainland coast.

The king chose Spanish naval officer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés to be the adelantado, or governor, of Spanish Florida in 1565 and ordered him to establish military bases on the mainland. Adelantado was an elite military and administrative position created when the Christian Spaniards took the Iberian Peninsula back from the Muslim Moors. In Europe, the Spanish adelantados built fortified outposts in hostile areas and were responsible for bringing the surrounding region under Spanish control. In return for the adelantado’s work, the Spanish crown granted the individual economic privileges and honors. When it began colonizing the Americas, Spain continued to use this system. Other Spaniards who held the title adelantado of Florida before Menéndez were Ponce de Léon, two men by the name of Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón, Pánfilo de Narváez, Hernando de Soto and Tristan de Luna y Arellano. But Spain failed to establish a permanent settlement in Florida until the Menéndez expedition.

Menéndez is best known for founding St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European city in the continental United States. But his first colonial capital was Santa Elena. At the time, “La Florida” was all of the land the Spanish thought to be north of Mexico. Before Menéndez arrived, his French rival, naval officer Jean Ribault, founded Charlesfort on Parris Island in 1562 and claimed the land for France. Ribault’s fort was a blockhouse made of logs and clay, thatched with straw and surrounded by a moat. Ribault’s expedition abandoned Charlesfort within a year and sailed south to found Fort Caroline. Menéndez arrived in the straits in 1565 and fought Ribault’s forces on land and at sea along the Florida coast. He drove the French colonists from the Southeast, destroyed their forts and reclaimed the territory for Spain.

When Menéndez arrived at Parris Island in 1566, he ordered his men to build a new fort, called San Salvador, and a few months later, he founded Santa Elena. Menéndez oversaw the construction of a larger fort, San Felipe, after 250 reinforcements arrived on the island in the summer of 1566. Two years later, 225 settlers – including farmers, Catholic missionaries, and families – arrived in Florida from Spain and supplemented the garrisons at St. Augustine and Santa Elena. Menéndez’s city government at Santa Elena issued land for the immigrants, and by 1569, there were 40 houses around the central plaza.

For 21 years following colonization in 1566, Santa Elena’s Spanish leadership struggled to keep the coastal village working. The island’s soil could not support the farming needed to feed everyone, resulting in food shortages. The Spanish were not on friendly terms with the Native Americans in the region – the Orista and Guale tribes – so the colonial farmers could not expand their farms beyond the fort’s protection. To reduce the number of people they had to feed, Menéndez’s lieutenant and kinsman, Esteban de las Alas, sent away all but 46 soldiers. This left the town vulnerable to attacks by the French and Native Americans. When ships from Spain arrived in 1571, carrying supplies and more colonists, they also brought a deadly sickness. At around the same time, a fire at San Felipe destroyed the fort. Menéndez’s son-in-law, Don Diego de Velasco, oversaw the construction of a new fort, also named San Felipe.

Menéndez passed away in September 1574, and the Florida adelantado title passed on to his daughter Catalina’s husband, Hernando de Miranda. Miranda arrived at Santa Elena from Spain in the winter of 1576. Upon arrival, Miranda had Velasco, who was married to Menéndez’s other daughter, arrested for mismanaging soldiers’ bonuses and took over the local government. The following summer, Miranda’s ill treatment of the Native Americans provoked violence, and the Guale and Orista together launched an assault on the settlement and its ships. The colonists fled the town and gathered at Fort San Felipe. When they were able, the surviving colonists and soldiers escaped from the island on small boats left undisturbed by the attackers. Behind them, the Guale and Orista burned the fort and sacked Santa Elena. Catalina and Miranda sailed back to Spain.

In 1577, the Spanish colonists returned to Santa Elena. Philip II appointed Menéndez’s nephew, Pedro Menéndez Márquez, as governor of Florida, which was no longer a private venture but a royal colony. Menéndez Márquez ordered his soldiers to build a new garrison, Fort San Marcos, and brought the Spanish colonists back. Under the new governor’s command, Spanish soldiers invaded the Guale and Orista towns, which were harboring French castaways, and regained control of the island by 1580. The Spaniards’ successes at Santa Elena were short-lived, as the threat of an English empire in North America began to emerge. This changed the Spaniards’ approach to colonizing Florida. In 1586, the Spanish at St. Augustine heard of Sir Walter Raleigh’s Roanoke Island Colony on the coast of North Carolina. Menéndez Márquez also feared Sir Francis Drake’s attacks in the Caribbean. As Drake made his way north, he raided Spanish settlements at Santo Domingo, Cartagena, and St. Augustine. The English intended to take Santa Elena, too, but the fleet overshot it.

(Source: DePratter, Chester B. and South, Stanley, “Discovery at Santa Elena: Boundary Survey” (1995). Research Manuscript Series. Book 223. pg 6)

In response to the English threat, Spain decided to shrink the scope of its Florida colony and consolidate its colonial towns to strengthen them. Menéndez Márquez returned to Santa Elena in 1587 and ordered his men to destroy the town infrastructure and the second Fort San Marcos. The Parris Island colonists moved to St. Augustine, and the Spanish abandoned Santa Elena for good. For two centuries after the Spanish left, Scottish and then English colonists occupied Port Royal Sound. The coastal region was a trading ground for American Indians and Europeans before plantations developed in the coastal Lowcountry in the early 1700s. South Carolina became part of the United States of America at the end of the 18th century, and the plantations thrived until the American Civil War.

In 1915, the United States Marine Corps created the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island. Little was known about the Spanish at Parris Island when the Marines arrived and most of the written history focused on the French presence. While the Marines settled on the island, Major George Osterhout oversaw archaeological excavations at the site of one of the forts, which he believed was French, and Congress erected a monument to Jean Ribault in 1926. At the same time, a scholar of Spanish colonial studies, Hubert Eugene Bolton, began to publish articles about Spain’s presence on the island. In the 1950s, National Park Service historians re-examined artifacts recovered from Parris Island. They determined the artifacts were Spanish in origin and the “French” fort was likely Spain’s first Fort San Marcos.

Since the late 1970s, archaeologists have continued to investigate the site of Charlesfort-Santa Elena for clues about its past inhabitants and the way they lived. In addition to revealing evidence of early European colonization in America, the site is valuable for what it can reveal about adelantado town planning. The site of Santa Elena was never reoccupied fully after the Spanish left in 1587. Archaeologists today are able to explore the site to find information about what the town looked like in the 16th century. Excavations at Santa Elena reveal that the town had a central plaza with colonial buildings uniformly built around it. Visitors to Parris Island can learn about the island’s history at the nearby USMC Parris Island Museum.

See also: Digging into the Colonial Past: Archaeology and the 16th-Century Spanish Settlements at Charlesfort-Santa Elena – Teaching with Historic Places – Lesson Plan: Click Here


Watch the video: Making Marines. 13 Weeks of. Marine Corps Recruit Training (July 2022).


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