You have probably heard the expression, "Once a Marine always a Marine," that is a true statement but to say, "Once a Marine Raider always a Marine Raider," is equally true. This is how I became first one and then the other.

In Dec. 1941,I was working 12 to 16 hours a day at an Automotive Parts Mfg.Co. in Chicago, Ill. On Sunday Dec.7th ,seeking to relax a little I attended a movie in the downtown area. I had just began to settle back and enjoy the show, when the projector was stopped, the lights turned up and an announcement made from the stage. All military personnel were to return to their base immediately. No explanation was given and the movie then continued without further interruption. On leaving the theater I heard the exciting news about Pearl Harbor, returned to my dismal rented room and made the decision to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps.

When you walk into a Marine Corps recruiting station things happen in a hurry. The place was crowded with patriots like myself. However, within two days I had signed the papers, passed my physical, been sworn in and on a train to San Diego. On leaving the train at our destination, we were herded on to busses and quickly delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot. I was eventually assigned to platoon 203 and began the painful process of being transformed from a civilian to a confused marine. Fortunately, due to the influx of recruits our tour as boots was reduced to 5 weeks, however we did everything on the double. Soon we were gratefully waiting for the reading of our scatter sheet.

When my name was finally read, I learned that among others I was being assigned to detached duty at Fort Ord near San Luis Obispo, California. The Marine Corps had arranged with the Army to use the Range facilities there to handle the large volume of recruits due to the sudden advent of war. The Marine compound at Fort Ord was separate from but adjacent to that of the Army. Our detachment was to provide security for the compound, mess facilities, and work the rifle and pistol ranges as required.

Time passed quickly and in a few months our services were no longer required and we were all re-assigned. The majority of us were transported to Camp Elliott where the 9th Marines were being organized as a stand alone regiment. Cadre, for the most part, was being supplied from the 6th Marines who had recently returned from Iceland. I was assigned to B Company, First Battalion and began serious training with that unit.


My tour of duty with the 9th marines was a continuous learning process. The training schedule was thorough and rigorous. We were carefully instructed in all phases of squad, Platoon and company tactics and systematically practiced them in the field. Weapons training included Bayonet, Hand Grenade, and the use of live ammunition while running the obstacle course.

On a day I have long forgotten, B Company moved to Camp Pendleton, which was under construction, to provide security for the area. Despite that responsibility our training continued unabated.
One day I was volunteered to attend BAR school conducted by Marine Gunner William L. Townsend. The Gunner was an old salt who thoroughly understood the BAR and the Marines who carried them. He was a great instructor and by the end of the course we could field strip, recite the nomenclature, and reassemble the weapon blind folded. We also fired the weapon over a record course and among others I achieved an expert rating.

When I returned to the Company I was pleased to learn that I was to be the BAR man in my squad. The Bar that is carried slung from the shoulder and the magazines carried around the waist are heavy and tiring. However, in water, mud, or sand the weapon will always function and in my view was the most reliable of all available infantry weapons.

In late summer, because I was on a weekend pass I missed an opportunity to volunteer for a new company being organized by the 2nd Raiders. Three good friends who had succeeded in volunteering told me before they left that another Raider Battalion would soon be organized at Camp Pendleton.

When the call for volunteers came in October, I was ready and waiting. I was interviewed by 1st Lt. William B. Flake and accepted to become a part of the 4th Marine Raider Battalion. I was leaving a superb Marine Regiment who proved that fact convincingly at Bougainville, Guam and Iwo Jima.

NOTE: [Before continuing the story line I would like to outline in general terms the Organizational structure of the 4th Raiders. It may differ in a few ways from the other Raider Battalions and in many ways from the standard Marine Line Battalion. This information will be provided from memory and other available sources and may not be completely accurate.]


The Fourth Raiders were organized and commanded by Lt. Col. James Roosevelt the Executive Officer of the 2nd Raiders. He brought to the Fourth Raiders the same general structure and operational principles then current in Carlson’s command. I am not familiar with the structure and cannot comment on the organization of the other two Battalions.

Commanding Officer, Executive Officer, Staff, Command elements of Intelligence, Operations and Supply. The Medical Section, Mess Section and Communications personnel as required were also included. The size of Hq. Co. could vary according to the specific mission.

Company Hq: Commanding Officer, First Sgt., Gunnery Sgt., Company Clerk, Corpsmen USN, Supply Sgt., Radio and communications personnel, designated cooks, and runners.

Platoon Hq: Platoon Leader, Platoon Sgt., Sgt. Right Guide and two runners.
Three Rifle Squads: Squad Leader and three three man fire teams.

Platoon Hq: Platoon Leader, Gunnery Sgt. and runners.
Sections: NCO’s and two .30 Cal. Light Machine Gun Sections. NCO and One 60mm Mortar Section and Boys .55 Cal. Anti-Tank Gun crew.

NOTE: The concept of the three man fire team was developed by Col. Carlson’s command and provided for great flexibility of movement and ease of command in the squad. Each fire team was equipped with an M1 semi-automatic Rifle, Browning Automatic Rifle and the shorter range but hard hitting Thompson Sub Machine Gun. This enabled fire teams, squads and platoons to deliver a high volume of fire on several positions simultaneously.

The Battalion, Companies and Platoons were all structured for swift movement, ease of command and rapid deployment. The Companies were capable of operating independently from appropriate means of transport.

The 4th Raiders employed the following weapons and equipment:

Garand M1 semi-automatic rifle

Browning Automatic Rifle 1918A1 BAR

M1911A1-.45 cal. Automatic pistol

Thompson model 28 Submachine gun

Browning 1919A4 Lgt. Machine Gun

British 2 inch Mortar-hand held



Johnson Automatic Rifle

Boys .55Cal. Anti-Tank Gun

Ka-Bar Combat Knife

Raider Stilleto

Camouflage Uniforms

Special Raider Boots
Rubber soled canvas boots Gung-Ho Knife

I will return now to my main story line concerning the 4th Raiders. (Didn’t you just love all this)?

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