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Iwo Jima Marines

What's so special about Marines?

Hudson during Battle of Iwo Jima
Hudson during Battle of Iwo Jima

"The finest steel is in the hottest forge." Eric Kirsch, grand-nephew of Bill Hudson and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq as a Marine officer, explains how Marines are made. Bill Hudson was very proud of this particular Marine.

More about Marines:

Army officer's explanation of Marines
Toughest boot camp
Rapidly deployable
Marines have the best war monument: Iwo Jima
Supply-unit Marines will attack

Devil dogs, leathernecks, jarheads, gyrenes?

The name "devil dogs" came from Belleau Wood in World War I, where the Germans, who had expected the Marines to retreat, supposedly called the Marines "Teufelhunden". "Leathernecks" possibly comes from leather collars the Marines wore either for discipline or for neck protection; it is part of the lore explained by the National Museum of the Marine Corps. "Jarheads" and "gyrenes" were both supposed to be insulting nicknames that the Marines took as compliments, according to USMC Press.

Marine rank structure

The USMC rank structure in WWII is explained by the Marine Corps League and by a uniform reference website. 

Quotes about Marines

Note that any collection of quotes from Marines is likely to contain expletives.

"We’re not accustomed to occupying defensive positions. It’s destructive to morale."
—LtGen H. M. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith, Iwo Jima, 1945, quoted to Walter Karig

This and other great quotes by Smith are in the Fortitudine Bulletin of the Marine Corps Historical Program.

More quotes at the Marine Corps virtual birthplace website; also old recruiting posters such as Bill Hudson may have seen before he joined

This page includes the quote Hudson's division commander, General Clifton Cates, was famous for in World War I:

"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold."
1stLt. Clifton B. Cates, USMC
in Belleau Wood, 19 July 1918

Return to Iwo Jima

Article about the 2001 Marine tour of Iwo Jima where Hudson traded hats with one of his former enemies. According to one participant, "It is much more effective to walk up Mt. Suribachi and to walk the sands of the beach than it is to try to explain how much of a factor the terrain was."

Article about 2019 Reunion of Honor. 

For 2020: 75th anniversary stateside commemoration by Iwo Jima Association, and 75th anniversary publication.