- Paul Westermeyer
- ARRSE Rating
- 4 Mushroom Heads
The subtitle of this book “The Expeditionary Force at War” explains the theme that runs throughout this history of the US Marine Corps. The book is part of the Casemate Short History series, and to that end by its nature the book is not an exhaustive background to the Corps. But the author Paul Westermeyer has artfully picked the areas to concentrate on to give a very succinct narrative of its major battles and sometimes struggles.
The picture painted is one of an organisation that has constantly evolved to maintain its relevance and sometimes its existence. At the end of the Second World War their manoeuvring against a very real threat of disbandment caused President Harry Truman to remark that the Marines had “a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalins”.
The US Marines have always interested me, they are distinct and separate from every other branch of the American services. From their humble beginnings in 1775 as a unit of Naval Infantry modelled on our very own Royal Marines, To their current role as America’s premier expeditionary Force 186,000 strong, a combined arms formation with its own organic air support both rotary and fixed wing that alone if it were a Country would put it in the top ten of airforces in the world.
It is interesting to note that throughout their history the US Marines have fought in nearly every corner of the world, often on more than one occasion. The same names keep cropping up Panama, Cuba, China, with of course the rarer places that they carved their legends Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Korea, Hue, Khe Sanh, and more recently Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The books size and content would make this a perfect stocking filler or travel companion for the discerning reader.