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On This Day
Marine Corps History

Today is March 20, 2019

1986 The Marine Corps received its initial delivery of 186 lightweight Kawasaki KCR250 motorcycles. These on-and-off road motorcycles each cost $2,873. Although the Marine Corps had not used motorcycles since World War II, Headquarters determined the two-wheeled vehicles could provide inexpensive transportation while serving a variety of combat and noncombat functions such as transporting lengthy messages between units, guiding groups during nighttime location changes, and moving individual passengers and small equipment packages between units.

2001 General James L. Jones, Commandant of the Marine Corps, handed out tan utility belts to the first company of Marine lieutenants coming out of The Basic School to complete martial arts training. The Marine Corps martial arts program has five belts, tan delineating the first level of training (26 hours of fundamentals). General Jones aims to have every Marine receive some level of training in martial arts by mid-2002.

2003 Marines from I MEF crossed the Kuwait border into southern Iraq in the first push to Baghdad. A firefight between American and Iraqi ground forces occurred when a patrol of light armored vehicles from the 1st Marine Division encountered two Iraqi armored personnel carriers. The Marines destroyed the enemy and moved forward quickly, capturing key facilities in Rumeila, Iraqs southern oil fields. Marines saved all but nine of nearly 500 oil wells from sabotage before continuing toward the Iraqi capital.

2003 With the lapse of the 48-hour deadline, Operation Iraqi Freedom began with the launching of approximately 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles at 5:34 a.m. The missiles, which were launched from six U.S. Navy ships, were aimed at three designated military targets around Baghdad, Iraq, in an attempt to kill or maim Hussein. U.S. Air Force F117 stealth fighters were also involved in the opening strike.

2004 Marine Major General James N. Mattis, commander of the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Division, formally assumed responsibility of the Al Anbar and Northern Babil provinces from the Armys 82nd Airborne Division. The relief-in-place ceremony bequeathed to the Marine Corps the majority of the volatile Sunni Triangle region north and west of Baghdad, an area where American forces had been under nearly daily attacks from insurgents. Nearly two-thirds of the 1st Marine Division Marines were also part of the original invading forces a year ago but had a new mission the second time around. The new mission was to help the fledgling Iraqi security forces and build upon the humanitarian efforts of the departing Army unit.

2005 Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen Peter Pace, traveled to Camp Lemonier to personally thank service members serving with the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) in Djibouti. The task force was deployed to the African region to help prevent the spread of terrorism.

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March 20, 2019

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