Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Forgotten War

No, not Korea.

The forgotten war of the 1920s and the 1930, the Banana Wars.

Haiti --1915 to 1934.
Dominican Republic--1916-1924.
Honduras, where the term "banana republic" was coined to describe the use of U.S. Marines in support of the United Fruit Company--off and on between 1903 and 1925.


And since I like stories about Marines, here's one.

Christian Frank Schilt, one of the early pilots in the Marine Corps, received the Medal of Honor for actions taken in January of 1928 in Nicaragua. Here's the citation:
During the progress of an insurrection at Quilali, Nicaragua, 6, 7, and 8 January 1928, 1st Lt. Schilt, then a member of a marine expedition which had suffered severe losses in killed and wounded, volunteered under almost impossible conditions to evacuate the wounded by air and transport a relief commanding officer to assume charge of a very serious situation. 1st Lt. Schilt bravely undertook this dangerous and important task and, by taking off a total of 10 times in the rough, rolling street of a partially burning village, under hostile infantry fire on each occasion, succeeded in accomplishing his mission, thereby actually saving 3 lives and bringing supplies and aid to others in desperate need.
Christian Schilt went on to serve in the Pacific in WWII, then was commander of the 1st Marine Airwing in Korea. He retired as a 4-star in 1957. There were not many times during his career that the gates to the temple would have been closed.


WoFat said...

The Marines in China, pre-WWII, comes to mind.

tonsplace said...

all of them are forgotten wars when you think about it.

Chris said...

And the suppression of the Philippine insurrection in the years after the U.S. took over from Spain. This is the conflict that, nearly directly, caused the development of the M1911. I did a paper on this war my junior year in college ROTC, and learned about Aguinaldo (and the shameful way the Army captured him - under a white flag), the Moros (who are still pirates), and casual dehumanization of one's opponents. One of the books I read for the paper mentioned a song sung by many of the American troops there about the Filipinos. See it in this article about the Krag rifle: What the Wiki article fails to mention is that this is sung to the tune of "Jesus Loves the Little Children".

Old 1811 said...

A good book about these wars (for a novice like me) is The Savage Wars of Peace by Max Boot. The book is about every small war from Tripoli to Vietnam (he talks about the mismanagement of Vietnam), and has quite a bit about the Boxer Rebellion, the banana wars, etc. A lot of information about Smedley Butler. Worth a read.