Activated on December 5, 1943, this unit was deployed the following month to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. After enemy resistance had ceased there (a curiously benign expression considering what was going on, but that is the way it was described to me) the bulk of the 10th, along with Company A of the 11th Battalion was sent to Maui. Company A however, was told to remain with the 25th Marines, set up camp on a little stretch of sand known as Andrew Island, and watch as the departing ships slipped over the horizon.
Left on their own with no spare parts for their (20) LVT-2's (Landing Vehicle Tracked), their maintenance people were forced to scrounge for whatever was required to keep them a fighting force. This scrounging ended up requiring not only stripping the wrecked vehicles on the beach; but eventually diving on the tractors that were sunk on the initial landing and remained under water. When relief finally arrived after a month however, it was painfully short-lived. Before Company A could be more than half embarked on a ship with the 25th, they were told to disembark once again. Returning to their "island paradise", they discovered that their new neighbors were now the 22nd Marines.
Knowing that Marines can easily become bored on extended island visits and perhaps concerned that such idleness might lead to misadventure, they were issued orders to make "reconnaissance missions" to some of the neighboring atolls. This resulted in landings at the following Japanese held positions:
Woth Atoll March 7-14, 1944
Ujae Atoll March 7-14, 1944
Lae Atoll March 7-14, 1944
Alinglapalapalep Atoll March 18-27, 1944
Emmuik Atoll March 18-27, 1944
Ebon Atoll March 18-27, 1944
Kili Atoll March 18-27, 1944
Namu Atoll March 18-27, 1944
Rongelap Atoll March 18 - April 6, 1944
Bikini Atoll March 18 - April 6, 1944
Lemuik Atoll March 18 - April 6, 1944
Mejit Atoll March 28 - April 5, 1944
Hiluk Atoll March 28 - April 5, 1944
Uterik Atoll March 28 - April 5, 1944
(The LVT-2 that Company A used)
Forced to leave all of their equipment behind as the part of the price of passage, the Company was transported to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, where they arrived on April 12th. While no garden spot, the Company was at least "found" as far as the Marine Corps was concerned, and able to get their first mail in four months. Since there was not much of the original group left, what was left was detached from the 22nd Marines and attached to the 4th Amphibian Tractor Battalion.
As for the members of "The Lost Battalion", there aren't many of them left these days. Those that are stay in touch with each other regularly though and continue to gather every year they can to renew the bond that they shared during those war-torn days. Many of them died during that war and some have passed away since. All however, share a fierce love for each other; and a equally fierce pride in their service, their country, and the Corps. We who know them can't help but feel pride in them as well.
That pride though, is not for them alone. At this time, when many are currently serving overseas, it's only right to honor all of those who have answered the call of service to their country. It's good to remember those that served then, those who serve now or will be doing so soon. It's likewise important to revere those who made and will make the ultimate sacrifice in the protection of freedoms that we far too often take for granted.