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09-29-04, 07:14 AM #1
Red patches denote support Marines, ease confusion on battlefield
Red patches denote support Marines, ease confusion on battlefield
Submitted by: MCB Camp Butler
Story Identification #: 200492820475
Story by Lance Cpl. Martin R. Harris
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan — (Sept. 27, 2004) -- You see them everywhere on Marine Corps installations -- Marines with small, red patches uniformly stitched to their camouflage trousers and covers. But what many may not know is that these Marines, with their distinctive, red patches, are symbolic of a uniform change that dates back to the bloody beaches of World War II.
Support Marines first adopted the red patch because of confusion between infantry Marines and landing support Marines during the World War II island-hopping campaign. Commanders were having trouble distinguishing between combat and support Marines, often leading commanders to send landing support Marines into front-line action.
When a lieutenant from the infantry ran up to a support Marine and said, “Grab your rifle, you’re coming with me,” the Marine had no way to prove that he was a support Marine. The support Marine grabbed his rifle and went, which led to serious breakdowns in the flow of supplies and gear, explained 1st Sgt. Stephen A. Bell, Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Transportation Support Battalion, 3rd Force Service Support Group.
This problem was addressed at a 2nd Marine Division planners’ conference, which was held after the battle of Tarawa in 1943. The division planners decided to have a red patch sewn on the support Marines’ covers, or hats, and trousers, setting them apart from infantry Marines, according to retired Marine Col. James A. Donovan, former editor of “Leatherneck Magazine.”
The new patch not only helped the landing specialists, but it also worked in reverse order, preventing “gung ho” support Marines’ from moving into combat areas, Bell explained.
The sense of pride and responsibility within the current day 3rd TSB is no different from that of the landing support Marines of 1943. The battalion assists III Marine Expeditionary Force units during every exercise, explained Lt. Col. Christopher B. Snyder, executive officer for the battalion.
“We are the mechanism that provides the arrival and assembly for III MEF,” Snyder said. “We load and unload all the ships and aircraft and also run any beachhead or railroad operations.”
The support battalion’s red patch is known worldwide. They recently had the opportunity to be ambassadors to the Thai Army while taking part in cross-training exercises during Cobra Gold ’04 in Thailand.
“After carrying out our duties as the landing party, we cross trained with the Thai military by performing (high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle) maintenance and medical training,” Snyder said. “Any time we get to interact with another nation’s military, it’s a great opportunity to learn not only about the professional differences between us, but also the cultural differences.”
The red patch is a sign of tradition and responsibility, explained 3rd TSB Sergeant Major Billy R. Hawkins.
“To my Marines, the red patch warrants a sense of respect and defines them as ‘the Marines in charge,’” Hawkins said. “Marines getting on or off a ship can see a red patch and know they can ask that red-patcher (Marine) for directions to find their gear or basically anything
else that Marine needs.”
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan — Motor vehicle operator Lance Cpl. Christopher Tandoc secures the top of a high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle at 3rd Transportation Support Battalion’s motor pool here Sept. 27. Red patches, like the one on Tandoc’s camouflage trousers, have been a part of the Marine Corps’ landing support battalions, now called transportation support battalions, for more than 60 years. The patch was adopted after the battle of Tarawa in 1943 to distinguish landing support Marines from infantry Marines in order to eliminate confusion in the heat of battle. Tandoc is with 3rd TSB’s motor transportation company. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Martin R. Harris
IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
ONE PROUD MARINE
Once a Marine...Always a Marine
09-29-04, 09:41 AM #2
Correct Me If I'm Wrong
The red patch Marines were in WW2 and Korea [last I saw] and were called...Shore Party [a MOS field]...I was surprised that designation was never mentioned in the above article.
09-29-04, 10:00 AM #3
You're right - they still called them that as late as 1994.
Someone, somewhere, thought it sounded better to call them Landing Support Battalion (LSB) - so that's what they are called now.
Sounds a little less Navy and a little more Marine.
09-29-04, 11:02 AM #4
I THOUGHT THEY WERE CALLED PIONEER BATTALIONS IN THE 50*S---I WAS IN 2ND SERVICE BATTALION IN 1960 & THEY STILL HAD PEOPLE WEARING THE RED PATCH IN OUR AREA
09-29-04, 04:05 PM #5
Eddie...you're probably right about the ...Pioneer...moniker in the late 1950s...I know during WW2 and throughout the Korean War years it was ...Shore Party...for the red/tag Marines...they did a great job getting the Marines off the beaches with alacrity and dispatch; plus, stowing all the essential combat gear for the critical and offensive salient thrusts inland, etc...nobody can get away from...change...it's like anything else in life...nothing remains the same, it seems. Semper Fi
07-28-09, 03:55 AM #6
The Names changed , but the patches remained the same !! The Name was changed from Pioneers about 1964 back to ShoreParty Bns. we still had Pioneer signs up when i checked into Shore Party.. and was changed to Landing Support sometime after my discharge. (Them RedPatches made from Bloodstripes for blues) about one inch square on the center front sweatband of Utility Cover,, one by three inches long at the outside break of the knee on Utility Trousers . the patches could get you almost anywhere, and a guarantee trip back home.
07-28-09, 04:39 AM #7
I'm going to be a jerk, so be warned.
Every Marine a rifleman.... except these guys who wear a badge that say they can't go into the fight unless the fight comes to them.
They definitely serve a vital function to the USMC, but the red patch is more a result of tradition and not one of function.
If they want to be recognized as a logistical guy let them wear a glow strap.
Or wear a sign that says "Don't pick me for the QRF, I signed up with an MOS that doesn't let me go into the fight."
Where's my patch that says its ok for me to go into the fight?
I want it to be a brown skull backed with crossed rifles resting on a mound of dead enemy solders with the words "Hate Magnet" underneath.
07-28-09, 05:06 AM #8
Pete, they are still rifleman. I'm sure they qual every year But, the fact is that they have a job to do, and they can't do it if they get pulled to the front lines every time they land. The Marine Corps may be over its recruiting goal, but that doesn't mean they have enough people to replace these guys everytime one would get pulled away
07-28-09, 08:44 PM #9
I'm a Red Patcher 0481. Who says we can't go into the fight? We can easily get attached to units to deploy that have nothing to do with LS. And then they make them take the red patches off and serve a different purpose.
Regardless we provide a essential part of the mission as is. We could easily move an arty battery miles ahead in a matter of a couple hours, something they couldn't do on the ground. Same goes with Ammo, water/chow, equipment, etc. You name it we can airlift it where ever it needs to be.
09-03-09, 07:56 AM #10
We got Marines attached to CLB-4 coming back from Afghan, Marines coming back from Iraq, and a group of about 12 that came back from Afghan here about a month ago and more being sent back to the sand box, None of them are serving in the redpatchers mos, they are serving as 0331, 0311, 0351 then some as motor t drivers and many other Mos's, CLR-37 is increasing our size as the Landing Support Company and we are trying to be deployed as a unit, rather than just ia billets or small groups tasked out. Granted we will never get away from the small groups being tasked, but we still are hoping to be sent as a unit, rather than breaking us apart and spreading us to the wind. But we are sent where the Corps needs us, our job is just as important as yours, we still get the training you do as a Marine, a Rifleman, a Warrior. Then we have our training we do for our MOS, dont get me wrong, im not saying we are better than any other MOS or get more training, But we wear our patches, we stand out, and we are d@mn proud to answer the question " What are those Patches for? What do they mean?" with some stupid answer we sit around at night and think of something to say. And you would be surprise what works.
one of my favs -
"What does the Red Patch Stand for?"
"It signifies our mos, im a Inflight missle tech."
"Really hows that work out for you?"
"its alright, but its a b!tch when you drop your tools..."
07-22-10, 10:13 PM #11
You can bet I am damn proud of my Redpatches
Some of my Favs
Submarine Door Gunner
Alaskan Ice Fire Fighter
07-22-10, 10:55 PM #12
Be a quarterback on your own, but you need an offensive line to support you. We are a team, not prima-donnas. As a team member, I have the deepest respect for the 03xx community. They are well trained, intelligent, motivated warriors who deserve respect and honor.
As a former "Red Patcher" I can garuntee you that my comrades would not hesitate to join you in the fight if allowed and be ****ed if they could not. The former Company Gunny of my LSB Co would agree, he is now the SGTMAJ of the Marine Corps.
07-22-10, 11:04 PM #13
07-22-10, 11:59 PM #14
Red patch 1345 LSE Co. 3rd and 2nd LSB, proud of it, nothing moves without HE
07-23-10, 07:23 AM #15
I wore the red patch for awhile in 1955 and it was called shore party, not only did we wear the patch on the cap and the leg butt we had one in the middle of our back on our utility blouse, it was a red circle, my mos was 1375 demolition specialist.
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