The Striking Sixth - 6th Marine Division
N 38° 32.461 W 077° 21.636
18S E 294264 N 4268486
Quick Description: A memorial honoring the 6th Marine Division who fought in the Pacific theater of WW II sits on a hill at Quantico National Cemetery in Triangle, VA.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 3/21/2011 8:24:59 PM
Waymark Code: WMB12X
At Quantico National Cemetery
in Triangle, VA, there is a pathway that leads to nine memorials.
Among them is a memorial honoring the 6th Marine Division or the 'Striking Sixth'. The 6th Marines was formed on Guadalcanal in September 1944. They distinguished themselves during the Battle of Okinawa in WW II and earned the Presidential Unit Citation.
In 1995, to commemorate their 50th anniversary, the 6th decided to place plaques in several national cemeteries. Quantico Cemetery was one of the top sites chosen because of its close proximity to Quantico Marine Corps Base and it offered a secluded natural setting on the memorial pathway to expand the memorial beyond the plaque.
The overall design of the memorial resembles a Okinawan tomb. Not only was it a landmark in Okinawa in 1945, it also pays silent tribule to the thousands of innocent Okinawan citizens who were killed during the battle. A stone bench runs along the inside circumference. There are campaign markers along the bench arranged in chronological order starting at the right and running counterclockwise. They are MAKIN, SOLOMONS, BOUGANVILLE, MARSHALLS, OKINAWA, GUAM, SAIPAN, JAPAN, and CHINA. (OKINAWA appears at the head of the 'tomb'.) A 5' bronze plaque of the Sword and Six, the emblem of the 6th Marines, is embedded in concrete on ground level at the head of the memorial. There is a time capsule placed under the emblem for opening on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa.
On the left side of the entryway there is a plaque with a poem. It reads:
MONUMENTS AND MEMORIES
(FOR THOSE WHO NEVER CAME HOME)
SOME PEOPLE SAY I SHOULD NOT WASTE THE HOURS OF MY LIFE
ON MONUMENTS AND MEMORIES RECALLING TIMES OF STRIFE
THEY SEEM TO THINK IT ONLY IS A NAME UPON A STONE
WHILE I REFLECT THAT EASILY THAT NAME COULD BE MY OWN
SHOULD I FORGET THOSE MEN I KNEW WHO STOOD AND FELL BY ME?
SHOULD I FORGET THOSE TORRID ISLES UPON THAT SULTRY SEA?
SHOULD I FORGET THAT SMILING LAD FROM ARIZONA'S PLAIN
WHO FOUGHT ALONGSIDE ME THOUGH WOUNDED AND IN PAIN?
OR SHOULD I JUST FORGET ABOUT THAT CORPSMAN STANDING FAST
WHO PUT HIS BODY OVER MINE AND TOOK THAT MORTAR BLAST?
SHOULD I FORGET THOSE COUNTLESS MEN WHO WADED INTO SHORE
AND GAVE THEIR LIVES DEFENDING MY COUNTRY AND MY CORPS?
I CAN'T FORGET ONE SINGLE NAME. THOSE MEN ARE WITH ME STILL
IF I DON'T REMEMBER THEM, I ASK YOU THEN WHO WILL?
ROBERT A. GANNON
On the right side, a plaque reads:
The ‘Striking Sixth’
The 6th MARINE DIVISION was formed on Guadalcanal in September 1944 and was composed of
three infantry regiments: 4th Marines; 22nd Marines; 29th Marines; an artillery regiment, 15th
Marines and several support units.
The 4th MARINES dates back to 1911. It fought in the Phillipines in 1942; was reactivated in 1944
from battalions of the famous Raiders; fought with the 2nd Marines as the 1st Provisional Marine
Brigade in the Invasion of Guam; became part of the ‘Striking Sixth.’
The 22nd MARINES was formed in June 1942. It did garrison duty on Samoa; assaulted Engebi
Island in the Kwajelein Atoll in February 1944; fought in the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade
at Guam; became part of the ‘Striking Sixth.’
The 29th MARINES was formed in May 1944. The 1st Battalion participated in the assault on
Saipan, then became part of the ‘Striking Sixth'.
The 15th MARINES consisted of the artillery units formerly with the 4th, 22nd and 29th Regiments.
The 6th MARINE DIVISION was only in existence for 19 months. It left a record of distinguished
service second to none. It was awarded the coveted PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION as a result
of its superior performance during the Battle of Okinawa.
The monument was unveiled on April 14, 2000.
A sign near the road marks the location of the Memorial Pathway which is a trail that winds up through the trees. The 6th Marine Division memorial is at the top and overlooks part of the cemetery.
Quantico National Cemetery is open daily, sunrise to sunset.