National Geographic : 1950 Nov
653 U. S. Marine Corps, Official Marine Riflemen Surprise the Defense with a Helicopter Landing Such aircraft already have gone into action with the First Marine Division on the Korean front. Among their many jobs are reconnaissance and evacuation of wounded. Here, in a demonstration at Quantico, Vir ginia, a Leatherneck squad shows how a twin-rotor ship can drop men behind enemy lines (page 663). behind the scenes, he's busy with cloak and dagger. Marine officers often serve as naval at taches; some aid the State Department on missions to such remote capitals as Addis Ababa, or in trying to negotiate a peace be tween warring factions in turbulent lands. When in 1846 war with Mexico was immi nent, and we believed that Great Britain and France coveted California, President James K. Polk wanted to send orders to the American consul at Monterey, to our Navy on the west coast, and to Capt. John C. Fremont, who was out there on an exploring trip. Polk chose Marine Lt. Archibald H. Gil lespie as his agent. Gillespie made his way across Mexico in disguise, talked to the com mander of our Pacific Squadron, Commodore John D. Sloat, then sailed to Monterey. There he gave Consul Thomas O. Larkin the White House message. But Fremont was away, up near the Oregon line. After a trek of 600 miles through savage Indian lands, Gillespie met up with him. It's history now that our western boundary was extended to the Pacific; and Gillespie, by courage and tenacity, played his part in gain ing California for Uncle Sam. California and the Marines have always been good friends. When the Cyane sailed to take San Diego, Lt. Stephen Clegg Rowan, its executive officer, went ashore on July 30, 1846, with a Marine guard commanded by Lt. William P. C. Maddox. It was this Marine officer, local historians say, who doubt less raised the Stars and Stripes over that part of San Diego known as Old Town. It was the first time our flag flew hereabouts. Maddox served with distinction in the Cali fornia campaign. Today, Marines and former members of the Corps are active in San Diego life.* The dramatic editor of the morning newspaper is a former Marine. So is the owner of the largest sporting goods store, the window trim mer at a big department store, the under sheriff of the county, an assistant cashier at a large bank, and a former mayor of Coronado. When they call San Diego a "Navy town," that, of course, takes in the Marines. Hush-hush Training Hush-hush training-in radar and espionage work-goes on secretly behind barbed wire at Camp Del Mar, in southern California. There I visited Capt. Kenneth J. Houghton, USMC, who a year ago took a group of men * See "San Diego Can't Believe It," by Frederick Simpich, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, January, 1942.