Some earned right to wear 2nd Marines badge
By Joshua Cohen, Joint Force Headquarters – Vermont National Guard Public Affairs
COLCHESTER – Each year on Nov. 10, the U.S. Marine Corps celebrates the day in 1775 when the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution establishing two battalions of Marines as a landing force for the recently formed Continental Navy. This year marks 246 years of Marine Corps service to the nation.
The Vermont National Guard has a special relationship with the Marine Corps, so unique that some Vermont Guard personnel are authorized to display the insignia of the 2nd Marine Division on their uniforms, signifying the 2nd MARDIV as a unit they served with previously.
Col. Christopher Evans, the Vermont National Guard’s chief information officer, is one such soldier.
“I served with the 2nd Marine Division,” he said. “We were attached to the Vermont Guard’s 1/172 Armor Battalion out of St. Albans. In Iraq, we served the bulk of our time in the Anbar Province with the Marines.”
Evans said at the time, Ramadi was one of the most violent places on Earth. “That’s why the Marines were sent there; they needed tank and mechanized support, and that’s where the Vermont Guard came into play.”
Evens said Vermont Guard members who operated under 2nd Marine Division command from June 2005 to June 2006 were authorized to display the 2nd Marine Division insignia by “the fact that we served honorably in a pretty tough place with the Marines.”
A substantial number of Vermont National Guard personnel served in the Marine Corps before joining the Guard. Sgt. 1st Class Carl King, property management supervisor for the Vermont Guard United States Federal Property Office (USFPO), is one.
“I was always proud to have been in the Marines,” King said. “My dad was a Marine and my brother was in the Marines, so it was like a family thing for us.”
Besides family tradition, King said he joined the Marines “because everyone in my high school class was joining the Army and going to Germany, so I wanted to do something different, to get out and see the world, and the Marine Corps gave me that opportunity.”
“I am always proud of my Marine Corps service. I’d say the Marine Corps birthday is something we always look forward to,” King said. “We celebrate in Randolph, and Marines get together, the oldest and the youngest Marine cutting the cake, the Marine Corps Hymn, it’s something. You have to be proud of your past and what you have done. It was exciting; I was in artillery most of my time.”
King joined the Marines in 1979 shortly after Iran took U.S. embassy staff hostage. “There is no amount of money in the world that I would trade my Marine Corps experience for,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Gregory Knight, Vermont’s adjutant general, noted in a statement that the Marine Corps has provided the U.S. military with an elite amphibious fighting force since its inception.
“Like all of us, they adapted in the wake of 9/11 and fought alongside us in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Knight said. “Many of us who deployed in 2005 with Task Force Saber to Ramadi, Iraq, fought under the command of both the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions. Many of our best past and present Vermont National Guard members were Marines first, and they have played a huge role in shaping who our organization is today: an outstanding community founded on integrity, service and excellence, ready to fight and win our nation’s wars. To all of our Vermont National Guard Marines, happy birthday and Semper Fi!”