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Mr History,

The role of Marine Corps in the Pacific is legendary, but the Army also contributed greatly to the theater as well. So my questions is: Between the Army and the Marine Corps who did most of the heavy lifting in the Pacific?

Thank you,





Dear Joe,

Although the Marines earned well deserved renown for intense island battles such as Wake, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Tarawa, Kwajalein, Guam, Tinian and Iwo Jima, the U.S. Army was active in New Guinea, the Solomons (including the second phase of the Guadalcanal campaign), the Aleutians and the Philippines, with contingents in the China-Burma-India Theater—to say nothing of the Fifth, Seventh, Tenth, Eleventh, Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Twentieth Army Air forces. While the Marines were taking Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands, the Army was taking Makin. While the Marines fought on Peleliu, the Army was seizing Angaur. Marines and Army troops were both involved in taking Saipan and Okinawa. Technically, then, the Army was doing “heavier lifting,” even though there are grimmer terms for it when the sacrifice is being measured in blood.



Jon Guttman

Research Director

World History

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