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Marine Corps terminology during World War II

 
Total Posts: 2

I’m hoping I can get some help here.  I am writing a paper on my father’s involvement in World War II.  He served with the Sixth Marine Division as a Corporal in a 60mm Mortar squad in the battle of Okinawa.  In a letter he sent home to his sister, he was in training on Guadalcanal and mentions he was Corporal of the Guard the night he wrote the letter.  What is a Corporal of the Guard and what duties are involved with this?  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Cynthia Lipsius
daughter of Hugh Lipsius, E-2-29, Sixth Marine Division

Total Posts: 14

Guard duty has a chain of command with the Sentry being the lowest or the actual guard of a specified post or area. Should someone appear or the sentry find something uusecured or any event, really, he/she is to call out, “Sergeant (or Corporal) of the guard, post (whatever number they are at)!” The Sgt or Cpl will hurry to that post and attempt to solve whatever problem the sentry is reporting. Should that person need more authority or encounter a problem unfamiliar, that person would call out (or radio for) “Officer of the Day, (post number)!” The Officer of the day, or O.D. would take charge from the NCO.
The Marine Corps is unique in that E-4 and above are Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and are expected to be capable of commanding those of lesser rank, those being Lance Corporal, then Private First Class and the lowest, the Private. When I was promoted to Corporal, you were said to have picked up your coffee cup because NCOs are not required to perform manual labor under usual circumstances. Of course, that does not apply if more hands are needed urgently.
A Corporal of the guard would be more experienced than the person walking sentry duty and should be able to handle most situations. I’m sure that on Guadalcanal the sentry was authorized to use deadly force but in those areas and at that time of the war, a constant danger would be shooting another Marine or sailor so the Corporal of the guard would need to monitor everyone who has little or no experience. The Corporal or Sergeant of the guard in peacetime or stateside would be responsible for anyone carrying a loaded weapon or ammunition and being sure they are not.
It beats being the sentry and carries alot less responsibility than the O.D.

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Total Posts: 6

Well put Richard

 
 
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