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Belleau in Aisne Département, Picardie, France
 

Belleau Wood Marine Memorial

 

—Iron Mike —

 
Belleau Wood Marine Memorial Marker image. Click for full size.
By Martin Kondreck (SP-2, US Army), November 18, 1955
1. Belleau Wood Marine Memorial Marker
Photograph taken at the November 18, 1955 dedication. Photograph is courtesy of the United States Marine Corps History Division.
Inscription. English text:
Bois de Belleau
officially renamed
Bois de la Brigade de Marine
by the
Commanding General
French Sixth Army
on 30 June 1918

In recognition of the courageous action of the 4th United States Marine Brigade in the seizure of this wood in the face of determined German resistance. On 27 May, 1918, the Germans launched a major surprise offensive which crossed the Chemin des Dames and captured Soissons. By 31 May, their armies were advancing rapidly down the Marne Valley toward Paris. The 2nd United States Army Division, of which the 4th Marine Brigade formed a part, was rushed into the deepest point of penetration to assist the French forces in stopping the advance of the enemy. Rapidly occupying defensive positions south and west of Belleau Wood. The 4th Marine Brigade, comprised of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments and the 6th Machine Gun Battalion, stood firm under unremitting enemy attacks from 1 to 5 June. On 6 June the Marines began a series of attacks which culminated on 25 June with the capture of the entire Belleau Wood area, and the defeat of the German offensive in this sector. May the gallant Marines who here gave their lives for Corps and Country Rest In Peace

En
Close up of English text image. Click for full size.
By Michael Manning, June 24, 2015
2. Close up of English text
Francais:
Bois de Belleau
officiellement nommé
Bois de la Brigade de
Marines par le
Général Commandant
la VIe Armée française
le 30 juin 1918

Cette plaque commémore la glorieuse action de la 4e Brigade de Marines des Etats-Unis d’Amérique qui s’emparèrent de ce bois, brisant une résistance acharnée des Allemands. Le 27 mai 1918, l’ennemi ayant lancé par surprise une puissante offensive sur le Chemin des Dames s’emparait de Soissons. Le 31 mai, l’armée allemande fonçait sur Paris et sur la vallée de la Marne. Afin d’aider les Troupes françaises, la 2e Division d’Infanterie américaine dont faisait partie la 4e Brigade de Marines fut lancée à l’extrême pointe de l’avance ennemie occupant rapidement des positions défensives au sud et à l’ouest du bois de Belleau. La 4e Brigade, composée des 5e et 6e Régiment de Marines et du 6e bataillon de mitrailleurs tint sous d’incessantes attaques du 1er au 5 juin. Le 6 juin, la 4e Brigade passe à l’attaque et le 25 juin, après une série d’actions héroïques, le bois de Belleau est repris à l’ennemi et l’offensive allemande brisée dans ce secteur. Aux glorieux Marines qui donnèrent leur vie pour leur corps et pour leur Patrie.
Qu’ils reposent en Paix
 
Erected
Belleau Wood Marine Memorial Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Manning, June 24, 2015
3. Belleau Wood Marine Memorial Marker
1955 by the United States Marine Corps.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Medal of Honor Recipients marker series.
 
Location. 49° 4.392′ N, 3° 17.456′ E. Marker is in Belleau, Picardie, in Aisne Département. Marker is on Rue Bois Belleau, in the median. Click for map. The monument/marker is located within the Bois de la Marine reserve immediately south of the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery. Follow the signs from the cemetery to the reserve. Marker is in this post office area: Belleau, Picardie 02400, France.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 kilometers of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Belleau Wood USMC Operations Map (within shouting distance of this marker); Belleau Wood USMC Interpretive Panel #1 (within shouting distance of this marker); Belleau Wood USMC Interpretive Panel #2 (within shouting distance of this marker); Belleau Wood USMC Interpretive Panel #3 (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line); Belleau Wood USMC Interpretive Panel #4 (about 90 meters away); Belleau Wood USMC Interpretive Panel #5 (about 90 meters away);
Belleau Wood Marine Memorial Dedication image. Click for full size.
By Martin Kondreck (SP-2, US Army), November 18, 1955
4. Belleau Wood Marine Memorial Dedication
General Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr., then Commandant of the Marine Corps, returned after 37 years to Belleau Wood, where he had fought as a Lieutenant during World War I, to deliver the major address dedicating the monument (covered by flag) to the 4th Brigade of U.S. Marines and their gallantry during the Belleau Wood encounter of 1918.
Official photograph from the archives of the Marine Corps History Division.
American Aisne-Marne Memorial (approx. 6.8 kilometers away); American 3rd Division Monument (approx. 8.5 kilometers away). Click for a list of all markers in Belleau.
 
More about this marker. This is the only memorial in Europe dedicated solely to the United States Marines.
 
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia entry for the Battle of Belleau Wood. (Submitted on August 6, 2015.)
2. American Battle Monuments Commission - Belleau Wood. (Submitted on August 12, 2015, by Michael Manning of Woodlawn, Tennessee.)
 
Categories. War, World I
 
"Iron Mike" image. Click for full size.
By Michael Manning, June 24, 2015
5. "Iron Mike"
While this monument is officially titled The Marine Memorial, Marines have nicknamed this "Iron Mike."
Close up view image. Click for full size.
By Michael Manning, June 24, 2015
6. Close up view
This life-size bas-relief, depicting a Marine attacking with rifle with fixed bayonet, was created by Felix de Weldon, the same sculptor who created the Marine Corps Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Felix de Weldon at the dedication of the Belleau Wood Marine Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Martin Kondreck (SP-2, US Army), November 18, 1955
7. Felix de Weldon at the dedication of the Belleau Wood Marine Memorial
Official photograph from the Marine Corps History Division archives.
Cannon and Battle Damage in Belleau Wood image. Click for full size.
By Michael Manning, June 24, 2015
8. Cannon and Battle Damage in Belleau Wood
Cannon and Battle Damage in Belleau Wood image. Click for full size.
By Michael Manning, June 24, 2015
9. Cannon and Battle Damage in Belleau Wood
Belleau Wood Hunting Lodge image. Click for full size.
By Michael Manning, June 24, 2015
10. Belleau Wood Hunting Lodge
Damaged during the battle, the hunting lodge has been preserved at the Belleau Wood battlefield as part of the American Battle Monument at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial.
Damaged Hunting Lodge image. Click for full size.
circa 1918
11. Damaged Hunting Lodge
The private hunting lodge was a landmark for the Americans fighting in Belleau Wood. This photo, taken immediately after the battle, is from the photographic archives of the United States Marine Corps History Division.
Belleau Wood Marine Memorial image. Click for full size.
12. Belleau Wood Marine Memorial
This photograph, courtesy of the Marine Corps History Division photographic archives, shows the area prior to World War II. The buildings, an early war museum, did not survive the second German occupation of these woods.
Note also the central flag pole and cross shaped memorial to the right. That original memorial read:
In Memory of 50 and more American Heroes Whose resting places in this Wood Are still unknown.
Lt. Orlando H. Petty-Medal of Honor Recipient-Bois de Belleau image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 12, 2000
13. Lt. Orlando H. Petty-Medal of Honor Recipient-Bois de Belleau
He is buried in St. Timothy Churchyard, Roxborough PA. His Medal of Honor information and citation is: PETTY, ORLANDO HENDERSON • Rank and organization: Lieutenant (Medical Corps), USNRF • Appointed from: Pennsylvania Citation: For extraordinary heroism while serving with the 5th Regiment, U.S. Marines, in France during the attack in the Boise de Belleau, 11 June 1918. While under heavy fire of high explosive and gas shells in the town of Lucy, where his dressing station was located, Lt. Petty attended to and evacuated the wounded under most trying conditions. Having been knocked to the ground by an exploding gas shell which tore his mask, Lt. Petty discarded the mask and courageously continued his work. His dressing station being hit and demolished, he personally helped carry Capt. Williams, wounded, through the shellfire to a place of safety.
Gy Sgt Fred W. Stockham, Medal of Honor Recipient-Bois du Belleau image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, October 31, 2000
14. Gy Sgt Fred W. Stockham, Medal of Honor Recipient-Bois du Belleau
He is buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Union NJ. He was Killed in Acton. His Medal of Honor information and citation is: *STOCKHAM, FRED W. (Army Medal) • Rank and organization: Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 96th Company, 2d Battalion, 6th Regiment • Place and date: In Bois-de-Belleau, France, 13-14 June 1918 • Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Citation: During an intense enemy bombardment with high explosive and gas shells which wounded or killed many members of the company, G/Sgt. Stockham, upon noticing that the gas mask of a wounded comrade was shot away, without hesitation, removed his own gas mask and insisted upon giving it to the wounded man, well knowing that the effects of the gas would be fatal to himself. He continued with undaunted courage and valor to direct and assist in the evacuation of the wounded, until he himself collapsed from the effects of gas, dying as a result thereof a few days later. His courageous conduct undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his wounded comrades and his conspicuous gallantry and spirit of self-sacrifice were a source of great inspiration to all who served with him.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Michael Manning of Woodlawn, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 350 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   2, 3. submitted on , by Michael Manning of Woodlawn, Tennessee.   4. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   5, 6. submitted on , by Michael Manning of Woodlawn, Tennessee.   7. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   8, 9, 10. submitted on , by Michael Manning of Woodlawn, Tennessee.   11. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   12. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   13, 14. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Readable picture (and fate) of the original cross shaped memorial to the unknown here. • Can you help?
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