Marines in World War II Commemorative Series
Outpost in the North Atlantic
Lieutenant General Leo D. Hermle
Major General John Marston
Special Subjects
Activiation of the 2d Marine Division
Life of the Prewar Marine Corps
Uniforms and Equipment
Polar Bear Patch
Relations with the British
Nissen Huts
Clothing for Iceland
Staff and Command List — 1st Marine Brigade

OUTPOST IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC: Marines in the Defense of Iceland
by Colonel James A. Donovan, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret)


The basic sources for this work are: History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II — Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal by LtCol Frank O. Hough, Maj Verle E. Ludwig, and Henry I. Shaw, Jr. (Washington: Historical Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps, 1958); A Brief History of the 6th Marines (Washington: Marine Corps Historical Center, 1987) by LtGen William K. Jones, USMC (Ret): Follow Me! The Story of the Second Marine Division in World War II (New York: Random House, 1948) by Richard W. Johnston; The Battle of the Atlantic (Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1977) by Barrie Pitt and Time-Life editors; The United States Marines: 1775-1975 (New York: Viking Press, 1976) by BGen Edwin H. Simmons, USMC (Ret); The United States Marine Corps (New York: Praeger, 1967) by Col James A. Donovan, USMC (Ret); The United States Marines in Iceland (Washington: Historical Division, HQMC, 1970) by LtCol Kenneth J. Clifford, USMCR; "Iceland," Marine Corps Gazette, Nov65; The First Marine Brigade (Provisional) 1941-1942 (Washington: Historical Division, HQMC, 1946) by John L. Zimmerman; Mr. Roosevelt's Navy (Annapolis: United States Naval Institute Press, 1975) by Patrick Abbazia; and U.S. Marine Corps Aviation (Washington: DCNO [Air Warfare] and ComNavAirSys, 1978) by MajGen John P. Condon, USMC (Ret).

All oral history transcripts addressing the Marine deployment to Iceland were examined. The interviews with the following officers were found particularly useful: Gen Oliver P. Smith; MajGen William A. Worton; MajGen Raymond L. Murray; and LtGen Leo D. Hermle. In addition, the diary, notes, and comments of LtCol Oliver P. Smith about his duties as CO, 1stBn, 6th Mar, serving at San Diego, California, and Iceland were researched in the Personal Papers Collection, Marine Corps Historical Center.

Besides the letters, photographs, interview tapes, and personal papers of the author, others from the following were gratefully received and useful in writing this history: LtCol Harold K. Throneson, USMC (Ret); Gen David M. Shoup, USMC (Ret) (Dec) (letters and papers furnished by Mrs. D.M. Shoup); Col David E. Marshall, USMC (Ret); LtCol Robert J. Vroegindewey, USMC (Ret); and Col James O. Appleyard, USMC (Ret). The files of the Reference and Archives Sections of the Marine Corps Historical Center were also searched for material and official documentation relating to the Marine deployment to Iceland.

About the Author

Col James A. Donovan

Colonel James A. Donovan, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired), entered the Marine Corps via the 1938 Western Platoon Leaders Class. He was commissioned in the Reserve upon graduation from Dartmouth College in 1939 and went on active duty with Chicago's 9th Reserve Battalion in 1940.

He soon was assigned to the 5th Marines and remained in the regiment throughout World War II, participating in battles at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, and Tinian. He served as platoon leader, company commander, operations officer, and finally executive officer of the 1st Battalion. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Silver Star Medals.

After World War II, he was editor of Leatherneck Magazine. During the Korean War he was assigned to 1st Marine Division and later went to 3d Marine Division on Okinawa to command the 2d Battalion, 9th Marines.

He retired from active service in November 1963 and became publisher of the Army, Navy, Air Force Journal. In 1967 he went to work at Georgia Tech in public relations and publications, and retired in 1980.

Colonel Donovan is the author of The United States Marine Corps (Praeger, 1967) and Militarism, U.S.A. (Scribners, 1970).

insignias from 50th Anniversary

THIS PAMPHLET HISTORY, one in a series devoted to U.S. Marines in the World War II era, is published for the education and training of Marines by the History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., as a part of the U.S. Department of Defense observance of the 50th anniversary of victory in that war.

Editorial costs of preparing this pamphlet have been defrayed in part by a bequest from the estate of Emilie H. Watts, in memory of her late husband, Thomas M. Watts, who served as a Marine and was the recipient of a Purple Heart.


Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons, USMC (Ret)


Benis M. Frank

George C. MacGillivray

Robert E. Struder, Senior Editor; W. Stephen Hill, Visual Information Specialist;
Catherine A. Kerns, Composition Services Technician, R.D. Payne, Volunteer—Web Edition, and Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation—Web Edition.

Marine Corps Historical Center
Building 58, Washington Navy Yard
Washington, D.C. 20374-5040


PCN 190 003118 00

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Commemorative Series produced by the Marine Corps History and Museums Division