Marines in World War II Commemorative Series
D+1-D+2, 16-17 June
D+3, 18 June
D+4-D+7, 19-22 June
D+8-D+15, 23-30 June
D+16-D+19, 1-4 July
D+20-D+23, 5-8 July
D+24, 9 July
Saipan's Legacy
Lt. Gen. Holland M. Smith
Maj. Gen. Harry Schmidt
Maj. Gen. Thomas E. Watson
PFC Harold Christ Agerholm
PFC Harold Glenn Epperson
Sgt. Grant Frederick Timmerman
GySgt Robert H. McCard
Special Subjects
The 2d Marine Division
The 4th Marine Division
The Army 27th Infantry Division
Divisional Reorganiation
Ground Command List
Marine Artillery Regiments
Navy Chaplains

by Captain John C. Chapin
U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (Ret)


There are five principal official sources for the facts about the unit actions on Saipan. These range from preliminary, condensed accounts to massive, detailed final studies which reach down to the level of company operations. In the interests of brevity, the author of this monograph has limited himself to covering the actions of regiments and divisions, with minor special exceptions.

The five sources are:

1) Henry I. Shaw, Jr., Bernard C. Nalty, and Edwin T. Turnbladh, Central Pacific Drive, vol. 3, History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II (Washington: Historical Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1966).

2) Philip A. Crowl, Campaign in the Marianas, vol 9., United States Army in World War II, The War in the Pacific (Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1960).

3) Maj Carl W. Hoffman, USMC Saipan: The Beginning of the End (Washington: Historical Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1950).

4) Capt James R. Stockman, USMC, Campaign for the Marianas (Washington: Historical Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1946).

5) Capt Edmund G. Love, USA, The 27th Infantry Division in World War II (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1949).

In addition, there is a wide variety of other literature on the Saipan operation. This material ranges from a 19-page essay by a Naval Academy midshipman, to first-hand accounts appearing in the Marine Corps Gazette, to wildly subjective books dealing with individual experiences or the "Smith vs Smith" controversy.

To supplement the framework of unit tactics, vignettes of individuals have been drawn from two principal sources:

1) The Personal Papers Collection of the Marine Corps Historical Center has useful memoirs, particularly those of Frederick A. Stott (473-4A32), John C. Chapin (671-4A44), and Robert E. Graf (1946-6B12).

2) In the Center's Oral History Collection, the author examined well over a dozen reminiscences and found only four that involved front-line experiences: Lieutenant Colonel Justice M. Chambers, USMCR (C2); Captain Carl W. Hoffman, USMC, (H2); Lieutenant Colonel William K. Jones, USMC, (J2); and Lieutenant John H. Craven, ChC, USN, (C3).

About the Author

Captain John C. Chapin

Captain John C. Chapin earned a bachelor of arts degree with honors in history from Yale University in 1942 and was commissioned later that year. He served as a rifle platoon leader in the 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division, and was wounded in action during the assault landings on Roi-Namur and Saipan.

Transferred to duty at the Historical Division, Headquarters Marine Corps, he wrote the first official histories of the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions. Moving to reserve status at the end of World War II, he earned a master's degree in history at George Washington University with a thesis on "The Marine Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1922."

Now a captain in retired status, he has devoted major portions of 10 years to writing history as a volunteer at the Marine Corps Historical Center. His first publication there was an official monograph, A History of VMFA-115, for one of the Marine Corps' better-known squadrons. With support from the Historical Center and the Marine Corps Historical Foundation, he then spent some years researching and interviewing for the writing of a new book, Uncommon Men—The Sergeants Major of the Marine Corps. This was published by the White Mane Publishing Co.

Acknowledgement is gratefully made to Lieutenant General William K. Jones, USMC (Ret), for his first draft of an account of the Saipan operation.

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

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


PCN 190 003123 00

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