Monday, September 16, 2013


The Marines assigned to the U.S. Asiatic Fleet or its predecessors the East Asian Squadron and Asiatic Squadron, were the original China Marines. Sailing aboard warships they hovered around the great ports of China, occasionally landing to combat piracy or protect American citizens and their interests. Normally Marines were assigned to battleships, cruisers and larger gunboats (see the gunboat section). Following the Boxer Rebellion the US Asiatic Fleet consisted of several battleships, treaty cruisers, monitors and gunboats.

In 1906 the battleships returned stateside and were replaced by a squadron of armored cruisers. In turn, around 1910 the armored cruisers were replaced by a single heavy cruiser, light cruisers, destroyers and submarines through 1941. Furthermore, the ships smelled so bad that Marines spent their entire cruise sleeping wrapped up in ponchos topside…despite rain, snow or the stray artillery round from the second Chinese Civil War.

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