With increasing tensions between the Unites States and the empire of Japan, the “China Marines” of the Fourth Marine Regiment, “The Oldest and the Proudest”, departed Shanghai for the Philippines on November 27-28, 1941. The first elements arrived at Subic Bay on November 30.
A week later and 5,000 miles to the east, the radio crackled to life in the early – morning hours of December 7. “Air raid on Pearl Harbor. This is no drill!”
Military forces of Imperial Japan appeared unstoppable in the early months of WWII, attacking first Thailand, then the British possessions of Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as US military bases in Hawaii, Wake Island, Guam and the Philippines.
On January 7, Japanese forces attacked the Bataan peninsula. The Fourth Marines, under Army command, were ordered to help strengthen defenses on the “Gibraltar of the East”, the heavily fortified island of Corregidor.
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