The 5th Marine Regiment is an infantry regiment of the United States Marine Corps. The home of the 5th Marine Regiment or more commonly referred to as the 5th Marines is Camp Pendleton, California. It is one of the most decorated regiments in the US Marine Corps. The 5th Marines' history can be traced back to World War I. The regiment was activated in June 1917 and deployed to France. The unit was involved in an intense battle of Belleau Wood. During the unit’s deployment to France, they participated in both offensive and defensive campaigns. The regiment was relocated back to the United States in August 1919. It was inactivated on August 13, 1919, at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.
The regiment then was reactivated in July 1920, participating in mail guard duty, until they were deployed to Nicaragua in January 1927, then deactivated in April 1930. The next reactivation occurred in September 1934 at Quantico, Virginia. During World War II, they were deployed to fight in Guadalcanal, New Britain, Eastern New Guinea, Peleliu and Okinawa. In 1949, the unit was relocated to Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton.
During the Korea War, the unit was deployed to Pusan Perimeter and were involved in fighting East-Central Front and Western Front until the end of hostilities. On March 5th, 1966, the 5th Marines, (The Fighting Fifth) deployed to the Republic of Vietnam. For the next five years, the regiment fought at Rung Sat, Chu Lai, Hue, Phu Loc, Que Son Valley, An Hoa, Tam Ky and Da Nang.
John Culbertson’s book, 13 Cent Killer, the 5th Marine Snipers of Vietnam tells the reader the story of the Marine sniper teams in Vietnam. The cost of a bullet in 1967 was thirteen cents. Culbertson states that “no one gave Uncle Sam a bigger bang for his buck than the 5th Marine Regiment Sniper Platoon. I would highly recommend you read this book, and you may even see a familiar name.
This week we salute Stan Watson. Three of his brothers served in the U.S. Army, but Stan chose to serve in the US Marine Corps from 1966 to 1968. He did one tour in Vietnam as a sniper. Sniper teams were integral to the daily patrols. The teams “were at the cutting edge in the art of jungle warfare, showing the patience, stealth, combat marksmanship, and raw courage.” When Stan left the Marine Corps, he returned to Rosebud county, where he has worked as a highly skilled carpenter for over forty-four years. Stan Watson is married and has two children. Hoorah!
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Dr. Irene Dickerson is a retired Army Colonel living her best life in Big Sky Country.