Post Korean Era (The Expansion of Marine Corps CI)
Corps CI Expansion
During and after the Korean War, Headquarters Marine Corps updated the
Counterintelligence Order three times (28 Feb 1951 - number 87, 24 Feb 1953 -number 121
and 4 Sept 1954 MCO 3850.1A). Due to the increased awareness for the need of a positive
Marine Corps Counterintelligence capability to support Marine Corps contingency planning,
twenty-two Marines received orders to attend the Army's Counterintelligence Course at Fort
Holabird, Maryland, starting in February 1952. Many Marines who completed CI training at
Camp Holabird did not receive orders to participate in the Korean War. Some were assigned
to various bases, while others assisted the Naval Investigative Service. The 1950's saw
Marine Corps CI emerge as an essential and vital part of Marine Corps combat capability.
Prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, approximately twenty-four Marine officers and
enlisted personnel had received formal CI training. Since the Marine Corps did not have a
Table of Organization (T/O) to establish its own active CI Unit, one was established in
1952, the 1st Counterintelligence Team. One person that played a significant part in the
establishment of Marine Corps CI, was John Guenther, who through his Korean experience saw
the vital need for such a unit, both in combat and at home safeguarding military security,
etc,. One might say that Mr. Guenther was the "Father of Marine Corps
From 1952 to 1956, the Marine Corps saw the need to increase its counterintelligence
capability and established the 3rd Counterintelligence Team that was task organized to the
3rd Marine Division in 1956. The composition of a Marine Corps Counterintelligence Team
included 5 officers and 11 enlisted Marines. The Team was organized with a Team
Headquarter, consisting of the Team Commander, Team Chief, 2 Administrative Clerks and 4
CI Sub-teams. In each of the sub-teams were, 1 CI Sub-team Commander and 2 CI Specialists.
The 7th CI Team was activated in September 1957, at El Toro, California for movement
and to be attached to the 1st Marine Corps Aircraft Wing in Japan. The 5th CI Team was
activated in early 1961 for assignment to the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force,
Pacific (FMFPAC) in Hawaii. The 6th CI Team was activated in the spring of 1962 for
assignment to the 3rd Marine Corps Aircraft Wing. The 8th CI Team was activated in
November 1963 for assignment to the 2nd Marine Corps Aircraft Wing.
By 1963, each Marine Corps Force, Division and Aircraft Wing Headquarters had it own
Counterintelligence Team. Also during this time frame, a number of Marine
Counterintelligence enlisted personnel were commissioned as Marine Corps Second
Lieutenants (Temporary) and were assigned the primary Military Occupation Skill (MOS) of
0210 -Counterintelligence Officer.
Due to the Corps involvement in the Vietnam War and the apparent need to reinforce the
counterintelligence field, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps on 14 May 1968, brought on-line
the 10th, 12th and 14th Marine Corps Reserve Counterintelligence Teams. The purpose of
these Teams was to provide a back-fill of qualified reserve CI personnel in the event that
they would be needed to support the CI efforts in South Vietnam.
The 10th and 12th CIT are presently located at the Anacostia Naval Air Station,
Washington, D.C., and the 14th CIT is located at Mirmar Naval Air Station, San Diego,
California. Many of the reserve team members were active CI personnel in the Vietnam War.
The Marine Corps had made a commitment to establish an organic Counterintelligence
capability to provide tactical and garrison CI support to both of its active and reserve
Marine Corps CI Activities Prior to the 1958 Lebanon Crisis
Before the end of the decade, Marine Corps Counterintelligence had its first
opportunity to support its own contingency operations without having to rely on the U.S.
Between the Korean armistice of July 1953 and up until the Corps became actively
involved in the landing at Da Nang, South Vietnam, 8 March 1965, Marine CI started to
expand to improve its effectiveness and professionalism. One testing ground for this
improvement was during the Lebanon Crisis in 1958.
Prior to the unrest in Beirut Lebanon, expansion into the technical fields within the
Marine Corps CI community was accomplished by the procurement and distribution of
specialized equipment to major Marine Corps Commands for use against in the Defense
Against Sound Equipment (DASE) field. As Master Sergeant (MSgt) Charles L. Cline noted,
"When the U.S. Embassy discovered a clandestine listening device in the Great Seal of
the United States, in Moscow, the Marine Corps decided to send fifteen Marine CI personnel
to the Office of Naval Intelligence, for a special two week crash course in DASE."
After the course was completed, the new training was quickly put to work. As MSgt Cline
explains it, "When we returned to our respective units, and after receipt of the DASE
equipment, we swept the conference room and other sensitive areas within the command,
until we were blue in the face. We looked like men from outer space once the equipment was
put together. There were some very curious questions pertaining to just what in the hell
we were doing."
At approximately the same time and just after completion of the DASE course, Sergeant
C. L. Pedersen and Technical Sergeant D. Shouthall, both assigned to Headquarters, U.S.
Marine Corps, conducted security surveys and DASE surveys of those office spaces and other
sensitive areas within HQMC. Sergeant Pedersen was also a subcommittee member on Technical
Surveillance Countermeasures for the Armed Forces.
Shortly thereafter, CI Marines received additional special training at Fort Holabird in
the Defense Against Methods of Entry (DAMEs) and Investigative Photography. As a result of
this advance training, the U.S. Army requested that the Marine Corps provide one enlisted
to be permanently assigned to Fort Holabird as a instructor. The one Marine assigned at
Fort Holabird taught both the DAME and DASE courses to all incoming classes receiving
The 6th Fleet Caught Off-Gurard in the Mediterranean Sea
The Second Provisional Marine Force was formed as a planning headquarters in January
1958. Its original purpose was to plan and conduct operation Combine II, a joint landing
exercise in the southern part of Sardinia. The operation also included units form the
Royal Marine, and Italian Naval forces. Due to the the outbreak of unrest in the
Middle-East in May 1958, caused the planned exercise to be cancelled. The Second
Provisional Marine Forces received orders to deploy to Lebanon.
On 14 July 1958, the incident caught the Sixth Fleet off balance. This was mainly due
to the 2nd Provisional Landing Force being divided; the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines
(commanded by LtCol J. H. Brickley) were north of Malta waiting to be relieved by the 3rd
Battalion, 6th Marines so they could head back to the United States; the 3rd Battalion,
6th Marines (commanded by LtCol R. M. Jenkins) were in the process of relieving the 8th
Marines and were enroute from Crete to Athens, Greece; and only the 2nd Battalion, 2nd
Marines (commanded by LtCol H. A. Hadd) were the nearest to Lebanon - they were just off
the southern coast of Cyprus.
Lebanon's President Camille Chamoun consulted the American Embassy and asked for help
to restore peace in his unstable riot-torn country.
On 15 July 1958 at approximately 3 p.m., the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines landed across
Red Beach near Beirut International Airport. The chance that the Marines would face enemy
opposition was remote. However, it was possible that small bands of rebels might try to
repulse the landing, or that factions of the Lebanese army might resist, or the Syrian
army would counterattack the landing force. As it turned out, none of these produced a
On 16 July the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines crossed Red Beach. The International Airport
was the primary objective to be seized by the landing force. As the 3rd Battalion, 6th
Marines crossed the beach, the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines received orders to prepare to
advance into the capital.
On the morning of 18 July both an amphibious landing and a landing by air occurred.
Part of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines landed across Yellow Beach, just north of the city.
The remainder of 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, flew into Beirut International Airport which
had been secured by the two landing battalions that crossed Red Beach on the 15-16 July.
In cooperation with the Lebanese army, the Marines at the international airport opened the
airport for commerical air traffic. The second objective for the landing force was seize
Beirut's Port Area and keep it open. By the end of July both the U.S. Army and the Marine
Corps had encircled Beirut with an armed perimeter. Plans to end the intervention began as
soon as it started.
On 14 August, the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines began backloading on naval shipping. On 15
September, the 8th Marines finally set sail for the United States. On 29 September, the
3rd Battalion, 6th Marines departed Lebanon; and the regiment's newly arrived 2nd
Battalion assumed the job of serving as a ready reserve for the Army troops ashore.
On 23 October, the Lebanese formed a balanced government and by 25 October 1958 all
remaining U.S. troops departed the country.