Section 4. 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 Counterintelligence."

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 components.

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. Army CIC

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 counterintelligence training.

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 serious threat.

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.

Published By:
Bob McDonough
September 10, 2017