The Corps and the Kiwis

Hattip to Don the Kiwi for reminding me of this anniversary.  Seventy years ago on June 12, 1942 the Marines landed in New Zealand.  They were the vanguard of some 20,000 Marines who would train in New Zealand before going on to hellish battlefields throughout the Pacific, including Tarawa featured in the above video.  In the memoirs of the Pacific War that I have read, US troops stationed in New Zealand and Australia viewed their time there as paradise and the Aussies and the Kiwis as some of the friendliest and most hospitable people on the planet.  Some US servicemen settled in both nations after the war, and some 15,000 Aussie and 1500 Kiwi women went to America as war brides.

The Kiwis still remember the Yanks as indicated by this blog post here.  In the folly, waste and horror of war it is always good to remember kindness and friendship in such conflicts, traits shown on both sides by the Kiwis and the Corps seventy years ago.


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  1. Thanks for this Don.
    Many Kiwis remember the yanks from that time with much fondness.
    I recall attending a US Marines ball in Wellington back in September 1971; it was an anniversary for them – quite a big one, I think.A great and memorable night – everything laid on. Several of the young marines were on Embassy duty for a period – most of them just back from Vietnam. They had got to know a friend of mine, whom we were staying with for four months while I completed a contract in Wellington, and we had many hilarious times – when they were off duty, of course. 🙂
    I couldn’t help smiling at this comment on your link to the Kiwiblog article.(wat danby is a guy I have frequent arguments with on this blog – he is atheist and strongly anti-christian). But his comment I have heard about Kiwi troops often over the years.
    Can’t beat the Kiwis for resourcefulness though, eh? 😉

    wat dabney (1,505) Says:
    June 12th, 2012 at 6:18 pm
    I remember reading one Kiwi’s account being stationed on a Pacific island near to some US troops.
    The Yanks were very well equipped and generous in sharing it, but the Kiwis had a reputation for “aquiring” additional items to improve their living conditions.
    One of the Americans made the remark that the New Zealanders should share an island with the Japs: the war would be over in a week as the Kiwis would have taken all their stuff

    Thankfully, not all kiwis are like that – stealing from your friends ( although there was quite a lot of competiveness with the Americans – and a degree of jeaousy)

    As you will see often in the comments, God bless America.

  2. Actually Don, we in the Army always thought the Marines were the top thieves in the wordl! They were always coming over for “midnight requisitions” of any equipment the Army had that they wanted. Of course Army troops have been doing this for generations to the Navy, which traditionally has had the best chow of any of the services.

  3. Well Don,
    I think, in a pitched battle of thievery, the Kiwis would win hands down.
    Only the Marines would have stuff worth stealing. 😆

  4. My dentist as a teen (A Dr. Cohen) was an Aussie in WWII. He was in New Zealand working in a munitions depot when it… exploded. He had extensive nerve damage from gas and shrapnel… and the Marines had gone in and hauled him out. Because his wounds were so severe, they trucked him over to the US base not far away, and saved his life.

    Then some brainiac in England claimed to have “some interesting theories on healing nerves.” People were skeptical. At this rate, he’d be a paraplegic, and possibly even need to be strapped into an iron lung for life. Well… that’s not how it turned out. He could not only walk and breathe on his own, but also do very detailed and high quality work with one hand.

    Granted, the other hand wasn’t much use, but he was an artist with a drill. IN fact, when I went to get work done at the dental school, they begged me for permission to X-ray the large molar cavity he’d filled. The supervisor at the dental school wanted it as a demonstration to his students, as to how the very best fillings are done. After all, most modern dentists would have put a crown there. As of the time they were looking at it, it had survived a good 15 years. It is still viable to this day. He was not only an excellent dentist, but also invented the first ceramic filling material and the temporary filling as well. He was the head of department of Dentistry at the University of Michigan. I know this is an article about New Zelanders, but if it had not been for them granting the US permission to go in quickly and send him to the US base, the world would be poorer for it.

  5. In WWII, a smalll USN clinic on an out-of-the-way atoll radioed higher HQ.

    “We have a case of beri-beri. What do we do with it?”

    The repsonse: “Give it to the Marines. They’ll drink anything.”

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