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The recommendation of Brigade staff officers that the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, be designated for the assault on Wŏlmi-do was accepted by Division planners. Colonel Snedeker also proposed that the 1st Korean Marine Corps (KMC) Regiment of nearly 3,000 men be substituted for the 17th ROK Regiment, which he said was committed in the Pusan Perimeter and might not be available. The change was approved by GHQ on 3 September, with the Eighth Army being directed to provide weapons for the newcomers. This was the beginning of a relationship that would find the KMCs serving with distinction alongside the men of the 1st Marine Division and eventually becoming a fourth infantry regiment of the Division.
Activated in 1949 by the Republic of Korea, the unit took part in anti-guerrilla operations until the NKPA invasion. After the outbreak of hostilities, the KMCs fought creditably in UN delaying actions in southwest Korea. The turning point came when they were attached to the 1st Marine Division and sent to Pusan for test-firing of their new weapons before embarking for Inch'ŏn. Immediately the Koreans commenced to model themselves after U.S. Marines so assiduously as to win respect for their spirit and rugged fighting qualities. They were quick to learn, despite the language handicap, and showed aptitude in mechanical respects.
The Inch'ŏn-Sŏul Operation, Ch 5, Introduction Page 1 of 1
The Inch'ŏn-Sŏul Operation
Lynn Montross and Nicholas A. Canzona
Chapter 5. Embarkation and Assault
Landing of 1st Marine Division
The main body of the 1st Marine Division troops landed at Kobe from 29 August to 3 September. Marine officers sent in advance to that seaport had found the authorities there “very cooperative” and brought back to Tokyo a billeting plan which General Smith approved. Since the facilities in and about Kobe were limited, two large APs were designated as barracks ships, thus making available a Marine labor pool at the docks.
At best, every hour was needed for the tremendous task of transferring cargo from merchant type shipping into assault shipping. There was cause for anxiety, therefore, when a telephone message informed the command of the 1st Marine Division on 3 September that Typhoon JANE had struck Kobe with winds of 74 miles per hour. First reports had it that the USNS Marine Phoenix (T-AP-195) was on the bottom with all of the Division’s signal gear. Several ships were said to have broken their moorings and gone adrift; the docks were reported under 4 feet of water, and loose cargo on the piers had been inundated by breakers.
Later accounts proved to be less alarming. The Marine Phoenix, having merely developed a bad list as a result of shifting cargo, was soon righted. Nor was the other damage as serious as had at first been supposed. But 24 hours were lost from the tight reloading schedule while Typhoon JANE kicked up her heels, and time was one commodity that could not be replaced. All operations at Kobe had to be speeded up to pay for this delay.