The Last of the China Marines
by Harold Stephens
The occupation of China by US Marines both before World War II and after the war are part of our forgotten history. What little that has been written about the China Marines we find only as casual references in memoirs of retired generals and diplomats. Never have we heard the story as seen through the eyes of a young, unlettered Marine private who served in China after the war. "We were not loading ships to go home;" he wrote. His division was stationed on Guam after the battle of Okinawa, waiting to be sent home.. "We were loading ships to go to China to repatriate the Japanese forces. That was the reason they gave, but there were other factors at hand which they didn't tell us. These we would find out for ourselves much later. All we knew now was that we were going to a foreign land we had knew existed, nor did we know exactly why we were going. We made no decisions, and controlled no destinies, not even our own. We were told to pack our gear, and to load the ships. That was all we knew.."