Sixth Marine Division
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Stories by Others About the Sixth Division, the Marines, and World War II

Like No Other Unit: Total Bad Asses

by Dan Banke, Captain USMC

One of the unique aspects of the Sixth Marine Division is that it is the only Division in Marine Corps history to fight in only one war. And the Striking Sixth is separated by time and memory from the Marines of today. The continued existence of the First through Fourth divisions allows the passing down of unit history from generation to generation of Marines. Their trophies of combat, heritage items, and retired colors hang proudly in modern Headquarters, where Marines see them and are inspired by them every day. This begs the question: “Do the Marines of today remember the 6th Marine Division?” The answer is absolutely, yes. I would like to tell you about one of those Marines.

Staff Sergeant Jason Foust is a 12-year veteran of the Marine Corps. After several years on active duty, he is now assigned to Communications Company, 14th Marines, 4th Marine Division. He has what is likely to be the largest single collection of 6th Marine Division uniforms anywhere in the world. Preserving the relics and material reminders of the 6th Marine Division is his passion.

I asked Jason what makes him study this Division in particular and collect the uniforms and mementos of its veterans. He explains, “My uncle, Wiley Foust, was KIA during WWII. I was told that he was killed on Guam and that he was hit by mortars, became shell shocked and was hit by a Japanese sniper. I never knew what unit he was with. (This was before the internet.) One day my Father found his grave stone. Seeing his name, his unit, and the old Eagle, Globe, and Anchor...I knew I had to get everything I possibly could on G 2/22.

SSgt Jason Foust

I started by getting a few books on Guam and the 6th Marine Division. The more I read about the Striking Sixth, the more the unit drew me in. They were like no other unit; total bad asses! You read stories about Sugar Loaf, and it is combat like modern Marines have never seen. I picked up my first 6th uniform coat and started to research the Marine. I pick up another, then another, and soon I had five coats in my collection.”

Jason puts his extensive collection of 6th Marine Division items to good use. To him, these are valuable, tangible links to history. This past year he brought several uniforms and items to his unit’s Marine Corps Ball to share with the other Marines. He also shares them at professional military education classes for Marines, as well as displays for local history and remembrance events. “I do not look at the items in my collection as some type of trophy, but rather, I look at them as a piece of Marine Corps history that I can hold, that I can research and that I can show to the new generation of Marines.” Jason continues, “I became my unit’s historian and was able to use that position to get after action reports and other source information that was not available to me otherwise. I focus my collection solely on the 6th. I have uniforms ranging from a bandsman who fought on Okinawa, to a few uniforms belonging to some Marines from the 29th who were wounded at Sugar Loaf. Each piece that I pick up in my travels, I cherish and do whatever research I possibly can on it. Then I share it with various social media outlets as well as setting up physical displays for the public and for Marines. It has truly been a blessing and I am honored to be the custodian of these pieces of our Marine Corps history.”

When I told Jason that I was writing an article about present-day Marines who work to remember their elder brothers from the 6th Marine Division, and that I would like to feature him, he told me, “One thing I would like to get across to the families and Leathernecks of the 6th Marine Division is: as long as I am in possession of these items, the 6th Marine Division story will be told and the brave warriors of the Striking 6th will not be forgotten!”

              Sixth Marine Division uniforms from SSgt Foust's collection