(The following contains the script that Scott M. Smith (1stSgt USMC)
read, the Chaplin's invocation, and the biographies on Capt Koloski and
LtCol Bowen. All were read at the 60th Anniversary Ceremony of the Landing
In a letter from Maj General Shepard to his Marines he writes;
The account of the exploits of the brave Marines of the Striking Sixth
who fought so valiantly on Okinawa will be of especial interest to those
of you who participated in these stirring events and will also serve as
a reminder to posterity of the glorious accomplishments of the Sixth Marine
The bloody, hard-fought battle for Okinawa may be recorded in history
as the decisive campaign of the Pacific War. It broke the cordon of defenses
surrounding the Japanese homeland and clearly demonstrated the superiority
of American arms and the quality of our fighting men over the best the
enemy could muster. The fact that the collapse of Japan followed closely
the Okinawa victory, strongly indicates that the results of this battle
influenced the Emperor's decision to sue for peace. To have participated,
as a member of the Sixth Marine Division in the final great battle of
the Pacific War is a distinction of which every man can be justly proud.
The deeds of valor of our comrades-in-arms who made the supreme sacrifice
for Corps and Country will live forever in the memory of those of us whom
God has spared. The equally gallant men who bear the scars of war likewise
deserve the everlasting gratitude of their countrymen. They, too, placed
honor above life.
Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr.
Major General, United States Marine Corps
Commanding General 6th Marine Division on Okinawa
AND HOW FITTING THAT WE CAN STAND RIGHT HERE TODAY ENJOYING THE PEACE
THAT THEY BOUGHT AT SUCH A HIGH PRICE. FOR AS WE TODAY ENJOY THE STRONG
FRIENDSHIP OF THE JAPANESE PEOPLE. IT IS ENORMOUSLY CLEAR THAT THEIR SACRIFICES
WERE NOT IN VAIN. AND HERE WE SEE THAT AT TIMES, PEACE CAN ONLY BE BUILT
THROUGH SUCH COURAGE, AND WHAT AN EXAMPLE FOR OUR PRESENT DAY. FOR AS
WE STAND HERE, OUR HEARTS TURN YET TO OUR BROTHERS THAT REMAIN IN HARM'S
WAY. WE PRAY YOU WOULD GUARD THEM AND KEEP THEM SAFE, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY,
WE PRAY THAT THEIR WORK WOULD SIMILARLY ESTABLISH A REAL AND LASTING PEACE.
IT IS IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD, THE MIGHTY WARRIOR AND PRINCE OF PEACE THAT WE PRAY.
Chaplin Lt Fisher USN
Lt Col Bowen was appointed to Warrant Officer in 1985, and after completion
of The Basic School, in Quantico, Virginia, he was assigned to the Marine
Corps Tactical System Support Activity where he served as an Engineer
Promoted to Chief Warrant Officer, LtCol Bowen served as a Platoon Commander,
3rd CEB, Okinawa, Japan. And in 1989 LtCol Bowen was selected to the grade
of First Lieutenant, as a Limited Duty Officer .
He was then assigned as Engineer Platoon Commander, 11th Marines, 1st
Marine Division, and in August 1990 deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of
the I MEF for Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In January of 1991 LtCol
Bowen was selected for redesignation as an unrestricted line officer and
returned to Camp Pendleton, California in April of that same year.
Selected to Captain in July 1991, he was reassigned as a Company Commander,
in 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division. In December of
1992, LtCol Bowen deployed his company to Somalia as part of the Marine
Forces, Joint Task Force for Operation Restore Hope. Returning his Company
of Engineers to Camp Pendleton in May of 1993, LtCol Bowen received orders
to Inspector-Instructor Duty.
LtCol Bowen served as the Inspector-Instructor, for Bridge Company B,
6th ESB, 4th FSSG, Marine Force Reserve, Eugene, Oregon from 1993-1996.
At the completion of his tour on I&I duty LtCol Bowen was assigned
to the College Degree Program and selected to Major. In 1998 and with
the completion of his degree LtCol Bowen was assigned to 2nd Marine Air
Wing. Where he served as the Squadron Operations Officer, MWSS 274 and
the Group Operations Officer, Marine Wing Support Group 27. Reassigned
to the Marine Corps University in 2001, LtCol Bowen completed Command
and Staff College in June 2002 and received a follow on assignment to
Policy, Plans, and Operations at Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington
DC were he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
LtCol Bowen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Linfield
College, McMinnville, Oregon and a Masters degree in Military Studies
from the Marine Corps University.
Our next speaker is Capt Koloski, 3D FSSG Engineer Plans Officer;
Capt Koloski is originally from Juneau, Alaska. He attended the U.S.
Naval Academy, where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science.
Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps in May, 1995,
Capt Koloski continued his training with the completion of The Basic School
at Quantico Va., and Basic Combat Engineer Officer Course at Courthouse
Bay, Camp Lejeune.
In August, 1996 he reported to CEC, Combat Assault Battalion, at Camp
Hansen, here on Okinawa. Capt Koloski served as an Engineer Platoon Commander
and Company Executive Officer for CEC.
After completing Landmine Warfare Training in April, 1998 and as a 1st
Lt he was assigned as the Assistant Officer In Charge of the Minefield
Maintenance Section, Marine Barracks, Guantanamo Bay Cuba.
After his tour in the mine fields Capt Koloski returned to the Marine
Corps Engineer School at Courthouse Bay, as the School Academics Officer
and Officer Instructor in April of 1999.
Returning to Okinawa in November of 2002, he reported to 9th ESB Camp
Hansen, and was assigned as the H&S Company Commander. While at 9th
ESB, he also had the opportunity to command CSSD-34 during a deployment
to the Philippines in support of Balikatan-03. Upon his return from the
Philippines Capt Koloski took command of Engineer Support Company.
He relinquished command of his company in May of 2004 and was assigned
to his current billet on the 3D FSSG staff at Camp Kinser.
Capt Koloski is married to the former Lia Bowler of Boston, Massachusetts,
who is also an active duty Marine Captain, she currently serves as the
Alpha Company Commander for Marine Corps Base Camp Butler.
Capt Koloski's personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Gold Star in lew of second award, and Joint Service Achievement Medal.
For me as a kid growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I can still remember back to when Sunday afternoons would roll around and dad would tell his stories of being a Marine and being here on Okinawa. Though I didn't realize it then I learned allot about .Camaraderie, Esprit De Corps, unselfishness and that which I would not fully understand until I became a Marine The two purposes or goals of Marine Corps Leadership. So on those Sundays, un-benounced to me I learned about Mission Accomplishment and troop welfare. I will now relay a story to you, as told by my father that I heard many times, as a young boy and as a Marine.
Ahyet, I remember that morning, the day of the landing. Can't remember
if the Platoon Sergeant woke us up, or if it was the Naval Guns pounding
the Island. Anyhow we got outa or bunks and geared up. The Plt Sgt had
us take our gear topside and get it ready for the landing. We weren't
up on deck to long when we were told to go to Breakfast. We got down to
the mess deck and
I'll tell you that was the best meal I had
ever had since I got drafted into the Marines. I thought it was so good
I figured I would get a little bit more. So I went up to the Swabie dishing
out the chow and stuck my tray out for another helping. So this swabie
tells me, sorry Marine no seconds
.Well before I could turn around
to walk away my Plt Sgt put his hand on my shoulder and said "What's
. I proceeded to tell the PltSgt that the Navy
wasn't able to give up seconds on chow
.and before I could finish
explaining the situation to my Plt Sgt he already had the swabie standing
.and proceded to chew his butt, he told that sailor
"Now you look here, this might be this Marines last meal so you are
gonna give him what he wants and as much as he wants, do you understand
me?" The swabie replied with a quick "Yes Sir". So I got
a little more chow and went back to sit down. As my Plt Sgt was leaving
the mess deck he hollard back to me and said "Now Smitty you take
you time and eat your chow and we'll take care of your gear and see you
topside. My Plt Sgt was an old man maybe 25, well he was old to us other
guys, and he had been in a few scrapes with the Japaneese prior to us
new guys showing up on Guaddacanal
so to us he knew what he was doing
and he took care of us.
So I finished my chow and headed for my gear. When I got topside I didn't
see my Platoon or my gear
.I kinda wandered around for a few seconds
and then headed over to the cargo nets. I looked over the rail and saw
my buddies down in the Higgins Boat (Landing Craft). "Come-on Smitty
we're waiting on you", So over I went. As I was climbing down the
net I could see that the Plt Cmdr was a little perturbed (Dad would laughed
when he got to this part of his story) so about the time I got in the
Landing Craft and started to get my gear on. I could see the Plt Cmdr
was about to give me a good chewing out when my Plt Sgt says "Hey
Smitty did you get enough to eat?" I said Yett, he said "Good"
and then told the sailor running the Boat 'OK lets go" the Plt Cmdr
never said a word. (Dad would have a good laugh again).
My regiment (The 29th Marines) was the Reserve, so we didn't get our feet wet until late on the afternoon of the first. And for the most part we moved inland unopposed. Once we got in a little ways it was getting close to dusk so the Plt Sgt and the Lt found a bivouac site and we started to dig. Oh I don't know , maybe after about a half an hour of setting things up we heard the sound of an airplane engine and as it got closer it started to idle back. It wasn't long before we could see it was a Japanese Zero. I guess we were next to one of their landing strips (Yonton). So as all of us stood there looking at this Zero coming at us at about 100 feet off the deck, we just watched it because we had never seen a Jap Zero before. Well before that Zero got overhead we heard the Plt Sgt's Thompson sub-machine gun open up with a few burps .Now we all kinda started to laugh thinking that no .45 caliber outa a Tommy gun is gonna bring down a Zero. But sure enough, as that Zero went by his engine quit and we could see a little smoke. About 200 yards past our position the plane crashed. Well me and the rest of the fellows just kinda stood there in disbelief. Then the Plt Sgt hollered and said "What the hell are you looking at, get back to diggin".
For 30 plus years now that story has stuck with me, and as a junior troop
I understood from the actions of my SNCOs and officers that getting the
job done and taking care of us was all that really mattered. This story
of my Father is just one example of what has made the Marine Corps the
unique organization that it is today. And so it is my hope that this story
of my first introduction to Marine Corps Leadership will remain with you
as long as it has with me.
Mission Accomplishment and Troop
Would you please rise for the playing of Anchors Aweigh and the Marines Hymn.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this concludes today's ceremony, there are refreshments located behind this pavilion. And in approximately 15 minutes the Battalion Commander will be promoting one of our Marines to Corporal on the beach, followed by two reenlistments.
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