USS Makin Island
Marine Raiders Honored, Amphibious Assault Ship Named for Makin Island Raid
2nd Raider Thomas L. Cleary’s Plaque to be Placed Aboard
The United States Marine Raider Association graciously accepts the honor bestowed by the Navy naming the amphibious assault ship LSD 8, USS Makin Island, for the 17-18 August 1942 memorable raid on Butaritari Island, Makin Atoll, Gilbert Islands. The Raid commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Evans F. Carlson was made from the submarines Nautilis and Argonaut.
2nd Marine Raider Thomas L, Cleary has produced several plaques memorializing Raider actions, which now stand on Guadalcanal. His most recent plaque commemerating the Makin raid will be placed aboard the USS Makin Island.
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UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
2ND RAIDER BATTALION
In honor of the United States Marine Raiders and their Navy comrades who participated in the submarine launched, rubber boat raid on Japanese-held Makin Island, located in the Gilbert Islands, on 17-18 August 1942.
222 men of Companies A and B of the 2nd Raider Battalion, under the command of Lt. Col. Evans Carlson and Major James Roosevelt, made this daring raid from the USS Argonaut and the USS Nautilus to divert enemy forces from the 1 st Marine Division invasion of Guadalcanal.
The Raiders beached their rubber boats and secured the island after an intense fire fight and sporadic sniper fire on 17 August. Very rough seas and adverse tides prevented their complete withdrawal that night. Approximately 90 Raiders reached the submarines on the night of 17 August, 40 more Raiders reached the submarines shortly after dawn 18 August. 62 Raiders remained ashore.
On 18 August, Lt. Col. Carlson ordered vigorous patrolling of the entire island to ensure that all Japanese were dead and to gather intelligence documents, despite frequent strafing and bombing from enemy aircraft during the day. Raiders found documents that revealed the location, numbers and classes of all Japanese aircraft in the Pacific. This was a major intelligence discovery early in the Pacific campaign. The remaining Raiders were able to withdraw from the island by the lagoon side the evening of 18 August, the submarines remained on station in dire peril from Japanese air attack until all known wounded and able-bodied Raiders were back aboard.
Thirty Raiders gave their lives securing the island. Eighteen were KIA’s, three Raider MIA’s were presumed drowned and nine Raiders were swept to a small island by strong tides where, weaponless and shoeless, they were captured, taken to Kwajalein and later beheaded by the Japanese.
The raid on Makin Island by the 2nd Raiders and the capture of Tulagi by the 1 st Raiders were the first successfully completed American ground offensives of WWII. One Medal of Honor and 23 Navy crosses were awarded to Raiders participating in the Makin Raid.
“This plaque was donated by the U. S. Marine Raider Association”