When Marine officers cut their birthday cake Monday night at a party in the Fort Omaha ballroom marking the one hundred and seventy-second anniversary of the corps, it will be the kickoff of a three-month drive to recruit the Eighteenth Marine Corps Citizen Battalion in Omaha.
This new Omaha and Council Bluffs group will consist of 981 Citizen Marines, 40 hospital corpsmen and two doctors. The battalion will meet every Monday night for two hours of training in new Marine weapons, equipment and tactics.
Corpsmen may go to the Marines' big Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, the home of the Second Marine Division, for 15 days training each summer.
The "Minute Men" whom the Marines are going to recruit in Omaha and Council Bluffs will receive a day's pay of $2.50 for each meeting or instruction period they attend. Sergeants wil get $3.33. For the two weeks' training at Camp Lejeune, the Marine receives full pay, transportation, lodging, meals and recreation.
Each member of the battalion will be issued the same number of uniforms as Marines of the regular service. When the unit is complete, it will have 38 reserve officers. Outstanding non-commissioned officers of the battalion are eligible for commission as second lieutenants in both the Regular and Citizen Marine Corps.
Teen Group Sought
MAJ. GLEN E. MARTIN of Council Bluffs, a Marine Reserve officer and wearer of the Navy Cross, will command the battalion. Capt. T.M. Fields, USMC, has been assigned as Inspector-Instructor, and will have three other officers and 15 enlisted men of the Marine Corps on his staff at Fort Omaha.
Capt. Nicholas Padgen of Omaha has returned to active Marine status temporarily to aid in the recruiting drive. The Corps headquarters is at Fort Omaha.
Captain Fields says that more than half of Omaha's Citizen Marines will be young men of high school age. However, both veterans and non-veterans between the ages of 17 and 32 can put their names on the dotted line. Vets come into the corps with the same rank they had when discharged. Boys under 18 years of age must have the written consent of their parents.
Those who join will keep their civilian status and may withdraw at any time. No member will be called to active duty unless a national emergency is declared by the President.
Annual income for the Citizen Battalion and members of the Inspector's staff will be close to 165 thousand dollars.
Captain Fields says the group will have a recreation fund which will be used to buy athletic uniforms and equipment and finance occasional dances.
The men will join in parades and ceremonies and will field a 20-piece band, decked out in the Marines' blue uniforms.
Citizen Marines thirsting for more knowledge can have a choice of more than two hundred high school, college and technical courses offered without charge by the Marine Corps Institute.
Units Dot Country
THIS Citizen Marine idea isn't new. It was started on a small scale after World War I. A handful of detachments chiefly in Eastern cities, met during the years between the two wars.
But now battalions are dotting all parts of the country. Units of the same size as Omaha's have been organized in St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.
The Marines will share many of the facilities at Fort Omaha with the Navy. These will include a large armory which has 12 thousand square feet of space.
The kickoff party for the Marine drive will be open to the public. It will start on Monday at 9 p.m. at the fort. There will be a dance orchestra and refreshments will be served. The cutting of the Marine birthday cake will take the place of a speaking program.
Tickets at $1.75 a couple are available in Omaha at the American Legion Club, Beaton Drug Stores and at Fort Omaha. In Council Bluffs, tickets are on sale at the American Legion Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Veterans, Connally Drug Store and the Bronson Drug Store. Tickets also will be sold at the ballroom.
The recruiting drive will end during the National Marine Corps Reserve Week January 12 to 18. The Marine Corps office is at Fort Omaha.
New Marine Strategy
BRIG. GEN. RAY A. ROBINSON, head of the corps' plans and policies division, announced in Washington, D. C. last week end that the Marines are cooking up new and revolutionary methods of waging their traditional amphibious warfare.
The modern weapons they will have to go up against if war should come--the atomic bomb, guided missiles and others--are forcing them to make many changes in their ideas on how to conduct a landing operation.
General Robinson said that the "picture of massed armadas of transports and landing craft discharging men and equipment, clustered warships shelling enemy shore positions and crowded beaches piled high with supplies are becoming obsolete.
"It would be difficult to imagine a more lucrative military target for the new weapons of mass destruction," he said.
Dispersion will be the keynote of future Marine landing operations. Separate units will be brought together by air or water with precision timing when the attack is launched. "Very close" contact will be kept with the enemy from there on in.
Striking forces will be battalions slightly larger than the old Marine battalion of about one thousand men. They will maintain their own artillery.
Fighting Leathernecks of the future will get their supplies by "continuous and highly reliable lines of flow," said General Robinson. Possibly these will be through the air or through under-water craft. But supplies will come in only as needed.
The Marine Corps also is giving thought to Polar Region operations. Parties of Marines have been testing clothing, equipment and operating techniques in Arctic and sub-Arctic latitudes.
The Marines will have a new commandant on January 1. Gen. Alexander A. Vandergrift, 60 years old and four-year boss of the Leathernecks, will retire to the inactive list.