What You Must Know About Belleau Wood and Ainse Marne

Written by Sinclair Noe   
Friday, 04 September 2020 10:50

What You Must Know About Belleau Wood and Ainse Marne

A brief retelling of one of the most heroic battles in American history, and the disgusting immorality of the coward Donald Trump.

By Sinclair Noe

In a shocking article in The Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg writes that during a 2018 trip to Paris, Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery. Trump made up excuses about the weather, saying the helicopter couldn’t fly; the truth is that Trump was afraid his hair style would melt in the rain.

To make matters worse, Trump questioned senior aides about the significance of the Aisne-Marne Cemetery, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” He said the 1,800 Marines who died at Belleau Wood were “suckers” for getting killed. He also asked aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?”

Even if the commander in chief is an ignorant buffoon, every Marine knows the story of Belleau Wood and they know that Aisne-Marne is hallowed ground. Let me offer a brief history lesson so you will never appear as stupid and repugnant as President Trump:

The Battle of Belleau Wood goes back to June 1918. A couple months earlier, the Germans had signed a peace treaty with the new Bolshevik government in Russia which freed up German units deployed on the Eastern Front. Germany redeployed 50 divisions to the Western Front. The German offensive bogged down in the Ainse Offensive in May about 50 miles from Paris. Sensing the Allies' desperation, General Pershing, commander-in-chief of the American Expeditionary Force, offered American troops to the Allies wherever they were needed.

On June 1, American Marines joined their British and French brothers in a battle that would last the month of June; even with the addition of the Americans, the Allied troops were greatly outnumbered. The battle of Belleau Wood was the first true test of US forces in World War I; it would also be the single deadliest battle in the 142-year history of the Marines.

On June 2, 1918, as the Marines were arriving at Belleau Wood to support the French Army, they found the French retreating. A French officer ordered the Marines to do the same. Captain Lloyd Williams, of the 5th Marine Regiment, refused to do so, replying, "Retreat, Hell! We just got here."

Four days later, on June 6, First Sergeant Dan Daly – a two-time Medal of Honor recipient - is said to have rallied his men by yelling, "Come on you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever!" as they charged into battle.

The first days were the deadliest, but the fighting continued day after day for more than 3 weeks, the artillery and machine gun fire was unrelenting; many battles were hand to hand, with little more than knives, bayonets, rifle butts, shovels, and poison gas. In short, it was a living hell.

Gunnery Sgt. Ernest Janson, outnumbered twelve to one, used his bayonet to stop a German advance on Hill 142, forcing the enemy to retreat. Janson became the first U.S Marine to earn the Medal of Honor during World War I.

On Jun. 26, 1918, the Germans decided the battle was unwinnable and retreated from the blood-soaked arena. The 5th Marine Regiment gained the grudging respect of the Germans, who named them "Devil-dogs," a name that celebrates Marines to this day. On June 30, the grateful Sixth French Army issued an order renaming Belleau Wood “Bois de la Brigade de Marine.” The Battle of Belleau Wood did not win the war, but the Marines saved the Allies from defeat.

Five years later in 1923, Major General James G. Harbord, spoke at the Dedication of Belleau Wood, saying:

“This melancholy spot with its tangle of wildwood, its giant boulders, its mangled trees, with here and there the wreckage of war, a helmet, a rusty canteen or, perhaps in some lonely forest aisle the still tangible evidence of deadly hand-to-hand struggle, will for all time be a Mecca for pilgrims from beyond the western ocean. Mothers will consecrate this ground with their tears; fathers with grief tempered with pride will tell its story to their younger generation. Now and then, a veteran for the brief span in which we shall still survive, will come here to live again the brave days of that distant June. Here will be raised the alters of patriotism; here will be renewed the vows of sacrifice and consecration to country. Hither will come our countrymen in hours of depression, and even of failure, and take new courage from this shrine of great deeds.”

The Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in France sits at the foot of Belleau Wood. The cemetery contains the graves of 2,289 war dead, most of whom fought in the vicinity and in the Marne Valley in the summer of 1918. The memorial chapel sits on a hillside. Inscribed on its interior wall are 1,060 names of the missing. A monument at the flagpole commemorates the valor of the U.S. Marines in 1918. The Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial is hallowed ground.

In April 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron presented a gift to the White House - an oak sapling from Belleau Wood, where, he said, “the blood of Americans was spilled to defend France.”

Together, Macron and Trump planted the tree in the White House lawn. It was later reported that the tree had died.

Later that same year, in November of 2018, visiting France, Cadet Bone Spurs said:

“Who were the good guys in this war?”

“Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”

Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.


The end of Trumpism cannot come soon enough.


This article was first published at Medium.com

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