When joining the armed services one of the first things you will most likely hear about are the honor coins. There are different coins for different branches of the service. The Marine Corps coin is one that is an example of these coins. There are coins for each division in the Marine Corp. The 1st Marine Division has their coin as do subsequent divisions.
The 1st Division Marine Corps coin is for honoring the oldest of all the divisions of the Corps. The Camp Pendleton based division became official in 1941. It is also the largest of the divisions and the most decorated.
The brass coin representing this division has the word ‘Guadalcanal’ as well as the image of the Southern Cross. This was commemorative of the taking of Guadalcanal in World War II during the first campaign of the war. The first Presidential Unit Citation was earned for this feat and followed by eight more as the 1st Division became more of a force to be reckoned with.
The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Divisions have their own coins as well. Each represents the accomplishments of that division as well as the insignia of that particular one. They are given to those who are a member of the division as a symbol of what they stand for when they stand for the Marines.
The honor of possessing the coin is an important part of the brotherhood that is represented by members of the division. The older Marines who have fought and died on foreign and domestic soil is another remembrance of what the coin stands for in America’s freedom battles. The ability to return to a land that is free because of the brave souls who believed in protecting that freedom is paramount to the meaning of the coin.
When the Marine Corps coin is carried by those who are a part of the division of the United States Marines the pride they feel for their fellow Marines as well as those who have passed is tremendous. The sense of belonging to something far bigger than just a branch of the service is a part of the coin’s meaning. A pedigree follows the Marines and the ‘guts and grit’ shown in times of need are part of the representation of the coin.
Just as the 5th Marine Division fought for freedom in both World War II and the Vietnam War or the 3rd Division participated in the Vietnam War starting in 1965, the Marines have been the freedom fighters for many years. All the divisions have stood for the freedom we enjoy today. The coin is the least of all commemorations that can be awarded.
During the Battle of Bougainville in 1943, 400 Marines lost their lives. So in honor of all those who have served and those who were killed, the Marine Corps Coin can signify a meaning that is beyond most people’s comprehension. But the Marines know what it stands for and what it means to each one personally. When defending the country they love they truly have given their all.
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