History of the Walking Dead

Walking Dead 1st Battalion 9th Marines have a well established legacy.  When you look back at history the 1st Battalion 9th Marines was not active for long.   When their time was called however they performed above and beyond the call of duty.  The Marines deployed to Vietnam earned them the name Walking Dead.  As a result, their legacy is etched into Marine Corps history.

The history of the Walking Dead is traced back to their formation at the end of World War I.  On 20 November,1917, the 9th Marine Regiment was formed at Quantico, Virginia.  The 9th Marines did not see combat during WWI because the Armistice Agreement signed on 11 November, 1918.  Furthermore, the United States celebrated victory the military wide draw-down would begin.  As a result, the 9th Marine Regiment was deactivated on 25 April, 1919.


 

9th Marines stationed in San Diego Marine Corps Caps

9th Marines stationed in San Diego

On 12 February 1942, the Regiment was re-formed at Camp Elliot San Diego, California.  The 9th Marines were attached to the Third Marine Division.  They would fight alongside them in the Pacific Theatre against the Japanese during World War II.  The 9th Marines participated in the battles of Bougainville, the Northern Solomons, the battle of Guam, and Iwo Jima.  In addition, they were deactivated after the surrender of Japan on 31 December, 1945.

The 9th Marines reformed again on 17 March, 1952 at Camp Pendleton, CA.  On March 8, 1965, the 9th Marines landed on Red Beach in South Vietnam.  They were the first conventional ground combat unit in Vietnam.  Especially relevant, the 9th Marines including 1st Battalion “The Walking Dead” would take part in all major operations in Vietnam.  In addition, the 9th Marines were one of the most highly decorated units in Vietnam.


Walking Dead Medal of Honor Recipients

The citations of the 9th Marines include 7 Medal of Honor recipients.  Two of them are from The Walking Dead, 1st Battalion (highlighted).  The Medal of Honor recipients are:

Thomas P. Noonan

Thomas E. Creek

Wesley L. Fox

William D. Morgan

Alfred M. Wilson

John P. Bobo

Walter K. Singleton


Accomplishments of the Walking Dead

During the Vietnam War the 1st Battalion earned its nickname the Walking Dead by sustaining the highest KIA (Killed In Action) rate in Marine Corps history.  From 1965 to 1969 the Walking Dead engaged in the enemy a total of 47 months and 7 days of combat in Vietnam.  During that time 747 Marines and sailors were killed in action, with two missing in action.  Furthermore, the KIAs would attribute to a 93.63% of the entire Walking Dead Battalion.

Walking Dead Platoon Photo Marine Corps Caps

Walking Dead Platoon Photo

The Walking Dead Battalion would participate in a total of 44 major operations in Vietnam.  Most notably:

– Deckhouse V

– Prairie IV

– Buffalo

– Kentucky

– Dewey Canyon

– Frequent Wind

The USMC "Walking Dead" Logo with Grim Reaper and Lighting Bolt Marine Corps Caps

The USMC “Walking Dead” Logo with Grim Reaper and Lighting Bolt

The Walking Dead uses the Grim Reaper with a lighting strike in the middle for their Battalion logo.  The Walking Dead used the Grim Reaper as their Battalion logo because they were in the thick of war.  In conclusion, wherever they walked “death” was sure to follow the enemy!  So the Grim Reaper and a lighting bolt were a fitting choice.


 

Veterans of the Walking Dead from Vietnam Marine Corps Caps

Veterans of the Walking Dead from Vietnam

9th Marine Veterans

The 9th Marines stayed intact until 1994. They were again deactivated again due to budget cuts.  They resurrected out of the ashes however.  Later to have great Marines under its ranks.  Most noteworthy, Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter.  Also former Commandants General Joseph Dunford and Robert H. Barrow.

Although currently deactivated, the 9th Marines has forged its legacy in Marine Corps history.  Much respect goes to the legacy of the warriors that laid down life and limb.  Like a hungry lion caged we may some day call again on the 9th Marines.  Lest an enemy tempt the sovereignty of our great nation and find itself on the receiving end!

First of all, these warriors deserve our utmost respect.  They fought the good fight in the killing fields across the globe.  In addition, many noteworthy men were forged in the 9th Marines.   This is why Devil Dog Shirts is honored to compose this piece to capture their legendary history.