Day of the Devil Dogs: A Haiku Series

November 10th this year was the 246th anniversary of the birth of the United States Marine Corps. At the time of their initial inception, the US Marines were referred to as the Continental Marines. The Second Continental Congress ordered the formation of two battalions of marines on November 10, 1775 to serve as a landing force for the Continental Navy. They served with distinction under the leadership of the first Marine Commandant, Samuel Nicholas. The Marines raided ships and helped defend Continental vessels. The first amphibious raid of their history was launched against the British port of Nassau in the Bahamas on March 3, 1776.

The Continental Marines were officially disbanded after the signing of the Treaty of Paris 1783. However, they were later reformed on July 11, 1798 as the United States Marine Corps. Since that reformation, they have taken part in numerous operations throughout history. The U.S. Marines earned the name “Devil Dogs” during World War I. On June 1, 1918, at the Battle of Belleau Wood in France, two regiments of U.S. Marines reinforced two U.S. Army divisions alongside French and British soldiers. Despite being heavily outnumbered and outgunned by the advancing German forces, the Marines helped hold the enemy off and even went on the offensive, charging German machine guns and artillery positions with bayonets. The German survivors referred to the U.S. Marines as “Hollenhunde” and “Teufelshunde,” meaning “Hell hound” and “Devil dog,” respectively.

This haiku series – Day of the Devil Dogs – was inspired by the history and service of the United States Marine Corps:

Battle of Nassau
The first amphibious raid of the U.S. Marine Corps was at the Battle of Nassau in 1776.
Forged in flame and blood
In an age of strife and war
A new breed was born
Over land and sea
Into storms of fire unknown
To shores far and wide
First Battle of Bull Run
A small force of US Marines led by John G. Reynolds took part in the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861 during the American Civil War.
Brave and proud are they
The few they call the Marines
Respite they earned
Across the ages
Fighting battles at God's call
Giving not to fear
Battle of Belleau Wood
At the Battle of Belleau Wood during World War I, as U.S. Marines overran German machine gunners with their bayonets, Daniel Daly spoke the legendary words: “Come on you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?”
From rebels anew
To keepers of torn heartlands
To guards of the Earth
From Hell they were called
To do the work of the Lord
And chase out the fog
Inchon Marine Landing
On September 15, 1950, U.S. Marines launched an amphibious assault during the Battle of Inchon, landing behind enemy lines and charging head on into battle against the Communists.
Devil dogs in name
They are to live forever
In the halls of time

I hope you enjoyed this haiku series. I know the last few poetry posts have all been haiku, and it has been some time since I wrote an ABAB poem. With Thanksgiving approaching and Christmas next month, I will be writing more ABAB poems for the holiday season. Stay tuned to see those coming up!

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All posts by The Pen and Sword are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Published by Louis

I am a freelance writer and English tutor from the United States.

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