South Sider Lt. Col. Brian Quirk is a wonderful man. At 86, he is slipping a bit but hanging onto to the command of his life with all the grit, spit and heart of the kid he was in 1942, when he took a rubber boat off of the USS Nautilus into the surf of the reef around Makin Atoll and onto that Japanese held base.
Then Private First Class (PFC) Brian Quirk was a Marine Raider - one of Carlson's Raiders named for Evan Fordyce Carlson - the man who coined the phrase 'Gung Ho.' This was an exercise in will. Click my post title for the story of the Makin Raid and Lt. Col. Quirk's role in bringing back the last men off of Makin.
This Saturday, October 24, 2009, The United States Navy will Commission the USS Makin Atoll an attack helicopter carrier that will carry 2009 vintage Marines into combat.
COLORS: Dark blue alludes to the sea, the theater of Naval operations and gold is for excellence. Scarlet refers to the U.S. Marine Corps.
SHIELD: The shield border shape and thickness symbolize Makin Island, the atoll in the Gilbert Islands and honors the 30 Marine Raiders who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country there. The five stars commemorate the five battle stars awarded to CVE-93 during World War II. The USMC Raider Crest, a blue shield with skull and five stars in the shape of the Southern Cross commemorates Marine Raider Companies A and B, Second Raider Battalion. The trident, symbol of sea prowess, with its three tines represents the future contributions of USS MAKIN ISLAND (LHD 8), its associated Expeditionary Strike Group, and USMC main battery in the air, across the surface, and under the sea. The trident also symbolizes the contributions that were made in these areas of Sea Power by the Second Raider Battalion and USS MAKIN ISLAND (CVE 93).
CREST: The inverted blue star honors SSGT Thomason, who distinguished himself during the Makin Island Raid and was the first enlisted U.S. Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II. The embedded stylized cross alludes to the Navy Cross and commemorates the 23 awarded to Carlson’s Raiders after Makin Island. The Phoenix is the symbol of transformation and new beginnings. It has two heads, one looking to the past and the other to the future representing MAKIN ISLAND’s role as the transformational bridge between the LHD class and the next generation of amphibious capital ships. The flames and lightning bolts below the Phoenix symbolize the rebirth of amphibious capital ships with Gas Turbines, Electric Drive and all-electric auxiliaries. In the wreath below the flames, Blue represents the US Navy and the United States. White represents integrity and loyalty. The two colors interwoven in the wreath represent how these two responsibilities are forever intertwined.
SUPPORTERS: A USN Officer’s Sword, 1917 Naval NCO Cutlass, USMC Officer’s Mameluke and a 1840 USMC NCO Sword were chosen to represent the teamwork required of Officer and Enlisted, Navy and Marine Corps for USS MAKIN ISLAND (LHD 8) to accomplish her mission
Thank you Colonel Quirk and thank you all who serve.