Back to Top dofemblem dofemblem

Department of Florida
Marine Corps League
George LaMont, Commandant

Military Order Devil Dogs

Many historians agree that June 6, 1918, the beginning of the World War I Battle of Belleau Wood, was the single most horrific day in United States Marine Corps history. The casualties suffered that day, and throughout the 20-day campaign to retake Belleau Wood, stand second only by the retaking of Tarawa in November 1943. However, their actions and success in retaking the three-mile square wood sealed the embodiment of U.S. Marine Corps tenacity, determination and dedication forever.

German General Ludendorff set the stage during The Great War for the Battle of Belleau Wood when he launched the Chemin des Dames offensive against the Allied Northern Front on May 27, 1918. The Fourth Brigade, American Expeditionary Forces, along with other allied forces moved north on May 20. 2nd Division Marines dug in along a defensive line north of the village of Lucy-Le-Bocage.

When advised to withdraw by a senior French officer retreating with his units down Parris-Metz highway, Marine Captain Lloyd Williams replied, Retreat, hell! We just got here!

The front finally settled with the 5th Marines to the west and the 6th Marines to the east. Most units deployed without machine guns, but 2nd Bn, 5th Marines showed the Germans the effects of their superior long distance marksmanship.

On June 6, the Marines make two assaults. The 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment attacks west of Belleau Wood and captures the strategically important Hill 142. Later the same day battalions of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments assault the woods from the south and west in an effort to capture the town of Bouresches.

The attack against the woods proper goes grimly. Crossing a wheat field where they are exposed to machine gun fire. Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly asks his men, Come on ya sons-of-bitches, ya want to live forever? The attack is only able to seize a small corner of the wood.

On June 11 after heave artillery bombardment, Marines succeed in securing two-thirds of Belleau Wood, again with heavy casualties. Marines hammered their way through the woods until the Germans counterattacked with intense artillery fire and three divisions on June 13, almost retaking Bouresches. The Marines held, and on June 14, the German counterattack culminated in failure.

The lines did not change until June 24 when the French command committed sufficient artillery to reduce the woods, allowing the Marines to prepare for a renewed assault. On June 25, after a 14-hour bombardment, the Marines overran the remaining machine gun outposts. After fending off several early morning counterattacks on June 26, Major Maurice Shearer sends the signal, Woods now entirely U.S. Marine Corps.

The Marines gained more than small battered woodland. They stopped the last major German offensive of The Great War. In doing so, the Marine Corps earned the respect and admiration of our country and our allies. The 4th Brigade was awarded the French Citation, A Orde de LArmee, and the wood was officially renamed, Bois de la Brigade Marie, in honor of the Marines.

German soldiers later referred to the U.S. Marines, respectfully, as Teufelhunden, or Devil Dogs, because of their fierceness in battle.

The Devil Dog Creed

I am An American, I was born in France. I have held the title of United States Marine, and understand the commitment of holding the title, Devil Dog. It is a tradition born at Belleau Wood in the year 1918, of a Force in Readiness and the First to Fight. As a Devil Dog, I ask no quarter and give no quarter. I will do everything in my power to uphold the objectives of the Military Order of the Devil Dogs and to carry out my duties to swift and satisfactory completion.

What the Devil Dogs are about

The MODD is the Fun and Honor Society of the Marine Corps League and is comprised of only regular members of the League who have been recommended for membership by two members of the MODD. Each member undergoes a series of initiations. First as a Pup, in their Pound (the local organization), then as a Devil Dog in their Pack (the State organization), and finally as a Pedigreed Devil Dog at the Supreme Growl held in conjunction with the National Convention of the League. Each degree must be held for one full year before candidacy for the next degree may be considered. Advancement is not automatic after one year, it must be earned, it is a privilege, NOT a right.

The MODD promotes good fellowship among the members of the different Marine Corps League Detachments. It provides amusement and entertainment at all gatherings of the League, when and where advisable, preserves and strengths the principles and ideals of the League, and maintains true allegiance to the United States of America and its Constitution and laws. The MODD is very active in raising funds for different charities with an emphasis on children's charities.

Grand Growl Minutes from 06/07/2018

Email the Web Master