After the good duty associated with the 1915 Panama-California Exposition held in San Diego and the Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco, and before the Fourth Regiment was sent to China in 1927, the men of the Fourth served in Santo Domingo. The regiment's accomplishments over an eight year period was summed up in Brigadier General Harry Lee's final report: "The occupying force assumed control of a state, rife with revolution, banditry, ungoverned and mismanaged. We left a state enjoying peace, and with a loyal well-developed military force, with fine roads, many schools, a fine military hospital, and, in short, with every promise for a future of stable government under Dominican rule." There was a high price paid for the stability that the Marines gave the Caribbean nation
---several men were killed in action, including George Frazee. Corporal Frazee, USMC, a former Colorado hardscrabble miner, and who had been a soldier serving in the 19th Infantry before joining the Marine Corps, died when shot in the head fighting rebels in the Battle of Guayacanas. The Medals of Honor that First Sergeant Roswell Winans and Corporal Joseph Anthony Glowin were awarded for their valor displayed in July, 1916, were the first for members of the Fourth Marines. Sgt. Winans raked the enemy with a Colt Model 1895 machinegun in an engagement outside the city of Santiago. When his gun jammed, he cleared it without regard for his safety, in full view and under heavy fire of the Dominicans. Corporal Glowin, participating in the same Guayacanas firefight as Winans and Frazee, was wounded two times when he courageously fought entrenched rebels from his position behind a large log. A third Medal of Honor was awarded to a Fourth Marine when First Lieutenant Ernest Calvin Williams showed conspicuous gallantry on the 29th of November, 1916. The lieutenant and a dozen men captured an enemy fortress at San Francisco de Macoris in a daring assault and astonishing victory.
The Colt-Browning Model 1895 machine gun was nicknamed the "potato digger." This gas operated weapon had a 10 inch rear-hinged piston under the barrel that would hit the ground when fired in the prone position. The M1895 machine gun was the first true automatic used by members of the US Armed Forces.
A special thank you to Jon B. for sharing his grandfather's photograph of a Marine who is standing watch in Haiti---probably on the frontier border shared with the Dominican Republic. I also want to thank Terence Hammer, a member of the US Militaria Forum, for allowing me to share with you his research on George Frazee.
*NOTE* All images and content are copyright by James A. Shaw. Reproduction of any kind is strictly prohibited without prior express written consent...