Jacob Zeilin, Colonel Commandant of the Marine Corps from 30 June 1864, was this date promoted to the rank of Brigadier General Commandant, the first time Congress authorized this rank for the Marine Corps. The statute, however, was repealed in June 1874 so that the rank of Commandant would again revert to colonel upon Zeilin's retirement.
The 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade landed at DaNang, Republic of Vietnam as the first U.S. ground combat troops to be committed to that conflict. The 3,500 men arrived both across the beach with Battalion Landing Team 3/9, and at DaNang Airfield with Battalion Landing Team 1/3.
Marines participated the action when the Continental Navy frigate Boston, enroute to France, sighted, engaged, and captured the British merchant ship Martha. As the drum of the Boston beat to arms, John Adams seized a musket and joined the Marines on deck until the frigate's captain, Samuel Tucker, sent him below for safety.
The first group of 71 Women Marine officer candidates arrived at the U.S. Midshipmen School (Women's Reserve) at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. The Navy's willingness to share training facilities enabled the Marine Corps to begin training Marine Corps Women's Reserve officers just one month after the creation of the MCWR was announced.
The first woman Marine to report to Vietnam for duty, Master Sergeant Barbara J. Dulinsky, began her 18-hour flight to Bien Hoa, 30 miles north of Saigon. MSgt Dulinsky and the other officer and enlisted Women Marines that followed were assigned to the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) based in Saigon. Most worked with the Marine Corps Personnel Section providing administrative support to Marines assigned as far north as the DMZ, but two Lieutenant Colonels, Ruth Reinholz and Ruth O'Holleran, served as historians with the Military History Branch, Secretary Joint Staff, MACV.
After 35 days of bitter fighting, the amphibious assault on the rocky fortress of Iwo Jima finally appeared over. On the night of 25 March, however, a 300- man Japanese force launched a vicious final counterattack in the vicinity of Airfield Number 2. Army pilots, Seabees and Marines of the 5th Pioneer Battalion and 28th Marines fought the fanatical Japanese force till morning but suffered heavy casualties -- more than l00 killed and another 200 American wounded. Nearly all of the Japanese force was killed in the battle.
The 5th Marines, supported by the 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, in the first full day of fighting after the Chinese assault the previous evening of Outpost Vegas on Korea's western front, counterattacked to regain enemy-held positions. Companies E and F of 2/7, down to only three platoons between them, managed to regain partial control of Outpost Vegas that day.
On this date, LtCol Commandant William W. Burrows rode with president Thomas Jefferson to look for "a proper place to fix the Marine Barracks on." President Jefferson was a personal friend of the Commandant, and deeply interested in the welfare of the Corps and accompanied Burrows on horseback on the morning of 31 March. They chose a square in Southeast Washington, at 8th and I streets, because it lay near the Navy Yard and was within easy marching distance of the Capitol.