Never before seen color film shows US Marines in action… some images are 70 years old!

by Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | January 22, 2016 1:51 pm

A cache of silent, color footage[1] on film has been recovered, repaired and preserved that shows the US Marines over the last 70 years in combat. From the beaches of Iwo Jima, to Khe Sanh, this rare look into military history has never been seen before. There is footage of World War II, Korea and Vietnam and it is riveting. The films were shot with hand held cameras in the 1930’s and later. The stockpile of film contains 16,000 reels of 16 mm and 35 mm films, which amounts to about 2,000 hours of footage. Marine Corps historian Thomas Baughn, who manages the film repository at the Marine Corps University at Quantico, Virginia, said it’s important the unique ‘Leatherneck legacy’ not crumble away. Understanding the history and tradition of the Marine Corps is an important part of each Marine’s ethos, the historian said.


From the Daily Mail:

Never-before-seen films of Marines ramming artillery shells into large guns on the beaches of Iwo Jima in 1945 and standing amid sandbags during the 1968 siege of Khe Sanh in Vietnam are part of a vast collection of silent, color footage being repaired, preserved and eventually placed online for all to see.

The Marine Corps is sending the rare stockpile of films to specialists in South Carolina. Some of the images have been in storage for 70 years and offer viewers a gritty ‘you-were-there’ view of military life.

Most films were not even seen by the combat photographers who shot them with hand-held cameras from the late 1930s through the Second World War, Korea and Vietnam.

The films depict storied events such as Marines wading through the tide at Guadalcanal, the wounded being evacuated from Iwo Jima and Marines tramping single-file through the hillsides after the Chinese tried to wipe out the 1st Marine Division at the Chosin Reservoir. The goal is to turn this into an all-digital archive of events for the Marines. It may take years to achieve the preservation goal because the process can be lengthy and labor-intensive. The films will be transformed into high-definition, which offers a depth of color and detail that was unable to be seen years ago. Preserving the history of the Marines is a great thing. This will give Americans a glimpse into the battles they fought and the heroes they were.














  1. A cache of silent, color footage:
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