Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Marines deactivate decorated 'Walking Dead' unit

Decades before the TV show, a Marine Corps battalion decorated for extensive combat in World War II and Vietnam earned the nickname the "Walking Dead."

Now the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, which also saw action in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been deactivated during a ceremony Friday at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The step comes as top U.S. military and political leaders are moving to trim the size of America's military after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Marine Corps historians say the battalion appears to have gotten the nickname because of its high rate of casualties in the Vietnam War. But the unit also has a reputation for heroism that included Medal of Honor recipients at Guam and Iwo Jima during World War II and two in Vietnam.

Formed during World War I, the battalion was deactivated in 1994 and reactivated in 2007. Its insignia depicts a cloaked grim reaper carrying a scythe.

Retired Marine Col. Wesley Fox, who received the Medal of Honor while leading a company within the battalion in Vietnam, said he wasn't happy about the deactivations. "Not a better battalion in the world. I don't know why they're the ones who keep getting put on the bench," Fox said.

The deactivation comes as the Pentagon plans to reduce the size of the Marine Corps by several thousand to 182,000 by 2016. The Corps' wartime peak in recent years was more than 200,000.

More than 300 battalion members who have been reassigned to other units participated in Friday's ceremony.

The "Walking Dead" nickname and battalion history are celebrated on several websites run by veterans and a Facebook page that has more than 1,700 members.

The Walking Dead TV series, about survivors of a zombie apocalypse, began airing in 2010.

Marines deactivate decorated 'Walking Dead' unit 08/29/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 29, 2014 8:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Observations from a liberal, gay, Latino, feminist Florida House freshman

    Blogs

    State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando,  rocked the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus dinner at Tallahassee's Hotel Duval Satursday night with his unabashedly liberal and passionate take on the myriad issues he said are key to LGBTQ Floridians. Among them: Access to guns, Reproductive rights, home …

    Carlos G. Smith
  2. Delta Sigma Theta honors outgoing national president

    Human Interest

    During her four years as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Paulette Walker said she always focused on the comma between "Sorority" and "Inc."

    Paulette Walker, the former director of undergraduate programs and internship in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, will be honored on Saturday for her leadership in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
  3. 10 sailors missing, 5 hurt in collision of USS John S. McCain

    SEOUL —Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

    In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain patrols in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing, and five were injured, the Navy said. [James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP]
  4. Pasco County Fire Rescue fighting a two-alarm fire started by an explosion

    Fire

    Two houses are on fire and one victim has been critically burned and taken to a trauma center following an explosion at a home at 8652 Velvet Dr, in Port Richey.

  5. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.