V Amphibious Corps

V Amphibious Corps (VAC) was formed on 25 August 1943 at Pearl Harbor from PhibCorpsPacFlt, under the command of Maj.-Gen. Holland Smith. Originally it included VAC Administrative Command, but this was redesignated as Administrative Command, FMFPAC on 10 April 1944 (which was in turn became FMFPAC in June). The Corps was formed to provide the amphibious landing force to support the Central Pacific operations of the US Fifth fleet.

Its first mission was to seize the Gilbert Islands in preparation for future efforts in the Marshalls. This operation included the costly assault on Tarawa and the seizure of Makin by the attached Army’s 27th Infantry Division’s during November 1943. In January and February 1944 the VAC, together with the attached Army 7th and 27th Infantry Divisions, seized Roi-Namur, Kwajalin and Eniwetok in the Marshalls, and from June to August 1944, VAC in concert with the Army’s XXIV Corps, undertook operations in the Marianas which including seizing Saipon, Tinian and Guam. In July 1944 General Smith handed over command to Major General Harry Schmit.

VAC’s next mission was the assault on Iwo Jima in February 1945, The Island was secured after a month of heavy fighting, but VAC’s losses were such that it was months before its three Divisions would again be ready for further combat.

VAC landed in Japan at Yokosuka and Kyushu in September 1945, where it remained as an occupation force until January 1946. The Corps was deactivated a month later.

VAC’s main components were habitually the 2nd, 4th and 5th Marine Division while the 3rd Marine Division was briefly attached for the Iwo Jima operation.

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