Republic of China Marine Corps [ROCMC]

The Republic of China Marine Corps [ROCMC], in peacetime, assumes naval base defense, guards appointed offshore islands and acts as a rapid reaction force. In wartime, the Marine Corps, as the strategic preparation forces, are engaged in combat missions.

With the traditional spirit of “No fear for hardship, difficulties, and death” and the motto of “Always Faithful”, the ROC Marine Corps is the safeguard of the country. The major battles and missions that the ROC Marine Corps has fought and carried out includes: the Anti-Communist Battle of Zhoshan Archipelagos, the Battle of Changshan Archipelago, the Battle of Dongshan Island, the Operations of Houng Win, the recovery of Spratly Islands, and the Battle of Taiwan Strait. The loyalty, toughness, and courage of the ROC Marine Corps have written history, and became an example for every military personnel.

The Marine Corps was formerly organized on the basis of two divisions, the 66th and 99th, supported by one amphibious regiment and one logistics regiment. Under the armed forces re-organization plan, details of which were announced by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in August 2000, the divisional commands were phased out - the key units are now the Marines Brigades, a Base Security Guard Brigade and a Garrison Brigade.

Under the armed forces re-organisation plan, (which was announced by the Ministry of National Defence (MND) in August 2000), the divisional commands were phased out and the key units are now three combat Brigades: 66th Marine Brigade in Linkau, northern Taiwan: 3,500 strong, includes one tank battalion (equipped with M41s and may re-equip with Yunpao, wheeled 105 mm-armed AFVs), three infantry battalions, one cadre infantry battalion, one artillery battalion (with M109A2 SP 155 mm howitzers) plus anti-tank, air defence and support companies.

Equipped with M113, M-733, LARC-5, LVTP 5 personnel carriers and LVTH 6 armored tractors, the marines were based at 99th Marine Brigade at Tsoying Naval Base at Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan: as 66th Brigade except that the tank battalion may re-equip with ex-army CM12 MBTs and the anti-tank company is part of the tank battalion. 77th Marine Brigade at Tsoying naval base with battalion-sized units at Tsoying, Makung, Keelung and Suao: defensive formation includes tank, air defence and SP howitzer battalions. Each naval base has a defence company with Chaparral surface to air missiles, Stinger SAMs (on dual mounts) and static 40 mm and 5 inch coast defence guns taken from Yang class destroyers.

To meet the requirements of the ROC Armed Forces streamlining policy in recent years, the ROC Marine Corps Command was reorganized on April 1, 2006. After successful reorganization, the Command included 12 units: the 66th Marine Brigade, the 77th Marine Brigade, the 99th Marine Brigade, Tri-Service Joint Combat Training Base, Wuchiu Garrison Command, Amphibious Armor Group, Amphibious Reconnaissance Group, Communications, Information, and Electronic Warfare Group, Beach Service Group, Beach Logistics Group and Corps HQ Battalion.

The 66th Brigade started as the 66th division and reorganized together with the 2nd Brigade of Marine Corps and the 45th division of Army in 1955. Originally the 1st division of Marine Corps, the Brigade displayed its solid combat capacity in amphibious warfare in a military drill that caught the eyes of former President Chiang Kai-shek, and was selected for several major exercise operations, including ROC-USA Blue Star, Xiangyang, Songshan and Zhenge. Since its formation, the Brigade has participated in numerous joint amphibious and land battle exercises.

The 99th Marine Brigade is an elite unit based in southern Taiwan and boasting a proud history tracing back to the 4th Army of the National Revolutionary Army during the War of Resistance against Japan.

Continuing a tradition of excellence established by the 4th Army's remarkable achievements in the fight against Japan, the 99th Brigade has rallied to the nation's aid in more recent years, including its involvement after Typhoon Morakot, Typhoon Tembin, the Kaohsiung City gas explosion, Typhoon Soudelor and other natural disasters. These achievements are evident in the many trophies and honors displayed at the brigade historical hall, attesting to the truth of the brigade's reputation for "iron" strength.

"We see ourselves as a lightweight boxer, relying on speed, agility, and quality and constantly strengthening our fighting force," says 99th Marine Brigade commander Major General Liu Yu-ping, who represented Taiwan at the first US Pacific Command Amphibious Leaders Symposium (PALS) in May this year. He notes that these qualities were upgraded by organizational restructuring in 2011 that has created a leaner force able to respond quickly when need arises.

The Ministry of National Defense demonstrated its ability to launch an amphibious attack capable of engaging in urban warfare 27 August 2013. Marines aboard three rubber rafts came ashore. After taking a defensive position, four AAV7 amphibious assault vehicles land, deploying troops to help in the assault. Behind a cover of smoke and machine-gun fire, the marines launch an assault on a building. The exercise demonstrated the ability to engage in urban combat from an amphibious deployment, as well as integration with helicopter air support, giving this marine unit three distinct capabilities, making it a vital part of the military.

A coast defence detachment was also at Pratas in the South China Sea. The Spratly Islands Marine Corps detachment has been replaced by men from the paramilitary Coast Guard command. The ROCMC deployed eight SAM platoons, equipped with Chaparral SAM quad-launchers, to the offshore island of Wuchiu (Spratly) and the Pratas islets in the South China Sea. The ROC Marine Corps defended Pratas Island and Itu Aba Island, and straight succession of jurisdiction under the administration of present government. Pratas Island and Itu Aba Island are at an important location, and have beautiful seascapes and special reefs.

In 2004 one Marine brigade was redeployed near the Taipei area to defend the capital in the event of a suprise attack by the People's Liberation Army. Marines were also be used to guard major Naval and Marine Corps buildings in Taipei.

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