In 2004, Arc Dream Publishing released Talent Operations Command Intelligence Bulletin 3: Marine Talents in the Pacific Theater, a sourcebook for GODLIKE: Superhero Roleplaying in a World on Fire, 1936-1946. Sometimes called the Pacific Bulletin, it is an in-character sourcebook meant for players to read. It teaches the Talents of the United States Marine Corps how to fight the Axis in the Pacific. That gives those Talents’ players and game moderators deep resources to improve their games.
Here are a few excerpts. Written by Dennis Detwiller, © 2004.
The Marine Special Instruction School
The Talent Operations Command—America’s central agency in the assignment of Talents to the armed forces—was established in March 1942 by order of our Commander in Chief. Its purpose is to examine American Talents and transfer them to the branches of service best served by their particular paranormal abilities. The U.S. Marines have received a growing number of these amazing individuals.
Formed in December 1942 by command of Lieutenant General Thomas Holcomb, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, the Marine Special Instruction School trains Marine Talents for action in all theaters of combat. Special focus is given to jungle and amphibious warfare, the specialty of the Marine Corps.
Based at Paris Island, South Carolina, the program has already sent more than 50 highly trained Talents to Marine positions around the world, and nearly 300 more are currently training at “Hell’s Motel”—the Paris Island Marine Special Instruction School. By the end of 1945, the Marines expect to field nearly 2,000 Talents.
These SIS trainees are the go-getters needed to break defensive lines, locate and destroy enemy outposts, and scout ahead of the main Marine force. Their extensive training and unique abilities place them in a Marine Corps classification all their own. Like their counterparts in the American Army—the Talent Operations Groups—they go in first.
With the confirmation of the first Japanese Talent in late 1942, few doubt that more are coming or are already here. The Marine Talents are the only line of defense between regular American soldiers and Japanese Talents.
These specially trained Marines are assigned to regional commands as an ad-hoc force, prepared to do what is necessary to stop the Japanese Talents and disrupt regular enemy offensives.
The Talented Marine elite represent our best hope of halting the advancing wave of the Imperial Japanese Army.
The “Devil’s Own”
Those skilled enough to graduate the Paris Island Marine Special Instruction School are rewarded with the “Pitchfork Patch”—the red and the black. Worn on the left shoulder by the elite among the elite, this patch marks the truly exceptional Marine.
These Marines are known by many names, but they call themselves the “Devil’s Boys” or the “Devil’s Own.”
There is an unspoken bond between the Devil’s Own, a need to defend their brother Marines and, above all, to complete the mission placed before them. To the elite, there is no such thing as retreat, defeat, or surrender.
That is the first unspoken rule of the Devil’s Own. The Talent phenomenon shows us nothing in this world is more powerful than the belief of the human mind. Where there is will, and a Marine still breathing, no mission is a failure—only in progress.
The second unspoken rule of the Devil’s Own is this: Never leave a man behind. When a boy with the Pitchfork Patch is around, no living Marine will be abandoned to the enemy, no matter his condition. They will give their lives to let their fellow Marines fight another day.
SIS Organization and Command
SIS teams are composed of up to 10 Marine Talents, commanded by an officer and an executive officer or noncommissioned officer. They are trained to be highly autonomous and independently organized, able to operate miles behind enemy lines and prepared to take the initiative at a moment’s notice.
Each man in an SIS team is prepared to carry out the directives of a mission on his own, and, if necessary, to give his life to complete it. It should be no surprise that two Marine Talents have already been nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor.
SIS teams usually report to battalion command. A few individuals of use in logistics, message-carrying, and communications may be attached to headquarters, but most are placed where they are needed most—at the front line fighting alongside their brother Marines.
The men of the SIS have four directives that dictate every action they take in the field:
1. Locate, report, disrupt, and destroy enemy Talents.
2. Locate, report, disrupt, and destroy enemy troops by all physical and psychological means.
3. Protect U.S. Marine and Allied forces engaged in combat against the Japanese.
4. Hold the line at all costs.
SIS men endure what many consider the most brutal military training the world has ever known.
Trapped in the bogs and heights of the Paris Island military complex, they suffer through eight weeks of bugs, mud, and disease, as well as relentless marches, close-order drills, and live-fire exercises. Some consider assignment to the Pacific theater a significant improvement over Hell’s Motel.
Colonel Stephen Buck, Course DI, SIS Paris Island: In training, the team is everything. Every man is a component in a machine designed to destroy the enemy.
Like any advanced machine, all good Marine fire teams have redundant components so the machine can continue to operate in case of casualty or death.
During training, nothing is done until the entire team has done it, no task complete until all members of that team have completed it.
Only in this way can we hope to make resilient, highly trained fighting groups capable of independent action behind enemy lines.
Captain Peter Link, Combat DI, Paris Island: Few escape the pit without a scar or two. It began as a way to remove the cleanliness from practice fighting. I felt, having endured face-to-face combat myself, that practice boxing and bayonet and knife fighting were too easy.
I wanted to give the boys something to learn from, not something to imitate. So, there’s the pit.
Two men go into the mud pit, armed with blunt wood “knives,” and are encouraged to attempt to seriously injure each other. Sometimes a prize is offered, such as a weekend furlough, just to up the ante. The use of Talent abilities is not permitted—and trust me, with half a dozen Talents watching it’s tough to slip one by.
I once whipped a guy who could bench press a tractor. Left a welt on his chest and took out two of his teeth, but he was still smiling. Now how often does an old Marine get a chance to beat a guy from the funny books and feel like he helped a Marine learn something at the same time?
First Lieutenant Daniel Raab, Field DI, SIS Paris Island: We live in the “Bog”—“Hell’s Motel,” as the boys put it. It’s a filthy place. Mud, bugs, and disease. Every week, two or three men have to go in for lice, dysentery, and sometimes even malaria!
This might sound counterproductive, but it prepares the men for much worse—war in the Pacific. A man who has already had the rot, or dysentery, or lice, can get along much better in the field than one who has not. It is a known quantity, something understood. Otherwise it is an unknown burden—a source of worry that consumes precious personal resources best spent on fighting the Japs.
How do I get along in the Bog? I love it. Then again, I’m from Louisiana. Compared to Ulye, Louisiana, the Bog is heaven on earth.
Captain Peter Link, Combat DI, Paris Island: Sometimes a guy who pokes his head up too high takes a round. Luckily those incidents are rare, and we’ve never lost anyone—yet. But even if we did lose someone, the live-fire exercises would continue.
Live fire is important. A large component of enduring war is getting used to the sounds and feelings of combat. Without enduring the bullets whizzing overhead and the thump of explosions, a man is ill prepared for action in the field.
Fighting is not some antiseptic process. It’s not a boxing match. It’s messy, dangerous, and hard. Training for combat must emphasize these factors, even if they are an order of magnitude less trying than the real situation.
The “Musts” for the Jungle Marine
A good jungle Marine must:
• Keep his mouth shut on the trail.
• Recognize common jungle sounds.
• Keep his eyes off the ground when on the trail and maintain a constant watch toward the head of the column and a selected flank.
• Get off the trail at halts, conceal himself, and observe the flanks.
• Dig in at protracted halts.
• Report any oddities to his commander, no matter how outrageous.
• Know the Nambu light machine gun by sound, because it is the lynchpin of the Jap jungle organization and is an infallible guide to flanks and strong points.
• Black his face and hands and remove any shine from equipment.
• Conserve his own ammunition and pick up abandoned bandoliers when he sees them.
• Memorize and invariably use the unit’s selected code words for leaders, maneuvers, ammunition, corpsmen, etc.
• Be able to select a night position so that the jungle works to his advantage and to the disadvantage of infiltrating Japs.
• Appreciate the fact that the Japs do not have cat’s eyes; that they are afraid of the dark; that at night a moving Jap is an easy victim for a silent Marine who believes in his bayonet.
• Care for his equipment religiously. Weapons deteriorate with unbelievable rapidity in the jungle and must be cleaned at every opportunity.
• Use extreme caution in contacting native cultures. Though many are the Japs’ enemies, some are hostile to all outsiders.
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