Marines from 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, were awarded the French Fourragere on Wednesday, as the battalion now comes under the command of the 6th Marine Regiment.
The Fourragere was awarded to 5th and 6th Marines in 1918 for participation in World War I, from Belleau Wood to Château-Thierry. Since then Marines assigned to the two regiments have worn the green braided rope over their shoulder in their service and dress blue uniforms.
The battalion was brought under command of 6th Marines as part of the Marine Corps’ new force designchanges.
“It’s an honor that I don’t think they (the Marines and Sailors in 1st Bn., 8th Marines) realize, but they will understand the magnitude of what it means to wear that rope around their arm once they understand the history and lineage of where others came from,” Master Gunnery Sgt. Shawn E. Hughes, battalion operations chief for 1/8, said in a Marine Corps press release.
Hughes first received the honor in 1997 when he was a young Marine assigned to 3/5, according to the release.
“I wasn’t sure what it was about, but once I read the history behind the French Fourragere, it was phenomenal, (and) astounding what the Marines went through during WWI in the trenches of Belleau Wood,” Hughes said in the release.
As part of the move to a lighter, smaller and more mobile force in preparation for a war against a near-peer opponent, the Marine Corps has cut one infantry regiment, to leave a total of seven regiments.
“This battalion-sized addition to 6th Marine Regiment signifies a visible change to the face of 2d MARDIV fighting units,” the press release said.
For Hughe, the awarding of the French Fourragere and the history behind the braid is a reminder of what the Marine Corps stands for.
“It’s about more than me, it’s about the institution and the Marine to the left and right of them,” Hughes said in the release.