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They’re a naval landing party comprised of sailors, and only one identifiable marine, but a very neat pic nonetheless.
It just dawned on me that I know jack shit about Hawaii’s history.
If you want to learn more about Naval Landing Parties check out the website of the USS Olumpia Living History Crew. Naval Landing Parties were the main landing force for ship-to-shore operations. The Marine Corps primarily served as guards oboard ships and were relatively few in number (small platoon to even a squad) In order to project power onto land, the Navy augemented with the Ships company which carried arms and equipment to put 100-200 men ashore and man the ship with a crew that could still manuever the vessel and use its armament. Naval Landing Party members still had full time billets on the ship, so going ashore as infantry was an additional duty. The Marine Corps did not grow until WWI. In the period of the 1870s-1910s there were several attempts to disband the Marine Corps because the need was not seen for a special force apart from the Naval Landing Parties. After WWI it was clear that the "part time Infantry" were not superior to speically trained personnel like Marines, so by the 1930s we see less Naval Landing Parties and an increase in the number of Marines. After WWII we see no further use of Naval Landing Parties, and no major efforts to disband the Marine Corps to date.
To learn more about Naval Landing Parties (1770s-1920s) and to learn about the USS Olumpia check out