May 26, 2022

University of South Carolina Plans to Preserve, Digitize U.S. Marine Corps Film Repository (16,000 Reels)

From the University of South Carolina:

From the Iwo Jima beaches to the jungles of Vietnam to the training base at Parris Island, the U.S. Marine Corps history comes to life in films shot by Corps photographers from the late 1930s through the 1970s.

That footage — 16,000 reels of film documenting the operational history of the Marine Corps from World War II through Vietnam — is moving from Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia, to the University of South Carolina, home of one of the largest public film archives in the U.S.

The university’s Moving Image Research Collections will digitize the Marine Corps Film Repository, with plans to eventually place the films online for the public to view free of charge.


Storing and digitizing an estimated 2,000 hours of film won’t be easy — or cheap. The University of South Carolina must raise about $2 million to make the video available to the public, with funds going to storage, inventory, cataloging, digitizing and streaming the video.

“Because of its sheer size, stewardship of this collection would be a challenge for any institution. We were eager to make space and digitize these films so that they could be made available to the American public and former and serving Marines,” said UofSC Dean of Libraries Tom McNally.


Collection Highlights

  • More than 16,000 reels of film documenting the operational history of the Marine Corps from late 1930s through the 1970s
  • Extensive footage of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War
  • Clips include: Recruit training at Parris Island; evacuation of the wounded from Iwo Jima beaches in World War II; August 1945 marking of VJ Day in Honolulu; Marines of the First Provisional Marine Brigade at the Nakdong River, Pusan Perimeter counter offensive in August 1950; early tactical demonstration and training with the HRS-1 helicopter, Camp Pendleton in July 1955; scenes from Vietnam 1967 and Khe Sanh 1968; testing of the Harrier Jump Jet
  • All footage shot by Marine Corps photographers
About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.