Belleau Wood, Battle of, June 6-July 1, 1918, the second important engagement by United States troops in World War I. When the Germans were beaten back at Château-Thierry in France, the U.S. Second Division was ordered to attack Belleau Wood and the village of Vaux. After suffering heavy casualties, a brigade of Marines finally cleared the strongly defended wood on June 26. Vaux was captured on July 1. France later changed the name of the woods to Bois de la Brigade de Marine ("Wood of the Marine Brigade"). The site was made a permanent memorial in 1923 and is owned by the United States government.