COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A treasure trove of silent, color films showing U.S. Marines in action during World War II, Korea and Vietnam is being brought out of storage, preserved and placed online for everyone to see.

Many of the images have hardly been seen — even by the Marine combat photographers who took them from the 1930s and into the 1970s. For years, they've been stored in relative obscurity at the Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia.

Marine Corps historian Thomas Baughn, who manages the repository, says it's vital such a "Leatherneck legacy" not crumble away.

The Marine Corps is turning to film specialists at the University of South Carolina who plan to preserve, catalog and digitize an estimated 16,000 reels of historic 16 mm and 35 mm films.