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3rd Battalion 3rd Marines (3/3) is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps, based out of Kāne'ohe, Hawai'imarker, and consisting of approximately 800 Marines and Sailors. Known as "America's Battalion", the unit falls under the 3rd Marine Regiment of the 3rd Marine Division. The battalion was originally at Camp Lejeune, North Carolinamarker in 1942 and saw action on both Bougainvillemarker and Guam during World War II. Following the war, it was disbanded until 1951, when it was reformed in Californiamarker. The battalion was alerted for possible deployment during the 1956 Suez War and the 1958 intervention in Lebanonmarker. In 1965, the Marines of 3rd Battalion were deployed to Vietnammarker and participated in Operation Starlite, the first major Marine engagement of that conflict. The battalion continued to see major action through the Vietnam War and was rotated back to the United States in 1969. Around the end of the Vietnam War, 3rd Battalion was deactivated for a second time in 1974.

In 1975, 3rd Battalion was reformed for the third (and last) time at Marine Corps Base Hawaiimarker. During this time, the battalion conducted numerous deployments in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. In 1983, 3rd Battalion deployed off the coast of Lebanon for several weeks during a particularly tense period in the civil war. It deployed again in 1990 as part of Operation Desert Shield and saw action at the Battle of Khafjimarker and again during the liberation of Kuwaitmarker. In the first decade of the 21st century the battalion deployed once overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistanmarker and three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraqmarker.

Marines from 3rd Battalion have distinguished themselves in battle and in Marine Corps service—among 3/3 Marines are a Commandant of the Marine Corps, four Medal of Honor recipients, and over twenty Navy Cross winners. The battalion itself has been awarded two Presidential Unit Citation for "gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions" and five Navy Unit Commendations for "outstanding service."


Like many infantry battalions in the Marine Corps, 3/3 consists of five companies: three rifle companies, a Headquarters and Services (H&S) company, and a weapons company. The three rifle companies have traditionally been I Company, K Company, and L Company. Because the Marine Corps uses the NATO phonetic alphabet, these companies are commonly known as India, Kilo, and Lima. Prior to 1956, under the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet, they were known as Item, King, and Love. A fourth rifle company, M ("Mike") Company was attached to the battalion during the Vietnam War. The H&S company consists of the battalion staff, and Weapons Company provides fire support coordination, medium mortars, anti-armor weapons, and heavy machine gun support for the rifle companies.


World War II

The 3rd Marine Division shoulder patch from World War II.
3rd Battalion 3rd Marines was activated on 1942-06-01 at New River, North Carolinamarker as the 5th Training Battalion, Division Special Troops, 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. On 1942-06-16, they were redesignated as the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, Fleet Marine Force. In August to September 1942, 3/3 deployed to Tutuila, American Samoamarker and was reassigned to the 2nd Marine Brigade. In 1943, they were reassigned to the Fleet Marine Force. In May 1943, they redeployed to Auckland, New Zealandmarker and in June, were reassigned to the 3rd Marine Division. In July to August 1943, they redeployed to Guadalcanalmarker to begin training in preparation for the invasion of Bougainvillemarker in November. After Bougainville, 3/3 conducted numerous training exercises on Guadalcanal from January to May 1944 in preparation for the invasion of Kaviengmarker in April (which was cancelled) and the Marianasmarker in June. While 3rd Marines was designated as the floating reserve for the initial invasion of Saipanmarker, they were ultimately not landed and returned to Eniwetok for a three week stay prior to the invasion of Guammarker. During the interlude, the Marines of 3/3 were primarily confined to their transport ship, the USS Warren.

Following the invasion of Guam, 3rd Battalion spent two months conducting mopping up operations on the island until November, when it received orders to prepare for action at Iwo Jima. From November until February 1945, they took part in a training regimen so serious that a fellow battalion later reported at least 20% of its members were incapacitated due to foot and heat injuries. During the Battle of Iwo Jimamarker, 3rd Battalion, as part of 3rd Marines, was kept offshore as the Expeditionary Troops reserve. However, despite numerous requests from other Marine officers, the 3rd Marines spent its time at Iwo Jima sitting in its transport ships. On 1945-03-05, the 3rd Marines were ordered to return to Guam.

Back on Guam, 3rd Battalion began training for a landing on Miyako Jima, an island just south of Okinawamarker. Those orders were eventually cancelled, but the battalion still saw minor combat in 1945, participating in two operations on Guam designed to capture Japanese soldiers still holding out in the hills. These sweeps took place in April and December 1945. 3/3 also began preparing for Operation Olympic, where as part of V Amphibious Corps, it would have landed at Kushikino, Kagoshima on Kyūshūmarker. After the dropping of the atomic bombs in August 1945, and Japan's surrender, 3rd Battalion was detached from the 3rd Marine Division in November 1945 and deactivated the following month on 1945-12-20. Shortly before it was deactivated, the Battalion suffered the dubious honor of having the last American killed in World War II, when PFC W.C. Patrick Bates of Company K was shot by a Japanese sniper on December 14 during a mopping up operation on Guam.

Invasion of Bougainville

On 1943-11-01, 3rd Battalion landed at Cape Torokina with the rest of 3rd Marines, just east of the Koromokina River. While resistance was extremely light, the rough surf and dense jungle (which in many places extended all the way to the water) resulted in numerous landing craft being lost or damaged beyond repair. For the next three weeks, 3/3 slowly advanced down the Numa Numa Trail until it was ordered to dig in near Piva Forks on November 17. From 1943-11-18 to 1943-11-24, it took part in the destruction of the Japanese 23rd Infantry Regiment at the Battle of Piva Forks, which earned the Marines from 3/3 four Navy Crosses. Two days later, 3rd Battalion was moved over to a relatively quiet sector on the 3rd Division's flank where it remained for the remainder of the operation.

In December, the 3rd Marine Division was relieved by the Americal Division and 3/3 left Bougainville for Guadalcanal on Christmas Day, 1943. They left behind 36 of their comrades, including Corporal John Logan Jr. and Captain Robert Turnbull (Lima Company), who both won Navy Crosses during the Battle of Piva Forks. 165 other Marines from 3rd Battalion became casualties during the campaign.

Invasion of Guam

On 1944-07-21, around 0830, 3rd Battalion hit the beaches on the extreme left of the entire 3rd Marine Division. Their mission was to take Chonito Cliff and Adelup Pointmarker, which marked the left flank of the division. Supported by half-tracks and armor from the 3rd Tank Battalion, 3rd Battalion fought a bloody three hour battle up the side of Chonito Cliff and became the only unit in 3rd Marines to accomplish its objectives by the end of W-Day. During the first night, a mortarman with Kilo Company, Private First Class Luther Skaggs, Jr., was critically wounded in the leg by a Japanese grenade. After applying a tourniquet, Skaggs continued to fight for another eight hours before moving unassisted to the rear where most of his leg was amputated. For this he became the first Marine from 3rd Battalion to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Two other Marines from 3/3, including the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Houser, won the Navy Cross that day.

After securing Adelup Point, 3rd Battalion provided flank security for the rest of 3rd Marines during the Battle for Bundschu Ridge, the counterattack on the 25th which broke the back of Japanese resistance, and the assault on Fonte Plateau. During these actions Lieutenant Colonel Houser was seriously wounded and the Executive Officer, Major Royal R. Bastian, Jr., took command. On 1944-07-31, 3rd Battalion proceeded east on the Mt. Tenjo road towards the island capital of Agana, which it liberated the same day after token resistance. For the remaining ten days of the campaign, the battalion marched northeast up the coast, encountering occasional enemy resistance, until the island was declared secure on 1944-08-10. Casualties for the 3rd Battalion were twice as great as on Bougainville, with 300 wounded and 97 killed.


3rd Battalion 3rd Marines was reactivated at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendletonmarker in August 1951 as part of the 3rd Marine Brigade. In February 1952, it took part in Lex-Baker-1, which was the first full-scale Marine-Navy exercise held on the West Coast since 1949. In May, India Company participated in the ground portion of the Operation Buster-Jangle atomic bomb tests in Nevada. In August, part of the Battalion took part in an amphibious landing on Lake Washingtonmarker as part of Seattlemarker's "Seafair." Then in December, 3rd Battalion took part in one of the first exercises at Twentynine Palmsmarker, California. The entire 3rd Marine Division, including 3/3, was transported more than by truck between Pendleton and Twenty-nine Palms. During the exercise, Third Battalion made a night airlift using over sixty helicopters.

In January 1953, the unit deployed to the Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Stationmarker on Oahumarker for six months of training, after which 3/3 returned to Pendleton. In August 1953, 3/3 deployed to Japan for training operations at Kin Beach, Okinawamarker and Iwo Jima. In 1956, 3rd Battalion was on a MEU in the Indian Oceanmarker when the Suez War broke out. Though alerted for possible action in Egyptmarker and the surrounding region, the crisis was ultimately resolved. During this cruise, 3/3 visited Brunei Baymarker, Bombaymarker, Karachimarker, and Singaporemarker, before returning to Japan. In December 1956, the entire 3rd Marine Regiment was deployed off of Indonesiamarker because of civil strife in that country. In 1958, 3/3 was alerted for possible deployment to Lebanonmarker, but its transports were turned back in the Indian Oceanmarker to Okinawa. Four years later, in 1962, the battalion deployed on the USS Bayfield to the Chinesemarker coast to guard the Taiwanesemarker islands of Quemoymarker Matsumarker.

Vietnam War

The official emblem for 3/3 in Vietnam.
The 3/3/3 comes from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.
In January 1965, the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendletonmarker, Californiamarker deployed for a tour on Okinawamarker, Japanmarker, where they were redesignated the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines. At the time the Marines of 3rd Battalion expected a typical 13-month deployment followed by a quick return to the states. However 3/3 found itself caught up in the initial deployment of Marine units to Vietnammarker, and landed on May 12 along the coast south of Danangmarker at an airfield called Chu Lai.

The battalion's first major operation in the Vietnam War was Operation Starlite, which was also the first major American action in the war. Starlite was an attempt by three Marine battalions, including 3/3, to clear the area just south of Chu Lai of the 1st VC Regiment. The fighting began on 1965-08-18 when Third Battalion conducted an amphibious landing just east of the VC positions. At first the attack was slowed by effective VC delaying tactics. However, 3rd Battalion eventually advanced to the outskirts of the village of An Cuong 2. While attempting to clear the village, India Company came under intense fire from VC defending the village. When one squad under Corporal Robert E. O'Malley was ambushed, O'Malley jumped into a VC trench and personally killed eight Viet Cong. Wounded three times, O'Malley refused to be evacuated until all his men were safe and was later awarded the Medal of Honor. The rest of India Company managed to rout the VC in the village. However, during the fighting Captain Bruce Webb was killed when a supposedly-dead VC threw a grenade into the India Company command group. India then had to fight its way back to the rest of the battalion through other Viet Cong units still operating in the area.

Around 1200, an H&S supply convoy bound for India Company was ambushed and pinned down. A force sent to relieve them was also pinned down. During the afternoon 3rd Battalion 7th Marines was airlifted ashore to help India Company and managed to stabilize this situation for the rest of the day. During the night, the Viet Cong retreated, resulting in a tactical American victory. The United States lost 52 Marines in the operation, 15 of which came from 3rd Battalion. Three Navy Crosses were awarded to 3/3 Marines, including Captain Webb (posthumously), the battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Muir, and Sergeant James Mulloy.

A Medevac while operating along the DMZ, 1968.
3/3 did not see major action again until the fall of 1966 when it moved north to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). However, during this period the battalion continued to conduct regular sweeps and low-level (i.e. small unit) combat operations against the enemy. Among the casualties suffered during this period was Lieutenant Colonel Joe Muir, who was killed when he stepped on an IED. In October 1966, 3rd Battalion was deployed to combat the threat from the North Vietnamese Army in Quang Tri province. While deployed in Quang Tri, 3/3 fought in such places as the Rockpile, Cam Lomarker, A-3, Gio Linhmarker, Khe Sanhmarker, and Con Thien.
Gio Linh Marine Outpost, March 1968.
In December the battalion suffered from a tragic case of friendly fire when two F-4 Phantoms dropped several bombs in the middle of Mike Company, killed seventeen Marines and wounding a dozen others. Corpsman Donald Rion won a posthumous Silver Star for his efforts to treat the wounded, despite suffering a mortal wound himself. In the spring of 1967, 3rd Battalion participated in a series of bloody engagements near Khe Sanhmarker known as the Hill fights, culminating in the Battle of Hill 881, where 46 Marines from 3/3 were killed. The violence in the area continued to increase throughout 1967, culminating in 1968's Tet Offensive

3/3's command group at Vandegrift Combat Base, 1969.
In early 1969, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines was sent south for several months to join Task Force Yankee in Operation Taylor Common near An Hoa. This three-month operation focused on destroying the primary base for North Vietnamese Army forces operating across several provinces and 3/3 was awarded a Navy Unit Commendation for its actions during the operation. Ten Marines from 3/3 were killed during the operation (out of 183 total US fatalities), and American forces captured numerous quantities of North Vietnamese armies and supplies. While 3/3 returned to the DMZ for the summer of 1969, it was ordered back to the United States in the fall. The battalion began to depart on 1969-10-01 and had arrived at Camp Pendletonmarker by the end of 1969. 3rd Battalion spent over 1600 days in Vietnam and conducted 48 combat operations, the most of any Marine battalion in the conflict. 547 3/3 Marines lost their lives during the Vietnam War, and an additional 103 3/3 alumni. Nearly 2,800 others were wounded.


The battalion relocated during October to November 1969 to MCB Camp Pendleton and was reassigned to the 5th Marine Amphibious Brigade. They were again reassigned in April 1971 to the 1st Marine Division. The battalion was deactivated June 1, 1974. 3/3 was reactivated on 1975-10-01 at MCB Kaneohe Baymarker, Hawaiimarker, and assigned to the 3rd Marine Division. Elements of the battalion deployed to the Western Pacific at various times during the 1970s and 1980s. In February 1980, following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the battalion was deployed to the Persian Gulf onboard the USS Okinawamarker and was also the back-up force during Operation Eagle Clawmarker. This deployment made 3rd Battalion the first American ground unit to enter the region since World War II.

In the summer of 1983, the battalion was in Mombassa, Kenyamarker as part of the 31st MAU when the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered it to the Mediterranean in support of the Multinational Force in Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War. It arrived on 1983-09-12 and spent three weeks off the coast as a reserve force for the 24th MAU on the USS Tarawa, before departing on October 9 for the Indian Ocean because of a crisis near the Strait of Hormuzmarker.

Desert Shield/Desert Storm

The official emblem for 3/3 during the 1980s and 1990s.
In 1990, 3rd Battalion was finishing up a deployment at Camp Hansen on Okinawamarker when on 1990-08-02, at 0200, the commanding officer of the 9th Marine Regiment notified the battalion to be prepared to immediately redeploy to Saudi Arabiamarker as a response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. No sooner had the battalion returned to Hawaii, then it was shipped out again to Saudi Arabia as part of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade. India Company deployed first on August 15 to Guammarker to provide onboard security for the Maritime Prepositioning ships bound for the port of Al Jubaylmarker. On September 1, the rest of the battalion arrived in Dahranmarker.

As one of the first Marine units in country, 3/3 found itself defending a key position at Cement Ridge, about 90 kilometers away from the Kuwaiti border. With orders to hold against any Iraqi attack, 3rd battalion spent most of the months of August and September digging defensive positions. In October, 3/3 and 2/3 were designated "Task Force Taro" and moved to the extreme right flank of the Marine sector, bordering the Saudi Arabian King Abdul Aziz Brigade. Because of their close proximity, Taro was ordered by Major General James M. Myatt (Commanding General, 1st Marine Division) to begin cross-training with the Saudi forces. This cross-training continued through January, when 3/3 was moved forward to defend Al Mish'ab along the Saudi coast and became the northernmost Marine combat force in Saudi Arabia.

Operation Desert Storm began on 1991-01-17, but for the first two weeks 3/3 only conducted sporadic engagements with its Iraqi counterparts across the border. That all changed on 1991-01-29, when several Iraqi divisions unexpectedly crossed the border and seized the Saudi town of Khafjimarker, less than 15 kilometers north of 3rd Battalion's position. During the attack, Major Craig Huddleston, the Executive Officer, along with the Battalion Sergeant Major and several other non-commissioned officers, drove into the town on a rescue mission, looking for two Army soldiers who had accidentally driven right into the Iraqi positions and been captured. Although they were unable to find the soldiers, the Marines from 3rd Battalion did blunder into an Iraqi patrol and exchanged rounds with them before making their own escape. While Saudi and Qatarimarker units ultimately retook the town, 3rd Battalion played a vital role in both coordinating the attack and blocking further Iraqi advances southward. In addition, several heavy machine guns and forward air controllers from the battalion were shifted over to the Saudis and took place in the assault.

From 1991-02-19 to 1991-02-21, 3/3 moved from Al Mish'ab to the forward assembly areas that it would be using to launch its attack into Kuwait. It was also during this period that 3/3 was given its assignment for the ground offensive. Lacking heavy armor or motorized transport, the battalion (along with 2/3) would infiltrate Iraqi positions along the Saudi border and provide flank security for the rest of the 1st Division to make its assault into Kuwait. As TF Taro's commander, Brigadier General John H. Admire, recalled in his history The 3d Marines in Desert Storm: "We were encouraged by MajGen Myatt's confidence in assigning us such a critical task with minimum notice and accepted our supporting attack role with the understanding that we would have no armor, no assault amphibious vehicles, no major mechanical or explosive breaching assets. We would simply infiltrate at night on foot, with bayonets and rifles as our principal weapons." An NCO with 3rd Marines, Corporal Eroshevich, said the reaction among the enlisted Marines was less optimistic: "We all looked at each other and said, `Well, it was nice knowing you...'"

Other Marines from 3rd Battalion wondered if they'd been given the mission because several days earlier they had shot at the 1st Marine Division commander while he was conducting forward reconnaissance. On the night of 1991-02-22, 3rd Battalion crossed the border into Kuwait, infiltrating past Iraqi minefields, tank traps, and other obstacles. Like many American units, 3/3 encountered no Iraqi resistance and the biggest threat to the Marines came from friendly fire. Throughout the ground war, the battalion advanced steadily northwards, encountering no resistance but taking plenty of prisoners, and arrived outside the Kuwait International Airport around 1991-02-27. Several months later, 3rd Battalion returned to Hawaii, having suffered no casualties.


Between its participation in Desert Storm and the Afghan War, 3rd Battalion conducted multiple deployments around the Pacific Rim. In October 1994 3/3 was reassigned to the 3rd Marine Division. In 1995 the battalion spent the latter part of the year training at Camp Fuji and Okinawa. It returned again in 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2002. Among the many countries 3/3 visited during this period were Australia, Tongamarker, the Philippinesmarker, Koreamarker, Bruneimarker, Indonesiamarker, Thailandmarker, Malaysiamarker, Singaporemarker, and Hong Kongmarker.

Afghanistan and Iraq

In late 2004, 3rd Battalion was given its marching orders for war. On 2004-10-31, the first Marines left Kaneohe Baymarker, Hawaii for an eight month deployment to eastern Afghanistanmarker. The rest of the battalion arrived throughout November. While serving in Afghanistan, 3/3 conducted Operation Spurs in February 2005, where they were inserted into the Korangal valley and conducted both counterinsurgency and humanitarian operations. In March 3/3 launched a similar sweep called Operation Mavericks. On 2005-05-08, the battalion suffered its only fatalities for the deployment when Lance Corporal Nicholas Kirven and Corporal Richard Schoener were killed during a three-hour firefight in Alisang which also resulted in twenty-three Taliban killed. During the fighting, Lieutenant Stephen Boada won the Silver Star for calmly directing bombing runs on the Taliban positions, despite being wounded several times. 3rd Battalion returned on 2005-06-21.

In March 2006, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines deployed to western Iraqmarker in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They relieved in place the 3rd Battalion 1st Marines in the Haditha area and were based out of the Haditha Dammarker. This deployment was particularly sensitive, coming around the same time that news of the Haditha killings broke in the United States. Once it arrived in Iraq, 3rd Battalion was given the mission of "fighting insurgents, working with locals to improve local economy and quality of life, and training Iraqi soldiers." The Battalion was also partnered up with the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Brigade of the 7th Iraqi Army Division.

Unlike previous units in the Haditha sector, which ran their operations out of the Dam, 3rd Battalion (Along with 3/1) used an approach of "constant presence". It created a series of forward operating bases in the local cities of Haditha, Barwanahmarker, and Haqlaniyahmarker, from which the rifle and weapons companies sent out constant patrols to keep the insurgent groups off balance. During the deployment, in addition to training local Iraqis, the Marines from 3/3 conducted more than 8,000 patrols, located 54 weapons caches and detained more than 800 suspected insurgents. The battalion had eleven Marines killed during its time in Iraq and eighty-five wounded. On 2006-10-06, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines returned to Kaneohe Bay.

The following year, the battalion made its second Iraq deployment, this time eastern Anbar province where they temporarily served under the command of the Regimental Combat Team 6 during the closing phases of Operation Alljah. Their mission was to complete the Clear Hold Build operation in the areas of Karmah and Zaidon which had begun two months earlier. While this deployment did not see the same level of combat as 2006, it was no less challenging: the Marines frequently found themselves mediating between sheiks, assisting locals with reconstruction projects, and mentoring the Iraqi police units in the area. One Company Commander complained that, "On one end I’m fighting, and on the other end I’m disputing between tribal leaders. The other part (is) trying to stimulate the economy. So, it’s a three-block war here and it’s very, very dynamic’." In February 2008 the battalion rotated back to the United States without suffering a single casualty.

In April 2009 3/3 deployed for a third time to Iraq, this time to Al Asadmarker in Anbar Provincemarker. On that deployment, they made up "Task Force Military Police" in MNF-W.

Unit awards

Since the beginning of World War II, the United States military has honored various units for extraordinary heroism or outstanding non-combat service. This information comes from the official 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines webpage and is certified by the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Streamer Award Year(s) Additional Info
Presidential Unit Citation Streamer with one Bronze Star 1944, 1965–1967 Battle of Guam, Vietnam War
Navy Unit Commendation Streamer with four Bronze Stars 1943, 1965, 1968–1969, 1990–1991, 2006 Battle of Bougainvillemarker, Operation Starlite, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Haditha
Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer with three Bronze Stars 1967–1968, 1968, 1983, 2004–2005 Vietnam War, Lebanon, Afghan War
Marine Corps Expeditionary Streamer

Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Streamer with four Bronze Stars 1943, 1944, 1945 Battle of Bougainvillemarker, Northern Solomons, Battle of Guam, Battle of Iwo Jimamarker
World War II Victory Streamer 1942–1945 Pacific War
National Defense Service Streamer with three Bronze Stars 1950–1954, 1961–1974, 1990–1995, 2001–present Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, War on Terrorism
Korean Service Streamer 1951-1954
Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamer 1962, 1983 Quemoymarker and Matsu Islandsmarker, Lebanon
Vietnam Service Streamer with two Silver Stars 1965, 1966-1967 Vietnam Defense Campaign, Vietnamese Counteroffensive Campaign: Phase II
Southwest Asia Service Streamer with two Bronze Stars 1990–1991 Desert Shield, Desert Storm
Afghanistan Campaign Streamer 2004–2005
Iraq Campaign Streamer 2006, 2007-2008, 2009 Haditha, Karmah, Al Anbar Provincemarker
Global War on Terrorism Service Streamer 2001–present
Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Streamer

"America's Battalion"

According to research by the Marine Corps' History and Museum Division, the name "America's Battalion" originated in the mid-1980s when Lieutenant Colonel Charles Krulak was the battalion's commanding officer. It comes from the nickname "America's Team", which was used by the Dallas Cowboys. Krulak, who was a big Cowboys fan, modified the nickname to apply to 3rd Battalion. According to Krulak, at one point a friend of his sent him a letter addressed to the "Commanding Officer, America's Battalion". With nothing else on the envelope, the United States Postal Service still managed to deliver the letter properly. Krulak commented that "if the U.S. Postal Service recognized 3/3 as 'America's Battalion,' then they certainly must be. So from then on he considered it 'official'." 3rd Battalion is one of two battalions to have the nickname "America's Battalion", the other being 2nd Battalion 8th Marines based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeunemarker.

Notable 3/3 Marines

Among the many decorations for valor and bravery awarded to Marines from 3rd Battalion, four Medals of Honor and over twenty Navy Crosses have been awarded. In 1965, Corporal Robert O'Malley from India Company became the first Marine in the Vietnam War to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Two other Marines from 3/3, Robert J. Modrzejewski (1958–1959) and Howard V. Lee (1959–1960), would later be awarded the Medal of Honor in Vietnam while serving with other units. Captain John Ripley (hero of the bridge at Dong Hamarker) was in command of Lima Company in 1967, and the company was frequently referred to as "Ripley's Raiders". Oliver North served as a platoon commander in Kilo Company from 1968–1969 and Frank Tejeda, a Congressman from Texasmarker, was a Kilo NCO for the same period. In more recent years, General Charles Krulak, the 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps served as Battalion Commander from 1983–1985 and is credited with giving 3/3 the nickname "America's Battalion"

See also


  1. The United States Marine Corps is a part of the Department of the Navy. Traditionally, the Navy has supplied it with both corpsmen and chaplains. See also Marine Corps Operating Forces.
  2. For the sake of clarity, their current names are the ones used throughout the article
  3. When Marine battalions are deployed on an MEU they are referred to as a Battalion Landing Team (BLT)
  4. Lehrack, p. 17
  5. Lehrack, p. 42
  6. Lehrack, p. 125–133
  7. Lehrack, p. 165
  8. Lehrack, p. 205
  9. Information taken from plaques on wall of Battalion Headquarters, 2007-02-23.
  11. MULTI NATIONAL FORCE – WEST FACT SHEET - OIF 09-01 (Accurate as of 30 June 2009)
  12. While the NUC for Haditha has not been officially certified on 3/3's website, it has been listed in an official Marine Corps Awards Document ( MARADMIN 0320/09 ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPROVED NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION (NUC) from May 2009 (Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  13. While the MUC for the Afghan War has not been officially certified on 3/3's website, it has been listed in an official Marine Corps Awards Document ( MARADMIN 074/07 AWARDS UPDATE) from February 2007 (Retrieved 2007-04-18.
  14. Retrieved on 2006-12-09.


  • (3/3's official website)

  • Includes a history of Mike Company during the Vietnam War.

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