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3rd Battalion, 8th Marines

The Marine unit initially deployed to Haiti on 29 February 2004 was probably part of the Air Contingency Battalion. At any given time there is at least one at Camp Lejeune ready to respond on short notice in a matter of hours. As of 02 March 2004 US Southern Command stated that it would not release the identity of troops on the ground in Haiti. Military spokesmen at Camp Lejeune could provide no details about the Haiti deployment, saying that Camp Lejeune itself did not have anything to do with Haiti. A news report on ABC news featured Camp Lejeune's 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment commander Lt. Col. David Berger, who was interviewed on the tarmac at the Port-au-Prince airport.

The 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines is part of the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Antiterrorism). In September 2001 the Marine Corps announced plans to activate the Antiterrorism Brigade to coordinate its efforts to deter, detect, defend against and respond to acts of domestic and international terrorism.

Because of the MEB's reactivation Marines are seeing an abundance of schools. The MEB is still defining what the training requirements of its Marines will be. Once again, because of the unit's unique specified stance on anti-terrorism, the MEB has not completely narrowed its training mission.

History

The Easter Sunday 1945 landing on Okinawa was to prove a deceptive prelude to war's utter bitterness. The Battle for Okinawa was a man against man slaughter, a psychological nightmare. On 18 June 1945 the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, recently arrived from Saipan, promptly assaulted into action and advanced 1,400 yards.

Marines of the Multi-national Peacekeeping Force from 1st Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines were in Beirut Lebanon, Christmas, 1982. Marines from India Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, were among the Marines killed in the Oct. 23, 1983 terrorist attack on the Beruit barracks that was the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines Headquarters. The 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines was deployed from 1983 to 1985, during which time it participated in contingency operations in Beirut, Lebanon.

Marines from Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, marched up to Silver Creek, Calif., on Jan. 31, 1997, where they began their training in tactical operations in the arctic environment. Marines from the 2nd Marine Regiment and 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines of Camp Lejeune, N. C. were at the Mountain Warfare Training Center to train in cold weather survival and arctic warfare.

U.S. Marines from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment patrolled the streets of Gnjilane, Kosovo, in mid-1999. Elements of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit were deployed from ships of the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group as an enabling force for KFOR. KFOR is the NATO-led, international military force which will deploy into Kosovo on a peacekeeping mission known as Operation Joint Guardian.

One person was killed 28 June 1999 when U.S. Marines in Gnjilane returned fire after a 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit outpost came under small arms fire. It is unclear if the man, who was wearing civilian clothes, died from the Marines' gunfire. A little before 6 p.m., Marines on duty at the MEU's operating base near the center of town began taking fire. They returned fire and summoned the Quick Reaction Force from Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines. The QRF arrived on the scene within minutes, returned fire and began surrounding and clearing nearby buildings in search of the unknown shooters. During that process, a Marine patrol found the wounded civilian man lying beside an AK-47 assault rifle. The man was evacuated by armored vehicle to the city's civilian hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.

More than 180 Marines from companies within 3d Battalion, 8th Marines, participated in the Nonlethal Training Package at the Special Operation Training Group compound in late October 2001 in preparation for their part as the Corps's first 'Anti-Terrorism' unit within the newly re-formed 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. The nonlethal training package, a series of events maximizing an arsenal of Marine Corps nonlethal weapons to include the use of sting ball grenades and Mossburg 12-guage shotguns that fires rubber rounds, gives the individual Marine or Sailor an added advantage when put in a situation where lethal force may not be necessary. This gives Marines another set of capabilities. SOTG's Marines give others the tools and confidence they may need when a situation arises. The package is normally not given to individual rifle companies unless they are part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit. However, because of the uniqueness of 3/8 being a part of the MEB, the unit was allowed to "piggy-back" off the 22d MEU which was preparing for a deployment to the Mediterranean.

The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory conducted a Limited Technical Assessment of the Mortar Ballistic Computer (MBC) Oct. 1-5, 2001. This LTA included mortar live-fire exercises 3-4 October. Marines from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines 81mm platoon conducted these exercises at a range at Camp Lejeune.

During July 2003 the scout sniper platoon, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division trained the 33rd Battalion, Republic of Korea Marine snipers during their deployment to Korea in support of the Korean Integrated Training Program (KITP). KITP is a three-week combined training program involving U.S. Marines and Republic of Korea Marines. The program is designed to enhance interoperability, combat readiness and combined relations through equipment and operation familiarization training.




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