1st Battalion, 4th Marines
"Whatever it Takes"
Alhough originally activated in April 1911 as part of the 4th Marine Regiment, the battalion considers August 1, 1922 as its official birthday. This was when it was first addressed as the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, in the Dominican Republic. From September 1924 to January 1927, the battalion was based in San Diego, Ca. During that period elements of the battalion were assigned to guard the U.S. mail.
From February 1927 to November 1941, the battalion served in China, where it was first addressed as "The China Marines," and began using the Chinese dragon in different official and unofficial logos and mastheads. During November 1941, the battalion, with the entire 4th Marines, deployed from China to the Philippines.
World War II found the battalion stationed at Olangapo. Ordered to Corregidor, the battalion helped defend that strategic island from December 1941 to May 1942. The battalion was awarded two Presidential Unit Citations and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, but was also forced to burn its colors and surrender.
On February 1, 1944, a new 1/4 was activated by the redesignation of the 1st Raider Battalion. For the remainder of World War II, the battalion fought at two of the bloodiest campaigns in the Pacific, Guam and Okinawa. The battalion was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for Guam and Navy Presidential Unit Commendation for Okinawa. The battalion was part of the occupation forces in Japan after the war.
The battalion served in China in 1946. It spent the Korean War stationed in Japan. In 1955 it was transferred to Hawaii and stayed there until May 1965.
In May 1965, 1/4 deployed to the Republic of Vietnam. During four years spent there, they fought in practically every Marine area of responsibility. As a result of its actions during operations such as Starlight and Hastings, the battalion shared with 2/4 and 3/4 in the award of the 'Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm' for "outstanding bravery."
From October 1969 to 1977, the battalion served on Okinawa and participated in the rescue of SS Mayaguez and the Southeast Asia emergency evacuations. From 1977 to 1989, they were stationed at Twentynine Palms, then in January of 1989, they were transferred to the 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton.
1st Battalion, 4th Marines deployed with 13th MEU a month and a half early in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, vice the scheduled mid-January 2002 departure. 1st Battalion deployed with four M1A1 Abrams tanks, a dozen light armored vehicles, and six howitzers. The 13th MEU was notified of its SOC certification 20 November 2001, after completing Special Operations Capable Exercise early in the predeployment cycle and two follow-on missions Nov. 16 and 19. "The Fighting 13th" completed SOCEX and its shortened pre-deployment period in case it was called upon to leave early for its Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf deployment.
On 12 May 1975, a Khmer Rouge gunboat seized an American ship, the SS Mayaguez in the Gulf of Thailand and detained its crew. Elements of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, and 9th Marines, were flown to an advanced staging of a joint US Task Force. They conducted a helo assault on the Cambodian island of Koh Tang where the Mayaguez was being held. USAF helicopters landed Marines of BLT 2/9 on Koh Tang Island off the Cambodian coast where the crew was believed to be held. Marines from Company D, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines boarded the Mayaguez only to find deserted. The Khmer Rouge released the Mayaguez crew who were picked up by a U.S. destroyer at sea. On 15 May, with the recovery of the ship and its crew, the Marines withdrew from Koh Tank Island. The American forces sustained total casualties of 15 killed, 3 missing in action (later declared dead), 49 wounded, and 23 other personnel killed in a related helicopter crash. Khymer Rouge casualties were unknown.
Following the August 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, three battalions (3d Battalion, 1st Marines; 1st Battalion, 4th Marines; 1st Battalion, 9th Marines) belonged to the 1st Marines but had Western Pacific commitments and were not available at that time. That was also the situation with 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, which was on unit deployment to Okinawa and would join the division later. Ultimately, all but the 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, deployed to the Kuwait Theater of Operations (KTO).
As the GCE of the 15th MEU, the battalion conducted three real-world operations. Operation Restore Hope provided humanitarian relief to the people of Rwanda. After this the battalion moved off the coast of Somalia where they were tasked with providing several oncall missions which included TRAP, NEO and airfield seizure. All these missions were in support of the United States Liaison Office relocation from Mogadishu to Nairobi, Kenya.
The battalion became the ground combat element of 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit in July 2001.
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