The first "2d Regiment" of Marines came into existence in 1901 when unsettled conditions in the Far East required the presence of a Marine expeditionary force to protect American lives and property. The regiment was formed at Cavite, Philippine Islands on 1 January, by utilizing personnel for units recently returned to the Philippines from service during in the Boxer Rebellion in China, namely, the 1st Regiment and the 4th and 5th Independent Battalions. The 2d Regiment became part of the 1st Brigade of Marines stationed in the Philippines as a ready force to be committed wherever needed in Far Eastern Waters. Following the collapse of the Philippine Insurrection, the 2d was given an additional mission of helping carry out United States Navy responsibilities for the military government of Cavite Peninsula and the Subic Bay area. The Marines of the regiment established garrisons and outposts and continually patrolled their assigned areas to round up the remaining insurgents and to maintain law and order. In order to execute the regiment's military government responsibilities, officers were appointed to varied special duties such as captains of the ports, district commanders, inspectors of customs, internal revenue collectors, and provost judges and marshals. As the political situation in the Philippines returned to normalcy, drill, practice marches, and general field training. were emphasized to a greater degree. In January of 1914, the regiment reassigned most of its units to ships and other stations of the Far East. With the transfer of the Field and Staff (Headquarters) to the Provisional Regiment, Guam, on the 20 January, the 2d Regiment was formally disbanded.
At the same time a "2d Regiment" served in the Far East, the 2d Regiment, 1st Provisional Brigade consisting of a Field and Staff, and Companies A, B, C, F was organized at League Island, Pennsylvania on 26 December 1903. The regiment embarked and sailed this same date to Panama arriving there on 3 January 1904. The primary mission of this force in Panama was the enforcement of provisions of the Hay-Herran Treaty made with Panama on 18 November 1903 which provided for the construction of a cross-isthmus canal.
A revolution broke out in Cuba in late 1906, and a Marine expeditionary force was dispatched to the island to establish and maintain law and order. As part of this force, the 4th Expeditionary Battalion was formed at League Island, Pennsylvania, on 27 September 1906. The battalion sailed for Cuba, arriving at Camp Columbia on 8 October. Here, it was reorganized and redesignated 2d Regiment, 1st Expeditionary Brigade. Order was soon restored, and upon the arrival of United States Army troops as occupation forces on 31 October, the 2d Regiment was disbanded.
The final one of these temporary "2d Regiment" organizations to be formed was designated as the 2d Regiment, 2d Provisional Brigade on 19 February 1913 at Philadelphia. The regiment was originally intended for duty in Mexico as part of an expeditionary brigade. Instead, it was sent to Guantanamo Bay and held in readiness for emergency duties, while undergoing intensive training. On 1 May, this unit was redesignated 2d Regiment, Expeditionary Force, USMC.
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