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3rd Battalion, 4th Marines
"Thundering Third"

Third Battalion Fourth Marines is garrisoned on board the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at 29 Palms, CA.

Third Battalion, Fourth Marines has a long and proud heritage. The Battalion was activated on 1 October, 1925 at the U.S. Naval Operation Base, San Diego, California. It was deactivated 6 July 1926.

Reactivated on 10 January 1927, the Battalion departed the continental United States for assigned duties in garrison at the International Settlement in Shanghai, China: earning the legacy of "China Marines." The Fourth Marine Regiment was officially redesignated the "Fourth Marines" on 13 February, 1930. On the same date, letter designations replaced the numerical designations of the companies. In Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, the 19th Company became Company "I", the 21st Company became Company "K", the 22d Company became Company "L", and the 24th Company became Company "M".

In 1941, with war clouds on the horizon, the Battalion was assigned to the Phillipine Islands to help fortify defenses. Activated 1 May 1941 at Cavite, Philippine Islands as First Separate Marine Battalion, Navy Yard, Cavite. Relocated during December 1941 to Corregidor, Philippine Islands. Redesignated 1 January 1942 to the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, Corregidor, Philippine Island. At Corregidor, the Battalion fought corageously against overwhelming attacking Japanese forces. The order to surrender was given by the Army Command under General Wainwright in May, 1942. The Battalion Colors were ordered burned. The men tell how they cut pieces from the colors and distributed these among them. They secreted these portions with them through the Bataan March and years in a Japanese prison camp at Formosa, Phillipines. Captured by enemy forces on 6 May 1942, Fourth Marines temporarily ceased to exist.

The Fourth Marines ceased to exist on the rolls, and was deactivated on 18 June, 1942. On 01 February, 1944, the Marine Raiders were disbanded, and the First Raider Regiment became the Fourth Marines. The Third Raider Regiment became the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, and participated in assaults on the islands of Emerau, Guam and Okinawa as part of the Sixth Marine Division. The newly formed Battalion, with Second Battalion, Fourth Marines, became the first American occupation forces on the Japanese mainland. The Battalion landed and secured Yokosuka Naval Base without resistance. They freed the many Allied Forces prisoners of war interred at Yokosuka and Yokohama.

One hundred and twenty of those freed were Marines of the Battalion captured on Corregidor. A moving, memorable testimony of tradition took place when these freed Marines reviewed a parade in their honor. Reports say the men gathered the pieces from the Battalion Colors they had cut up on Corregidor, and successfully hidden from their captors. They presented these to the new Battalion to show their belief that the colors had not been surrendered.

Occupational duties ended in December, 1945, and the Battalion was reassigned to duty in China. There, the Battalion was deactivated on 1 October, 1947.

Fourth Marines redeployed during August 1945 to Yokosuka, Japan. Fourth Marines reassigned during November 1945 to Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Deactivated 15 February 1946. Fourth Marines reactivated 8 March at Tsingtao, China and assigned to the Sixth Marine Division. Participated in the occupation of North China, March 1946 - October 1947. Fourth Marines reassigned during April 1946 to the Third Brigade. Fourth Marines reassigned during June 1946 to the First Marine Division. Deactivated 1 October 1947.

During the Korean war, on 28 November, 1952, the Battalion was reactivated at Camp Pendleton and assigned to the Third Marine Division. On 23 August, 1953, they landed in Kobe, Japan and were later assigned to Korea. The Battalion did not engage enemy forces in combat, but guarded Chinese prisoners of war who refused repatriation. Participated during January-February 1954 in exchange of prisoners of war at Inchon, South Korea. When the Korean war concluded, the Battalion was downsized and reassigned to the Brigade at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Reactivated 28 November 1952 at Camp Pendleton, California. Relocated during February 1955 to Kaneohe Bay, territory of Hawaii and assigned to the First Provisional Marine Air-Ground Task Force. First Provisional Marine Air-Ground Task Force redesignated during May 1956 to the First Marine Brigade.

Third Battalion, Fourth Marines was returned to full combat strength on 1 June, 1961. They deployed to Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam in 1965, and were assigned to the Quang Tri province of I Corps and assigned to the Third Marine Division. The Battalion distinguished itself in Operations Hasting to Scotland II. Deployed during April 1965 to the Republic of Vietnam and Redeployed during December 1965 - March 1966 to Camp Schwab, Okinawa. Participated in the war in Vietnam, April - December 1965 and March 1966 - November 1969, operating from: Hue/Phu Bai; Quang Tri; and Khe Sanh. Redeployed during November 1969 to Camp Hansen, Okinawa.

The Battalion returned to the continental United States for the first time in 56 years in June, 1983, and was assigned to the Sixth Marine Regiment of the Second Marine Division. It became the first Marine Corps Battalion size unit to be designated Special Operations Capable, as the ground combat element of the Twenty Sixth Marine Amphibious unit for Mediterranean deployment in November, 1983.

Deployed during January 1984 to Camp Schwab, Okinawa. Deployed during November 1985 to the Mediterranean with the 26th Marine Amphibious Unit (Special Operations Capable). Deployed during July 1987 to the Republic of Korea and participated in BEAR HUNT 88. Deployed during January 1988 to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Deployed to Puerto Rico during April 1988 for participation in OCEAN VENTURE 88. Reinforced rifle companied deployed to augment security forces in the Republic of Panama, April - September 1988. Deactivated during ceremonies at 1300, 30 September 1988 at Camp Geiger, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The Third Battalion, Fourth Marines was reactivated at Camp Pendleton on 12 August, 1994 when Third Battalion, Ninth Marines was deactivated. The Battalion was assigned as the fourth Battalion for the Seventh Marine Regiment, First Marine Division.

Reactivated at ceremonies at 0900, 12 August 1994 at Camp Margarita, Camp Pendleton, California as the Fourth Battalion for Seventh Marine Regiment, First Marine Division. Deployed during August 1995 to Camp Schwab, Okinawa. Deployed during February 1996 to Camp Margarita, Camp Pendleton, California. The Battalion relocated to the Marine Corps Air Ground Task Force Training Command during May of 1998. In February of 1999, the Battalion completed the Winter Mountain Warfare Training package at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Ca.

The Battalion participated in the Unit Deployment Program in August, 1999, deploying to Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan. While deployed, they participated in exercises in Australia and mainland Japan, returning to Twentynine Palms, California in February, 2000.

In May 2000 the Battalion participated in Amphibious Orientation Training in San Diego, California aboard the USS Commstock. The following July, the Battalion again deployed to the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Ca to participate in the Summer Mountain Warfare Training Package. October, 2000, found India Company, reinforced, at the former George Air Force Base in Victorville, California to conduct training in Military Operations in Urban Terrain or Project Metropolis.

The entire Battalion deployed for Project Metropolis II during January 2001, returning to the MCAGTFTC in February. The following March, the Battalion again embarked aboard Naval Vessels, participating in Exercise Kernel Blitz at Camp Pendleton, California. In May, 2001, the Battalion participated in Combined Armed Exercise (CAX) 06-01. During August, 2001, the Battalion deployed to Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan as part of the Unit Deployment Program (UDP). While deployed, they participated in exercises in Australia, Guam and South Korea, returning to Twertynine Palms, California in February 2002.

In December of 2002, Third Battalion, Fourth Marines received word to prepare for deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. By the end of January all the Battalion's Marines and Sailors were in place and married up with Maritime Prepositioned Assets. An Artillery Liaison Section from Lima Battery 3/11; Bravo Company, 1st Tanks; Alpha Company, 3d Tracks and 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Engineer Battalion were attached -- TASK FORCE 34, also known as DARKSIDE was created. The unit crossed the border into Iraq on 21 March 2003 as part of the 7th Regimental Combat Team. After 72 hours of heavy fighting, nothing remained of the 51st Iraqi Mechanized Division and the Task Force owned Basra International Airport and important bridges across the Shat al Basra Canal. 500 miles later, after decisive engagements at places like Afak, Diwaniyah, and Al Kut, the battalion conducted an assault crossing of the Diyallah Canal into Baghdad. Two days later, elements of Task Force 34 pulled down the Saddam Statue outside the Palestine Hotel, ending, for all intents, the Saddam Hussein reign of terror. After stabilization operations and retrograde of equipment, the Thundering Third returned to Twentynine Palms California in May of 2003.

Formerly attached to the 1st Marines, the Battalion is currently attached to the 7th Marines.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:18:08 ZULU