4th Marine Division
The mission of the 4th Marine Division is to provide trained combat and combat support personnel and units to augment and reinforce the active component in time of war, national emergency, and at other times as national security requires; and have the capability to reconstitute the Division, if required.
The 4th Marine Division had its roots in the shifting and redesignation of several other units. The 23d Marines began as infantry detached from the 3d Division in February 1943, the same month that an artillery battalion became the genesis of the 14th Marines and engineer elements of the 19th Marines formed the start of the 20th Marines. In March the 24th Marines was organized, and then in May it was split in two to supply the men for the 25th Marines. This war-time shuffling provided the major building blocks for a new division. The units were originally separated, however, with the 24th Marines and a variety of reinforcing units (engineer, artillery, medical, motor transport, special weapons, tanks, etc.) at Camp Pendleton in California. The rest of the units were at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. This East Coast echelon moved to Pendleton by train and also by ship through the Panama Canal in July and August 1943. All the units were now finally together, and thus the 4th Marine Division was formally activated on 14 August 1943.
The 4th Marine Division was the first division of Marines to go directly into combat from the United States. After intensive training, the 4th Marine Division shipped out on 13 January 1944, and in 13 short months made four major assault landings: Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima, suffering over 17,000 casualties. Twelve members of the division received the Congressional Medal of Honor. For its victories on Saipan and Tinian, the Division received the Presidential Unit Citation, and a star was later added to this award for the Division's participation in the assault in Iwo Jima.
After peace was declared, the 4th Marine Division was the first Marine division selected to return to the United States. It was deactivated at Camp Pendleton on 28 November 1945.
The 4th Marine Division was reactivated as the lead division in the Marine Corps Reserve. On 16 February 1966, a headquarters nucleus of the Division was reactivated at Camp Pendleton and its colors were uncased June 23. The Division's headquarters moved to its present location in New Orleans Aug. 3, 1977 to share facilities with the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing at the F. Edward Hebert Defense Complex, a U.S. Navy installation. During operations Desert Shield/Storm, numerous units were mobilized and deployed to the Gulf Region. These units provided combat and combat support which contributed to the victory of allied forces.
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