8th Marine Regiment
150 Marines from 8th Marine Regiment, based in Camp Lejeune NC, arrived in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince the evening of 29 February 2004.
The 8th Marine Regiment was formed on 9 October, 1917, at Quantico, Virginia during the build up for World War I. While training for war, the command was transferred to Fort Crockett, Texas to guard the nearby Mexican oil fields. The Regiment was joined there by the 9th Marines to form the 3d Marine Brigade; the first Advance Base Force of World War I. As such, the Marines were held in reserve to establish and defend naval bases in the Atlantic or the West Indies, if required. The 8th Marines was deactivated at Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1919.
A year later, the Regiment was reactivated for service in Haiti where Marines had been fighting the Cacos bandits since 1914. Through systematic patrolling which culminated in a number of brief, sharp clashes, the 8th Marines eliminated Haitian banditry that had lasted more than a hundred years. With its mission accomplished, the 8th Marines was deactivated again in 1925.
In 1940 the Regiment was formed once more, in San Diego, California. It was a well-trained unit by the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor and became the first Marine Regiment to deploy into the Pacific waters to Samoa. After ten months of jungle training, while defending the Samoan Islands, the Regiment sailed to reinforce the engaged 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal. While there, the 8th Marines won its first Presidential Unit Citation.
A second test was not long in coming. Joining the 2d Marine Division in New Zealand, the 8th Marines spent several months refitting for operation GALVANIC, the amphibious assault on Tarawa. In 76 hours of some of the bloodiest fighting in American history, the Marines seized that island and opened the door to the Japanese Empire. The lessons of Tarawa were to influence the conduct of amphibious operations for the rest of the war. For its gallant performance, the 8th Marine Regiment received its second Presidential Unit Citation.
After refitting in Hawaii, the 8th Marines sailed for the Marianas, to storm the beaches of Saipan and Tinian, capturing key bases for the air war against Japan. Reinforced with artillery, the Regiment later joined the 1st and 6th Divisions in the battle for Okinawa.
After a year of occupation duty in Japan, the 8th Marine Regiment left the Far East for Camp Lejeune. For the past four decades it has provided landing forces for the 2d and 6th fleets in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Caribbean. A demanding tempo of training and deployments has been interrupted by service in Lebanon, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. In 1980, the 8th Marines provided security forces for the Haitian/Cuban Refugee operation.
Marines from the Regimental attracted worldwide attention in August 1982 when the 2d Battalion, 8th Marines landed in Beirut, Lebanon, to ensure the safe evacuation of the Palestine Liberation Organization. In September of that year, the 8th Marines suffered a devastating loss from a terrorist attack on the BLT headquarters.
Almost simultaneously 2d Battalion, 8th Marines participated in Operation URGENT FURY, the successful liberation of the Island of Grenada and the rescue of American students. Immediately after departing Grenada, 2d Battalion, 8th Marines races to join the Multi-National Peacekeeping Force in Beirut, Lebanon ending their duties as part of the Multi-National Peacekeeping Force and resuming their commitment as the Landing Force Sixth Fleet (LF6F) Battalion Landing Team.
In August 1990, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines participated in Operation SHARP EDGE in Liberia to protect American lives during that country's civil war. 3d Battalion, 8th Marines then relieved 2d Battalion, 4th Marines and successfully concluded SHARP EDGE in January 1991.
From December 1990 to April 1991 the 8th Marines participated in Operation DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. 2d Battalion, 8th Marines participated in Operation PROVIDE COMFORT in northern Iraq from April to July 1991 and 3d Battalion, 8th Marines participated during July 1991. During December 1991, 2d Battalion, 8th Marines deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during Operation TAKE CHARGE to assist in controlling masses of Haitian refugees. From September 1991 to March 1992, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines participated in the continuation of Operation Desert Storm in the Arabian Gulf.
During 1994 and 1996 elements of the Regiment participated in refugee control operations in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and embassy protection operations in Monrovia, Liberia and in Bangui, Central African Republic.
From June to July of 1999 3d Battalion, 8th Marines participated in operation JOINT GUARDIAN in Kosovo. A year later elements of 8th Marines were called on again for Operation EASTERN ACCESS, April 2000 to May 2000, on the island of Vieques located near Puerto Rico.
The 8th Marine Regimental Headquarters was re-established during a ceremony at Camp LeJeune Oct. 9, 2003 after standing down from supporting the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism) (the unit was officially established on October 1, 2003).
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