1st Battalion, 1st Marines

1st Battalion 1st Marines (1/1) is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps based out of Camp Pendleton, California, consisting of anywhere from 800 to 2,000 Marines and Sailors, but the number fluctuates depending on the Battalion's mission. They fall under the command of the 1st Marine Regiment and the 1st Marine Division.

1st Battalion 1st Marines
USMC - 1st Battalion 1st Marines
1/1 Insignia
ActiveJuly 10, 1930 – October 31, 1947
August 9, 1950 – May 28, 1974
October 15, 1975 – present
CountryUnited States of America
BranchUnited States Marine Corps
TypeBattalion landing team
RoleLocate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver
Part of1st Marine Regiment
1st Marine Division
Garrison/HQMarine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Nickname(s)"First of the First"
Motto(s)"Ready to Fight"
"Right Of Line.First Of Foot"
EngagementsWorld War II
*Guadalcanal Campaign
*Battle of Cape Gloucester
*Battle of Peleliu
*Battle of Okinawa
Korean War
*Battle of Inchon
*Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Vietnam War
*Operation Union
*Battle of Hue
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
*2003 invasion of Iraq
*Operation Phantom Fury
Lieutenant Colonel Daniel W. Micklis
Leonard B. Cresswell
Austin C. Shofner


1/1 is a battalion-level infantry unit composed of infantry Marines and support personnel.

The battalion has been organized around fire and maneuver warfare in tropical, woodland, desert, or Arctic environments. From at least 1989, the units were organized as such:

  • Company A” Red Death” (Helicopter company) -trained for insertion by (V-22 Osprey)
  • Company B “Raiders” (Boat company) - trained for insertion by boats (zodiacs). Also complemented with mountain warfare and various swimming specialties (CWSS, scout swimmer, etc.)
  • Company C” Chosen” (AAV company) - trained for insertion by Assault Amphibious Vehicle.
  • Weapons company "Whiskey" - usually split into 3 infantry platoons, each vehicle-borne through a variation of the Humvee.
  • Headquarters and Service Company - The largest company, H&S includes the Battalion Commander and the Sergeant Major. It is organized as such:
    • S-1 (personnel)
    • S-2 (intelligence)
    • S-3 (operations)
    • S-4 (supply and logistics)
    • S-6 (communications)
    • BAS (Battalion Aid Station staffed by U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsmen)


Since 2003, after the fall of Saddam Hussein's government, the strategic operations[1] in the Middle East (Iraq, Afghanistan) have encompassed more than just a single objective. For Marine Corps units operating on a tactical level (relative to the Department of Defense) such as a battalion landing team, the actual execution of its traditional mission-oriented operations have adapted depending on the unit's objective (capturing high-value targets, providing stability and support operations, training local police and military units, and a three block war). Some of these operations have demanded reconfiguring the battalion's organization in order to conduct missions which are not included in traditional maneuver warfare (such as fire-team rushing, and anti-armor tactics).

Military transition teams

Military transition teams (MiT teams) have been used to provide assistance for the transition of power from the coalition forces to the local police and army in Iraq. While these MiT teams would draw personnel from other companies, Marines for other part of the division would often rotate into the battalion for a deployment in order to supplement the various companies' rosters.

Infantry company reorganization

In addition, the various companies were redrawn in order to reflect their new duties. Normal training was complemented with responsibilities befitting an urban environment:

  • Rifle companies (A, B, and C) focused less on fire team rushing and more on variations of it within an urban environment (accounting for the 360 degree fields of fire of the enemy and the possibilities of improvised explosive devices).
  • The mortar platoon of the Weapons company (usually resigned to the rear of the fighting line in linear warfare in order to set up and deliver indirect mortar projectiles) has experimented with various vehicle of mortarmen as riflemen.
  • Weapons company utilized Mobile Assault Platoons [1][2] to provide quick reaction and mobility in urban missions.

1/1 in a MEU (SOC)

When trained as a battalion landing team, the battalion can attach to a Marine Expeditionary Unit and become the ground combat element. This designation gives the battalion a much broader role in its employment with the Navy, including non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO), humanitarian assistance operations (HAO), and ship-to-shore deployment (via air and sea).


First Marine Battalion (United States) landed on eastern side of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on 10 June 1898
1st Marine Battalion raising the United States flag at the Battle of Guantánamo Bay on June 10, 1898.

World War II

US Flag raised over Shuri castle on Okinawa
Lt Col Richard P. Ross, commander of 1st Battalion, 1st Marines braves sniper fire to place the division's colors on a parapet of Shuri Castle on May 30, 1945. This flag was first raised over Cape Gloucester and then Peleliu.

1st Battalion 1st Marines was activated on March 1, 1941, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A month later they redeployed to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, but were quickly deactivated on June 18, 1941.

1/1 was reactivated on February 7, 1942, at New River, North Carolina. After a few months of training they were deployed to Wellington, New Zealand in July 1942. During the War in the Pacific the battalion fought in the following campaigns:

Following the end of the war 1/1 returned to MCB Camp Pendleton in September 1945 and were deactivated on October 31, 1947.

Korean War

Following the outbreak of the Korean War, 1/1 was reactivated at MCB Camp Pendleton on August 9, 1950. Later that month they deployed to Kobe, Japan and from there took part in the amphibious landing during the Battle of Inchon. In October, the Marines were withdrawn from the Seoul area and moved to the east coast of Korea landing at Wosnan in late October. From there 1st Battalion 1st Marines participated in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. They pushed as far north as Koto-ri, spending much of the battle defending their perimeter in this vicinity.

The battalion spent much of the remainder of the war defending the thirty-eighth parallel.[2] All told, it fought in the Korean War from September 1950 through July 1953.

Following the war, the battalion participated in the defense of the Korean Demilitarized Zone from July 1953 to April 1955.

Vietnam War

1/1 deployed to Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam in August 1965, under the command of LtCol Redford Sears, and were reassigned to the 3rd Marine Division. They remained in Vietnam until May 1971, serving in or around Da Nang, Đông Hà, Con Thien, Quảng Trị, Huế, Phu Bai and Khe Sanh. They returned to Camp Pendleton, California, in May 1971. They were again deactivated on May 28, 1974, but quickly reinstated on October 15, 1975.

Persian Gulf War and the 1990s

The 1st Battalion, 1st Marines deployed from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in December 1990 to Saudi Arabia in part of a call to defend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in Operation Desert Shield. In the coming months, Regimental Combat Team 1 became Task Force Papa Bear, along with Companies Bravo and Charlie of the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion; 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines; 1st Tank Battalion; 1st Combat Engineer Battalion and 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion.[3] After the start of Operation Desert Storm in February 1991, the Mechanized Battalion saw considerable combat as it crossed into Kuwait and fought a pitched armored battle at Al Burquan, and consolidated at Kuwait International Airport on February 27, 1991. After completing a search of a downed OV-10 reconnaissance aircraft on March 10, the battalion backloaded on April 24 to Camp Pendleton.

Global War on Terror

On September 11, 2001, the Marines of 1/1 were deployed on a WestPac (a deployment in an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) making rounds in the Western Pacific) as part of the 15th MEU.[4] Specifically, they were in Darwin, Australia on port leave. The Marines were recalled early from leave, shipped out, and began preparing for the first major combat operations since the first Gulf War. The flotilla sped to the Persian Gulf and was the first MEU to land in Afghanistan. Later, the 26th MEU would join them and assist in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Afghanistan Invasion

Among 1/1's missions in Afghanistan was to assist in securing an airstrip outside Kandahar, Afghanistan and establish Camp Rhino. The Marine battalion performed security operations around the area in support of the Northern Alliance's removal of the Taliban from power. The battalion also performed operations in Northern Pakistan.[5] The Marines returned to the United States in early March 2002.

U.S. Marines humping in Afghanistan, November 2001
Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) during the early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001.

1/1 also deployed to Afghanistan in July 2012 until December 8 in which they operated throughout Helmand Province. Following the attack on Camp Leather Neck they were extend until December 8, 2012, when they returned to Camp Pendleton.

Operation Iraqi Freedom

The unit deployed in support of OIF I, assisted the local police and performed security operations in southern Iraq, mainly Um Qasar and Basra, co-located with British units there.[6] After 2 weeks, the unit left the country, finished their West-PAC deployment and returned to Camp Pendleton.

Later, as part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit on the first Naval Expeditionary Strike Group-1 (ESG 1), they deployed in early 2005 to the western Pacific. During this deployment, they provided aid for the tsunami that hit Indonesia and Sri Lanka. After 3 weeks of assistance, the MEU headed for the Persian Gulf. There, they provided safety and security operations in Babil province south of Baghdad. Their forward operating base was Camp Falcon near Al-Mahmoudiyah and they spent 1 month there. The combat units performed continuous foot and vehicle patrols in the area, finding weapons caches and unearthing IEDs. One Marine was wounded in action during this deployment.

1/1 handed off the territory to 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3ACR), which, after staying for many months, endured much less violence and conflict. A PBS documentary on the unit, Warriors, by Ed Robbins, documents this unit's deployment.[7]

The unit returned to Camp Pendleton in mid-2005 and prepared again to deploy in 6 months. They departed Camp Pendleton beginning on January 21, 2006. They were operating in Fallujah but in March, C Company along with MAP 3 Wpns Company began operations in the area around Abu Ghraib prison which is located about 20 miles (32 km) west of Baghdad.[8][9][10] After two and a half months, Charlie Company returned to the Camp Fallujah area and the entire battalion was re-united in Karmah. C Company later moved to Saqlawiyah to replace 1st Battalion, 25th Marines. The battalion completed their deployment and returned to Camp Pendleton in mid-August 2006. 1/1 suffered 17 KIA'S on this deployment and more than 50 wounded.

1/1 deployed back to Al Anbar Province in mid-July 2007 to areas around Habbaniyah, Iraq.[11] They were relieved by 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines on 6 February 2008.[12]

Operation Enduring Freedom; Return to Afghanistan

In June 2012, after 11 years, 1/1 returned to Afghanistan to operate in Helmand Province as part of Regimental Combat Team 6 as part of the counter insurgency effort operating around the town of Agha Ahmad, Khanashin, Kajaki, and the Nawa district and around Camp Leatherneck.[13][14][15]

Notable former members

Unit awards

A unit citation or commendation is an award bestowed upon an organization for the action cited. Members of the unit who participated in said actions are allowed to wear on their uniforms the awarded citation. 1/1 has been presented with the following awards:

Ribbon Unit Award & Campaign Streamers
Silver star
Silver star
United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation ribbon
Presidential Unit Citation with two Silver Stars
Bronze star
U.S. Navy Unit Commendation ribbon
Navy Unit Commendation with one Bronze Star
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon Meritorious Unit Commendation
Bronze star
World War I Victory Medal ribbon
World War I Victory Medal with one Bronze Star
Bronze star
American Defense Service Medal ribbon
American Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Star
Bronze star
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal ribbon
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one Bronze Star
World War II Victory Medal ribbon World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation ribbon Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia clasp
China Service Medal ribbon China Service Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal ribbon
National Defense Service Medal with three Bronze Stars
Silver star
Silver star
Korean Service Medal ribbon
Korean Service Medal with two Silver Stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal ribbon Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Silver star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal ribbon
Vietnam Service Medal with two Silver Stars and three Bronze Stars
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal ribbon
Southwest Asia Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal ribbon Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Afghanistan Campaign Medal ribbon
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Iraq Campaign Medal ribbon
Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal ribbon Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Presidential Unit Citation (Korea) Korean Presidential unit Citation
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer
VNCivilActionsRibbon-2 Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Action Medal

See also


  1. ^ Warfare. 1997. pp. 28–29.
  2. ^ Martin Russ, The Last Parallel, p. 54.
  3. ^ "Summary of Action for Operation Desert Storm 24–27 February 1991". United States Marine Corps Declassified Documents. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  4. ^ "Global War on Terrorism Chronology, 2001-2005". Campaign Chronologies of the United States Marine Corps. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on February 19, 2007. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  5. ^ "History of the 15th MEU". 15th MEU. Archived from the original on 12 August 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
  6. ^ Public Affairs, Expeditionary Strike Group 1 (October 28, 2003). "13th MEU Provides Assistance in Southern Iraq". Navy Newsstand. Republished by GlobalSecurity.org. Story Number: NNS031028-13. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
  7. ^ ""What is it really like to be a soldier in Iraq?" in Warriors". America at a Crossroads. PBS. 2005. Archived from the original on 25 June 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
  8. ^ Skelton, Cpl. William (1st Marine Division) (March 25, 2006). "Marines patrol Army territory near Abu Ghraib". Marine Corps Times. Story ID#: 20063291594. Archived from the original on 1 April 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2006.
  9. ^ Skelton, Cpl. William (1st Marine Division) (April 20, 2006). "Marines in Iraq thwart insurgency". Marine Corps Times. Story ID#: 200642661121. Archived from the original on 1 May 2006. Retrieved 26 April 2006.
  10. ^ Skelton, Cpl. William (1st Marine Division) (May 5, 2006). "Marines, Iraqi police patrol Khandari". Marine Corps Times. Story ID#: 2006595250. Archived from the original on 9 May 2006. Retrieved 10 May 2006.
  11. ^ Muhlenberg, Cpl. Bryce (Regimental Combat Team 6) (2006-12-12). "1/1 Weapons Marines flip COIN on insurgents". Marine Corps News. Story ID#: 200712128739. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
  12. ^ Murphy, Pfc. Jerry, 1st Marine Division (2008-02-06). "Marines from the Heartland storm into Iraq, relieving 1/1". Marine Corps News. Archived from the original on 15 August 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
  13. ^ Ward Jr., Cpl. Anthony (24 August 2012). "'Sailor of the Sands' provides care in Afghanistan". I Marine Expeditionary Force. Archived from the original on 2014-08-13.
  14. ^ Lamothe, Dan (24 August 2012). "Current phase of Marine drawdown in Afghanistan nears completion". Battle Rattle. Archived from the original on 2014-08-13.
  15. ^ "Night Patrol". Retrieved 16 October 2016 – via time.com.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  • Warfare (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Headquarters Marine Corps, United States Marine Corps. June 20, 1997. Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1 (MCDP-1). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-11-22. Retrieved 2007-12-25. This publication, Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1, supersedes Fleet Marine Force Manual 1. Available online from the Joint Electronic Library, Defense Technical Information Center, U.S. Department of Defense.
Alfredo Cantu Gonzalez

Alfredo Cantu "Freddy" Gonzalez (May 23, 1946 – February 4, 1968) was a United States Marine Corps sergeant who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for service in the Battle of Huế during the Vietnam War.

Andrew B. Drum

Andrew Boggs Drum (4 December 1883 – 22 January 1955) was an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He was born in Winchester, Virginia and moved to Washington, D.C. when he was nine. His father, Andrew B. Drum, Sr., was superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery from 1892 to 1906. He graduated from Western High School in Washington D.C. in 1903 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1905. Prior to joining the Marines, he had served in the National Guard of the District of Columbia.In 1906, he served for a short time with then Major John A. Lejeune aboard the protected cruiser USS Columbia.On 17 May 1910, First Lieutenant Drum began a tour of duty at the Marine Barracks in Annapolis, Maryland.From 1914-1915, Drum was First Lieutenant of Marines aboard the USS South Carolina. While in charge of South Carolina's Marines, he participated in raising the United States flag during the occupation of Veracruz. Sixty-eight years earlier, his grandfather, Captain Simon Drum (West Point Class of 1829), had been present at the flag raising in that city during the Siege of Veracruz.In 1916, Captain Drum was the founding officer of the new 1st Armored Car Squadron, 1st Marine Regiment at Philadelphia. The squadron never saw combat, and was disbanded in 1921.He was promoted to Captain on 22 May 1917 and commanded the 15th Company when it was assigned to the 5th Marine Regiment. His regiment became part of the American Expeditionary Force when the United States deployed forces to fight in World War I. By February 1918, he was Director of the American Anti-Aircraft Artillery school in Langres, France, where he developed unique methods of training anti-aircraft gunners and provided air defense of the area near the school.He was promoted to Major on 4 June 1920.In 1930, Lieutenant Colonel Drum took command of a battalion of 10th Marines. In December 1931, Battery B (the first unit to be equipped with the 75mm pack howitzer was attached to 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, with LtCol Drum as battalion commander. The next month, the battalion deployed aboard the battleships USS Arkansas and USS Wyoming (BB-32) for a 10-week training cruise, participated in military reviews, Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Galveston, transited the Panama Canal and traveled up the west coast to Bremerton, Washington. In 1932 Drum was relieved and returned to his regular command at Marine Corps Base Quantico. In July 1933, after his unit, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, was merged with Service Battery to become Headquarters and Service Battery, he was relieved by Major Fred

S. N. Erskine.From September 1934 to September 1935, LtCol Drum was commander of 6th Marines.He served in World War II, eventually reaching the rank of Colonel, and died on 22 January 1955. He is buried alongside his wife in Arlington National Cemetery.

Donald Schmuck

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John Canley

John L. Canley (born 1 February 1938) is a retired United States Marine and recipient of the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for actions in January/February 1968 during the Battle of Huế. At the time of this action Canley was a Gunnery sergeant with Company A 1st Battalion, 1st Marines. Canley was originally awarded the Navy Cross, but this was upgraded to the Medal of Honor which was presented on 17 October 2018.

Leonard B. Cresswell

Leonard Baker Cresswell (July 18, 1901 – April 25, 1966) was a highly decorated officer of the United States Marine Corps with the rank of Major General. He is most noted for his service as Commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 1st Marines during Guadalcanal Campaign. Cresswell later served as Commanding general of Troop Training Unit, Atlantic Fleet and completed his career as Director of the Staff of the Inter-American Defense Board.

List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (1967)

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List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (1968)

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Louis J. Hauge Jr.

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Nathaniel Fick

Nathaniel C. "Nate" Fick (born June 23, 1977) is an American technology executive, board member, author, and former United States Marine Corps officer. Since 2012 he has been the CEO of Endgame, Inc., a cyber security software company based in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, CA. He is also an Operating Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. He came to public notice for his writing on military life and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fick is the author of One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer, a memoir of his military experience published in 2005 that was a New York Times bestseller, one of the Washington Post's "Best Books of the Year," and one of the Military Times' "Best Military Books of the Decade."

Operation Maui Peak

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Operation Meade River

Operation Meade River was a US Marine Corps cordon and search operation that took place south of Danang, lasting from 20 November to 9 December 1968.

Operation Medina

Operation Medina was a search and destroy operation conducted from 11–20 October 1967 in the Hải Lăng Forest Reserve south of Quảng Trị, South Vietnam.

Operation Osceola

Operation Osceola was a security operation around the Quảng Trị Combat Base, Quảng Trị Province, South Vietnam from 20 October 1967 to 16 February 1968.

Operation Robin

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Operation Union

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USS Hué City

USS Hué City (CG-66) is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser serving in the United States Navy. She was ordered 16 April 1987, and laid down 20 February 1989, at Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi. Hué City was commissioned 14 September 1991. She is named for the Battle of Huế, fought in the city during the Tet Offensive of 1968 by the 1st Marine Regiment (composed of 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines and attached units) during the Vietnam War. The three battalion commanders were the honored guests at her 1991 commissioning.

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William T. Perkins Jr.

William Thomas Perkins Jr. (August 10, 1947 – October 12, 1967) was a United States Marine who posthumously received the United States' highest military decoration for valor — the Medal of Honor — for his heroic action on October 12, 1967 during the Vietnam War in which he smothered an exploding grenade with his body to save the lives of three fellow Marines. Perkins is the only combat photographer to have received the Medal of Honor.

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