2nd Battalion, 5th Marines

2nd Battalion 5th Marines (2/5) is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps consisting of approximately 800 Marines and Sailors. They are based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California and fall under the command of the 5th Marine Regiment and the 1st Marine Division. The battalion has seen combat in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War and has deployed many times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the current War on Terror.

2/5 is the most highly decorated battalion in the Marine Corps and their motto, "Retreat, Hell!", comes from the French trenches of World War I, when a Marine officer named Lloyd W. Williams was advised by a French officer to retreat and replied, "Retreat? Hell, we just got here!"

2nd Battalion 5th Marines
2 5 battalion insignia
2/5 insignia
  • July 1, 1914 – August 13, 1919
  • May 17, 1921 – January 5, 1929
  • February 14, 1929 – April 12, 1930
  • September 1, 1934 – present
Country United States
AllegianceUnited States
Branch United States Marine Corps
TypeInfantry battalion
RoleConducts expeditionary, combined-arms, and mechanized operations in order to support theater engagement plans and contingency operations
Part of5th Marine Regiment
1st Marine Division
Garrison/HQMarine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Motto(s)"Retreat, Hell"
EngagementsWorld War I

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

Operation Desert Storm
War on Terror

Lt.Col Isaac Moore

Subordinate units


Early history

2nd Battalion 5th Marines was formed on July 1, 1914, and immediately sailed to the Caribbean to quell political turmoil in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. In June 1917, as part of the United States' entry into World War I, the battalion sailed for France with the rest of the 5th Marine Regiment and the American Expeditionary Force. At the time the battalion was composed of four companies; the 18th, 43rd, 51st and 55th.[1] They fought during the Battle of Belleau Wood, Soissons, and the Meuse-Argonne campaign and were twice awarded the French Croix de guerre with Palm. To this day, members of the Battalion wear the French Fourragère representing this award. Following the armistice of 1918, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines was assigned to occupation duties in Germany until their return to Quantico, Virginia, in August 1919.

Interwar years

Beginning in 1920, the Battalion began guarding US Mail trains throughout the United States. In 1927, the Battalion was sent to Nicaragua to fight bandits and to supervise the 1928 Nicaraguan national elections.

World War II

In 1941, the battalion joined the newly formed 1st Marine Division at New River, North Carolina, but later relocated to the west coast of the United States. During World War II the battalion fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal, Battle of Cape Gloucester, Battle of Peleliu, and the Battle of Okinawa. Following the Japanese surrender, the battalion was assigned to occupation duty in Northern China until 1947, at which time they returned to the United States.

Korean War

Immediately following the 1950 North Korean invasion of South Korea, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines sailed from Camp Pendleton, California, to defend the Pusan Perimeter as a part of the famous "Fire Brigade". The Battalion also participated in the landing at Inchon, the liberation of Seoul, the Chosin Reservoir Campaign, and the defense of the East, Central, and Western Fronts before the war was over. From July 1953 to February 1955, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines assisted in the defense of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, after which they again returned to Camp Pendleton.

PFC D. A. Crum of H/2/5 is treated for wounds during operations in Hue City.

Vietnam War

In April 1966, the Battalion deployed to the Republic of Vietnam and served there until 1971. During this time, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines participated in combat operations at Huế, Quế Sơn, Phu Bai, Đông Hà and Phú Lộc. Immediately after their return to Camp Pendleton in 1971, the Battalion joined Operation New Arrivals, the relocation of Southeast Asian refugees to the United States.

1980s and 1990s

For the next fifteen years, the battalion deployed regularly as part of the Marine Corps' Unit Deployment Program. In December 1990, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines sailed for the Persian Gulf in support of Operations Desert Shield / Desert Storm. They were staged in Saudi Arabia and participated in the liberation of Kuwait. During the return transit to the United States, the battalion was diverted to Bangladesh where it provided humanitarian relief as part of Operation Sea Angel.

In 1994, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines deployed as the ground combat element of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and participated in Operation Distant Runner, the Non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) of Rwanda and Operation Restore Hope and Operation Quick Draw in Somalia. In 1995, the battalion began regular deployments to Okinawa for service as the Battalion Landing Team for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and participated in several operations in East Timor.

War on Terror

Marines in iraq
A Marine of F/2/5 stands watch in Ramadi, Iraq in February 2005

On February 2, 2003, 2/5 left MCB Camp Pendleton for Kuwait where they staged prior to the beginning of the war in Iraq. On March 20, 2003, at approximately 2:30 am local time 2/5, as an element of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, commenced operations in Iraq with the start of the Battle of Al Faw. For this operation they were attached with Royal Marines from the 3 Commando Brigade crossing into Iraq the first night of the invasion. The initial objective was to secure to Rumalia Oilfields. Upon completing the seizure of this objective, 2/5 attacked north and got as far as Samarra before the end of the initial combat phase of the Iraq War. They then conducted security and stabilization operations (SASO) in Samawah, Iraq. Relieved by the 1st bn of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps (who were soon augmented by Japanese forces acting in a strictly non-combat role), 2/5 returned to Camp Pendelton in August.

In September 2004 2/5 returned to Iraq where it was stationed in Ramadi, a hotbed of insurgent activity 30 miles (48 km) west of Fallujah and 60 miles (97 km) west of Baghdad. During this deployment 2/5 lost 15 Marines killed in action, 10 from Weapons Company. Elements from 2/5 began returning to Camp Pendleton on Easter, 2005.

From December 2005 to July 2006, 2/5 was deployed to Okinawa as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. They participated in several humanitarian operations on Jolo Island and landslide recovery in Southern Leyte in the Philippines.

In March 2007, 2/5 was deployed to Iraq for the third time, stationed again in Ramadi. While deployed to Ramadi, Golf Company was unexpectedly tasked with operations in the city of Karmah.

In September 2009, 2/5 deployed as a Battalion Landing Team (BLT) as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). BLT 2/5 relieved their sister battalion BLT 3rd battalion 5th Marines. The MEU deployed for its fall patrol in a small deck ARG configuration aboard the USS Denver, USS Tortuga and USS Harpers Ferry. The MEU had started its Certification Exercise (CERTEX) when it was redirected to the scene of several natural disasters in the Republic of the Philippines and Indonesia. With the relief effort complete, the MEU transitioned to PHIBLEX and conducted bilateral training with the Philippine Armed Forces. Additionally, the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF) and Co. G, BLT 2/5 conducted Exercise Forest Light 2010 at Sekiyama, Japan. The two nations conducted live fire ranges including mortars, Combat Marksmanship Program (CMP), machinegun ranges and helicopter-borne operations. 2/5 returned to Camp Pendleton in April 2010.

In January 2011, 2/5 was again designated as a Battalion Landing Team (BLT) as part of the 31st MEU. 2/5 relieved BLT 1/7. 2/5 conducted bilateral training with the Thai Marines, and Cambodian Self Defense Forces. Following a brief port visit in Malaysia a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck northern Japan in vicinity of the city of Sendai. 2/5 was immediately recalled and directed to support Operation Tomadachi, the American Humanitarian and Disaster relief (HADR) efforts following the natural disaster. Most notably Golf Co 2/5 conducted operations ashore on Oshima Island, a small island off of the western coast of Japan in the Miyagi Prefecture. They were tasked with facilitating the reopening of Uranohama Port, the main life line to the Japanese mainland. BLT 2/5 was relieved by BLT 2/7 and returned to Camp Pendleton in June 2011.

In February 2012, 2/5 deployed for the first time to Helmand province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. 2/5 was a part of Regimental Combat Team 6 (RCT-6) and served as the ground combat element of Regional Command Southwest. The Marines serving with the battalion worked in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces, helping the Afghan army and police provide security services to the Afghan people and smothering insurgent activity. The battalion was assigned to cover Now Zad and Musa Qala districts in northern Helmand province, and all cities and villages that lied in between. During the deployment, the battalion executed a 17-day operation in a village that was a Taliban stronghold between Now Zad and Musa Qala, dubbed Operation Branding Iron. Tragically during the deployment, the battalion lost four Marines to combat action: Sgt. Wade Wilson, who was awarded the Silver Star, Cpl. Anthony Servin, Cpl. Alex Martinez, and Lance Cpl. Joshua Witsman. The battalion returned to Camp Pendleton in September 2012.[2]

National Geographic Channel Documentary

During Operation Branding Iron, camera crews from the National Geographic Channel were imbedded with 2/5, documenting the battalion's actions during that operation, which they conducted while other USMC units were in the process of withdrawing from the theater of operations. The film, entitled Battleground Afghanistan, is a 5 episode documentary that chronicled the role of Golf company, 2nd battalion, 5th Marines. The five episodes chronicle the company's actions preparing for and conducting Operation Branding Iron, the subsequent events, daily life in camp, their preparations to go home at the end of their deployment, and finally their return to the US. The documentary includes one-on-one on camera interviews with Golf company's commander, Capt. Ben Middendorf, as well as numerous other Marines in Golf company. (Capt. Middendorf was awarded that year's, 2012, prestigious LtCol William G. Leftwich, Jr. Trophy for Outstanding Leadership for his actions while deployed with Golf Co., 2d Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. This award if given to the “best captain” in the Marine Corps to have participated in infantry combat.[3][4] ) During their 17-day operation shown in the documentary, and during their last short mission right at the end of the documentary before they prepare to head home, Golf company did not lose a single Marine. As of 2014, the entire documentary is available for streaming on Netflix.[5][6]

Medal of Honor recipients

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

  • Captain James A. Graham, a member of Company F, 2/5, was killed in action in Vietnam during Operation Union II. For his heroic actions on June 2, 1967, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.[8]
  • On July 4, 1967, PFC Melvin E. Newlin single-handedly broke up and disorganized an entire enemy assault force. In the course of his actions, he was mortally wounded. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.[9]
  • Staff Sergeant Allan J. Kellogg, platoon sergeant for Company G, 2/5, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on March 11, 1970, in Quang Nam province, Republic of Vietnam.[10]

Notable former members

In popular culture

See also


  1. ^ Henry, Mark R. (1999). US Marine Corps in World War I, 1917 – 1918. Pg.6: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-852-6.
  2. ^ Lance Cpl. Joseph Scanlan (September 19, 2012). "Most decorated infantry battalion returns from Afghanistan". Marine Corps. Archived from the original on September 24, 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  3. ^ "Maj Benjamin Middendorf Honored With Prestigious Leftwich Trophy". Marine Corps Association & Foundation. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  4. ^ General James F. Amos, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps (April 23, 2013). "LTCOL WILLIAM G. LEFTWICH JR. TROPHY FOR OUTSTANDING LEADERSHIP". United States Marine Corps. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  5. ^ http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/battleground-afghanistan/
  6. ^ "Battleground Afghanistan". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  7. ^ http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/3189/simanek-robert-e
  8. ^ http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/3291/graham-james-a.php
  9. ^ http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/3372/newlin-melvin-earl.php
  10. ^ http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/3328/kellogg-allan-jay-jr.php
  11. ^ Cpl Blaich, Ryan (2007-09-05). "Gen. Pace, 2nd platoon reunited". Marine Corps News. Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2007-12-16.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

External links


2/5 or ⅖ may refer to:

February 5 (month-day date notation)

2 May (day-month date notation)

2nd Battalion, 5th Marines

The fraction, two fifths

Battle of Belleau Wood

The Battle of Belleau Wood (1–26 June 1918) occurred during the German Spring Offensive in World War I, near the Marne River in France. The battle was fought between the U.S. 2nd (under the command of Major General Omar Bundy) and 3rd Divisions along with French and British forces against an assortment of German units including elements from the 237th, 10th, 197th, 87th, and 28th Divisions. The battle has become a key component of the lore of the United States Marine Corps.

Battle of Donkey Island

The Battle of Donkey Island was a skirmish that occurred on 30 June and 1 July 2007 between elements of the U.S. Army Task Force 1-77 Armor Regiment, the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines and a numerically superior force of al-Qaeda in Iraq insurgents on the banks of a canal leading from Ramadi to Lake Habbaniyah in the Al-Anbar province of Iraq.Official reports of the clash indicate that the U.S. force suffered 2 soldiers dead and 11 wounded, while an estimated 32 insurgents were killed (out of an estimated force of 40–70 fighters). From a military perspective, the battle was a complete victory for the U.S. forces, which detected and defeated an insurgent force before it could launch a planned assault on Ramadi. From a political perspective, the action revealed the continuing ability of al-Qaeda in Iraq to plan and assemble forces in their attempt to destabilize the Anbar region.

China Marines

The term China Marines, also known as "North China Marines", originally referred to the United States Marines, of the 4th Marine Regiment, who were stationed in Shanghai, China from 1927 to 1941 to protect American citizens and property in the Shanghai International Settlement, during the Chinese Revolution and the Second Sino-Japanese War.Due to the cheap labor available, China Marines lived a relatively comfortable lifestyle, with each squad able to hire Chinese men to do its cleaning and run its errands. This, plus the inexpensive goods available on the local market, made assignment to the China Marines highly coveted.

Most of the China Marines were withdrawn in November 1941, but those at the embassy were scheduled to be withdrawn on December 10. However, Imperial Japan attacked the United States on December 7, and the Marine Embassy guards, plus some US Navy support personnel, a total of 204 men, were captured and held as slave labor until the war's end in August 1945. The last commander of the China Marines was Colonel William W. Ashurst.With the rapid expansion of the Marine Corps during World War II and the capture of the rest of the 4th Marine Regiment at Corregidor, the surviving China Marines were few in number and highly regarded.

After Japan's surrender, the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions, also known as China Marines, were sent to occupy northern China from 1945 to 1948.

On January 31, 1996, Marines from the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines, as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU), Special Operations Capable (SOC), made their first visit to Shanghai, China, since World War II. The 31st MEU-SOC visited China again on November 22, 2006, during a port visit to Zhanjiang.

Gordon D. Gayle

Gordon Donald Gayle (September 13, 1917 – April 21, 2013) was a highly decorated officer in the United States Marine Corps with the rank of Brigadier General and historian. A veteran of World War II and Korea, he distinguished himself as Commanding officer, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines and received Navy Cross, the United States military's second-highest decoration awarded for valor in combat.He later served as Chairman, Long Range Study Panel which was tasked with the developing of concepts for the Marine Corps operational, organizational, logistical and Research and Development needs for the 1985 period. The study was a catalyst in forming a coherent Marine Corps vision of its future.

Harold E. Rosecrans

Harold Ellett Rosecrans (March 1, 1897 – April 13, 1980) was a highly decorated officer of the United States Marine Corps with the rank of brigadier general, who commanded 2nd Battalion 5th Marines during the during the assault on Tulagi Island. He later commanded 17th Marine Regiment during Battle of Cape Gloucester.

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

This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War in 1967, conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and their allies.

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

This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War in 1968, conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and their allies.

Major Lloyd W. Williams

Lloyd W. Williams (June 5, 1887 – June 12, 1918) was an officer in the United States Marine Corps who served and died in World War I.

Melvin E. Newlin

Private First Class Melvin Earl Newlin (September 27, 1948 – July 4, 1967) was a United States Marine who posthumously received the United States' highest military decoration – the Medal of Honor – for his actions in July 1967 during the Vietnam War.

Operation Auburn

Operation Auburn was a US Marine Corps operation that took place south of Danang, lasting from 28 December 1967 to 3 January 1968.

Operation Colorado

Operation Colorado/Lien Ket 52 was a US Marine Corps and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) operation that took place in the Hiệp Đức District, lasting from 6–22 August 1966 planned by Major General Lewis J. Fields, Commanding General of 1st Marine Division.

Operation Essex

Operation Essex was an operation by the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines in "Antenna Valley", Hiệp Đức District south of An Hoa Combat Base from 6 to 17 November 1967.

Operation Maui Peak

Operation Maui Peak was a US Marine Corps operation that took place near the Thường Ðức Camp southwest of Danang, lasting from 1 to 19 October 1968.

Robert E. Simanek

Robert Ernest Simanek (born April 26, 1930) is a former United States Marine and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Korean War.

Robert Eugene Bush

Robert Eugene Bush (October 4, 1926 – November 8, 2005), at age 18, was the youngest member of the United States Navy in World War II to receive the nation's highest military decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor. He was awarded the medal for heroic actions "above and beyond the call of duty" while serving as hospital corpsman attached to a Marine Corps rifle company on May 2, 1945, during the Battle of Okinawa.

Samuel Jaskilka

Samuel Jaskilka (December 15, 1919 – January 15, 2012) was a four-star general whose last assignment was Assistant Commandant of the United States Marine Corps (1975–1978). General Jaskilka was a highly decorated veteran of the Korean War, having led the landing at Inchon as a company commander with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. He retired from the Marine Corps in 1978 after 36 years of service.

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.

Hué City is the only U.S. Navy ship named after a battle in the Vietnam War, although it had been planned to name LHA-5 as USS Khe Sanh after the Battle of Khe Sanh, but that ship was commissioned in 1976 as Peleliu. As the only U.S. warship named for a battle that took place during the Vietnam War, Hué City has had the opportunity to reach out to the veterans of the battle for which she is named. She has done so frequently by holding a Memorial for the Battle of Hué annually every year the ship's schedule permits. The Memorial has served as a great opportunity for veterans to re-unite, meet the crew, and honor their fallen comrades.

Willard Keith

Willard Woodward Keith, Jr. (June 13, 1920 – November 3, 1942) was a United States Marine Corps officer who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic actions during the World War II Battle of Guadalcanal. Two cancelled United States Navy destroyer escorts and the destroyer USS Willard Keith (DD-775) were named in his honor.

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