3rd Battalion, 5th Marines

3rd Battalion, 5th Marines (3/5, nicknamed Dark Horse) is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps. The battalion is based at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California and consists of approximately 1,000 Marines and Fleet Marine Force Navy personnel. The 3rd Battalion falls under the command of the 5th Marine Regiment which falls under the command of the 1st Marine Division.

3rd Battalion, 5th Marines
3rd Battalion 5th Marines Consummate Professionals
Former insignia for 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, discontinued in 2004.
  • June 8, 1917 – August 13, 1919
  • May 17, 1921 – January 1933
  • November 1934 – March 1935
  • April 1, 1940 – April 15, 1946
  • October 15, 1949 – present
CountryUnited States
AllegianceUnited States
BranchUnited States Marine Corps
TypeInfantry battalion
RoleLocate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver
Part of5th Marine Regiment
1st Marine Division
Garrison/HQMarine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
"Consummate Professionals"
Motto(s)"Get Some"
EngagementsWorld War I

Banana Wars

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

Operation Desert Storm
Operation Sea Angel
War on Terror

LtCol Geoffry M. Hollopeter

Subordinate units

  • Headquarters and Service Company
  • Company I (India Company)
  • Company K (Kilo Company)
  • Company L (Lima Company)
  • Weapons Company


World War I

3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, along with the rest of the 5th Marine Regiment, was first organized on June 8, 1917, as the United States prepared for World War I.[1] The battalion was composed of four companies: the 16th, 20th, 45th and 47th.[2] Six days later, manned by Spanish–American War and Boxer Rebellion veterans along with a large number of raw recruits, they set sail for France. They participated in campaigns and battles such as Bois de Belleau, Vierzy, Château-Thierry, Pont-a-Mousson, Limey Sector, Fleury, Meuse-Argonne, Blanc Mont, St Michiel, Leffincourt and Soissons. The French Government recognized the young battalion by presenting it the Croix de guerre along with the Fourragère and changing the name of a French landmark, Belleau Wood, to "Bois de la Brigade de Marine" or "Wood of the Marine Brigade".

Interwar period

In August 1919, the Battalion was deactivated following World War I and less than two years later, in May 1921, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines was reactivated. For the next several years, men of the 3rd Battalion served in the Caribbean and at home, guarding the U.S. Mail.[1]

In March 1927, the 3rd Battalion deployed to Nicaragua to help stabilize the government against overthrow attempts by rebel forces. For the next six years, the Battalion aided the Nicaraguan government until peace was finally restored. The job done, the 3rd Battalion was once again disbanded in January 1933. In November 1934, the 3rd Battalion was reactivated for the fourth time, only to be deactivated in March 1935.[1]

World War II

Shortly before World War II in April 1940, 3rd Battalion was again reactivated. The fighting in World War II found the Marines of 3/5 at Guadalcanal, New Britain, Peleliu, and Okinawa. At Peleliu, they were the last Marine battalion to be shipped out before the army took over. In April 1946, their mission accomplished, 3rd Battalion was disbanded and most of the Pacific veterans returned to civilian life.[1]

Korean War

During October 1949, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, was reactivated on Guam. During August 1950, the Battalion deployed to fight against the North Korean army invading the Republic of Korea (South Korea) during the Korean War. The 3rd Battalion fought at such places as the Pusan Perimeter, Inchon, Seoul and Chosin Reservoir. At the close of hostilities, the 3rd Battalion returned to the United States, settling at MCB Camp Pendleton.[1] The battalion's nickname "Darkhorse" sprang from the radio call sign of its commander in Korea, Colonel Robert Taplett, who was known as "Darkhorse Six".

Vietnam War

From April 1966 to March 1971, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, fought in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. They fought in such places as Chu Lai, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Operation Hastings, Operation Union and Union II in the Que Son valley—received a Presidential Unit Citation, the Battle of Hue, An Hoa, Operation Swift in the Que Son Valley—received a second Presidential Unit Citation, and Firebase Ross.[1] During the Vietnam War, the unit motto was "consummate professionals".

Gulf War and the 1990s

On December 1, 1990, the battalion deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Desert Shield as a Battalion Landing Team, with the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. As part of the largest amphibious task force assembled since Vietnam, the battalion was augmented with mobilized Marine Corps Reserve units from 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, Tow Platoon, 23rd Marines, 4th Marine Division, and 4th Tank Battalion. 3/5 distinguished itself in combat operations in Al Wafrah, Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm as Mechanized Combined Arms Task Force. En route home from hostilities, 3/5 participated in Operation Sea Angel, delivering critical food, supplies, and humanitarian assistance to the cyclone ravaged country of Bangladesh.[1]

Iraq War

Marines from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines and 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines during the Second Battle of Fallujah.

3rd Battalion was deployed for the 2003 invasion of Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein. The Battalion was again deployed in 2004 to capture the city of Fallujah from insurgents' control. In November 2004, the Battalion, along with several other units, participated in Operation Phantom Fury (also known as Al Fajr (Dawn)) and was part of one of the biggest battles in Iraq to that time.[1]

On June 20, 2006, seven Marines and a Navy Corpsman of Kilo Company were charged with the April 26, 2006, murder of disabled Iraqi civilian Hashim Ibrahim Awad, an event referred to as the "Hamdania incident".[3][4] All eight face additional charges of kidnapping, conspiracy, larceny, assault and housebreaking or unlawfully entering a dwelling. Five of the men are accused of making a false official statement.

On May 19, 2006, Darkhorse Marines captured three insurgents responsible for the kidnapping and detention of Jill Carroll, an American journalist with the Christian Science Monitor.[5]

In June 2006, 3/5 avenged the death of four Scout Snipers who belonged to 2/4 who had been killed on a roof top in Ramadi in 2004. 3/5's mission in Habbaniyah killed the insurgent sniper and driver of a vehicle.[6] The sniper rifle was demilitarized and now resides at the 5th Marines Regimental Command Post.


Members of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, conducted operations in the Sangin District of Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom between September 2010 and April 2011. The area was handed over by 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Twenty-five of the battalion's Marines were killed in action and 200 were wounded, many losing limbs.[7][8][9][10][11][12] The 3rd Battalion are using Alternative Energy sources. A couple of forward combat bases use only solar power. One of the Marine foot patrols uses roll-up solar blankets to generate power for their radios and GPS.[13]

3/5 was deployed as the Battalion Landing Team (BLT) for the 15th MEU. The 15th MEU is deployed with the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group as a theater reserve and crisis response force throughout the U.S. Central Command and the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

In 2013, a former Marine of 3/5 released a documentary following the STA (Surveillance and Target Acquisition) platoon of the battalion. Featuring interviews and combat footage from the engagements in Sangin, the documentary named For the 25 memorializes the 25 lost Marines during the battalion's seven-month deployment. Detailing the experiences of the Marines within the platoon, For the 25 recounts the adverse conditions and immense casualties sustained by the battalion and the personal struggles overcome by surviving members of the Scout Sniper platoon.

"Darkhorse" nickname

The 3rd Battalion's nickname "Darkhorse" sprang from the radio call sign it used during the Korean War, chosen by Colonel Robert Taplett, who as the Battalion Commander (CO) of that time had the call sign "Darkhorse Six". The name fell out of use until 2003; during the training to return to Iraq in 2004, the Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. P. J. Malay, requested use of the "Darkhorse" call sign as a homage to the battalion's bravery in Korea. The nickname stuck and the 3/5 Marines now use it on their unofficial patches.

During the 1980s, the name for the 3rd Battalion was the "Mangudai", named by then Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Jack Kelly, who later went on to be promoted to Brigadier General, Commanding Officer of MCRD, San Diego. "Mangudai" was the name used by the special forces of Genghis Khan.

Notable former members


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "History of the Darkhorse". Official 3/5 Website. Archived from the original on 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
  2. ^ Henry, Mark R.; Darko Pavlović (1999-05-28). U.S. Marine Corps in World War I, 1917–1918. Osprey Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-85532-852-5.
  3. ^ Associated Press (June 21, 2006). "7 Marines, 1 Sailor Charged With Murder – News Story – WMAQ | Chicago". MSNBC. Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  4. ^ "S.J. troops charged in murder". Associated Press. June 22, 2006.
  5. ^ Sixbey, Corporal Mark (August 9, 2006). "Darkhorse Marines find, capture Jill Carroll's kidnappers". Marine Corps News. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
  6. ^ "Features". Archived from the original on 2012-11-08. Retrieved 2012-09-27.
  7. ^ Kovach, Gretel C., "Pendleton Marines Turn The Tide In The 'Fallujah Of Afghanistan'", San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 April 2011.
  8. ^ 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines official website Archived November 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ iCasualties | OEF | Afghanistan | Fatalities Details Archived November 9, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Three Star Marine General's Son Killed in Afghanistan – ABC News Archived May 13, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Perry, Tony, "A Battalion's Mounting Loss", Los Angeles Times, 23 January 2011, p. 1.
  12. ^ Perry, Tony, "Tears Are Mixed With Pride At Camp Pendleton Memorial For Fallen Marines", Los Angeles Times, 30 April 2011.
  13. ^ US navy chief: I'm on a mission to stop using oil – tech – 10 May 2011 – New Scientist Archived March 21, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Hall of Valor – Matthew T. Abbate". Military Times. Military Times Publishing Co. Archived from the original on 2013-10-02. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Medal Awards Recipients". Archived from the original on 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  16. ^ "Navy Cross". Archived from the original on 2014-12-24. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  17. ^ "Awards Recipient". Archived from the original on 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  18. ^ "Sterling Mace". Archived from the original on 2012-08-23. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  19. ^ "Battle of Fallujah". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-09-27.


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

  • Sledge, Eugene B. (1990-10-01). With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-506714-9.
  • Brown, Ronald J. U.S. Marines in the Persian Gulf, 1990–1991 WITH MARINE FORCES AFLOAT IN DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM. History and Museums Division Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps Washington, DC. ISBN 0-16-049765-5.

External links


3/5 or ⅗ may refer to:

The fraction, 3/5

3/5 (album), a 1997 album by Les Savy Fav

March 5, month-day date notation

3 May, day-month date notation

3rd Battalion 5th Marines, an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps

Three-Fifths Compromise, legislation for determining the proportional value of slaves in pre-Civil War USA census counts

Three-fifths majority, a supermajority used in some political votes

Battle of Lo Giang

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Brian Chontosh

Major Brian R. Chontosh (born 1974 in Rochester, New York) is a retired United States Marine Corps officer who was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic actions during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. At the time, he was a platoon leader for Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division.

Clinton A. Puckett

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Elmo M. Haney

St Elmo Murray Haney (1898 - 1979) was a Master Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. As a veteran of many early campaigns in the Marine Corps, he was considered the epitome of the "old breed" Marine and a source of inspiration during the tough battles of the Pacific Campaign in World War II. Author Eugene Sledge described Haney as being, "everywhere at once, correcting mistakes and helping out". As one who fought in some of the fiercest fighting of the time, he had the respect of the Marines. In World War I, it was later claimed that he fought in the Battle of Belleau Wood with the 5th Marine Regiment. However, Marine corps muster rolls show that he enlisted on 17 July 1918 and trained at Parris Island, South Carolina and Quantico, Virginia, in preparation for being sent to France. By October 1918, he has been assigned to the 2nd Separate Machine Gun Battalion at Quantico, but the war ended before he reached France. On 16 May 1919, he was transferred to Marine Barracks, Boston and was discharged. He re-enlisted in the Marine Corps on 22 October 1927 at San Diego, California. In 1930, between the wars, he was stationed in Shanghai and played in the outfield for the Fourth Marine Regiment Baseball Team. He also served in Nicaragua, Iceland and in the Amazon.In World War II, he fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester and Peleliu with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, where he was one of the oldest to fight in the regiment. At the Battle of Cape Gloucester, Haney received a Silver Star for heroic actions against the enemy, carrying ammunition to the front lines during the thickest of the fighting for "Walt's Ridge". At Battle of Peleliu, he rallied the Marines as they got bogged down, and kept them moving forward during the fighting.Haney also served in Nicaragua, China, Tulagi, Florida Island, and New Britain. Haney is featured in several books for his role in World War II and actor Gary Sweet portrayed him in the HBO miniseries The Pacific.

Henry Louis Larsen

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Taplett served with distinction in the Marine Corps for 20 years. He served aboard ship in the Pacific Theater during World War II. During the Korean War, he served as commander of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. After retiring from the Marine Corps, he authored a book that chronicled his experiences during the Korean War.

Romus Burgin

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Sangin (Pashto: سنگين‎) is a town in Helmand province of Afghanistan, with population of approximately 14,000 people. It is located on 32°4′24″N 64°50′2″E in the valley of the Helmand River at 888 m (2,913 ft) altitude, 95 km (59 mi) to the north-east of Lashkargah. Sangin is notorious as one of the central locations of the opium trade in the south of the country, and is also a town that has traditionally supported the Taliban. It was described by British newspaper The Guardian as "the deadliest area in Afghanistan". Sangin also houses the main bazaar for Sangin District. Route 611 passes through Sangin.

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