III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) is a formation of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force of the United States Marine Corps. It is forward-deployed and able to rapidly conduct operations across the spectrum from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) to amphibious assault and high-intensity combat.
It maintains a forward presence in Japan and Asia to support the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan (1960) and other alliance relationships of the United States. III MEF also conducts combined operations and training throughout the region in support of the National Security Strategy for Theater Security Cooperation.
The Marines and sailors of III MEF engage in more than 65 combined, bilateral and multilateral training exercises annually throughout the Asia-Pacific region, in countries including treaty allies Japan, Thailand, South Korea, The Philippines, and Australia. These exercises build partner capacity, develop and maintain strong regional alliances and military-to-military contacts. These exercises prepare III MEF to conduct operations ranging from major combat operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
III MEF has played a significant role in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions throughout the region. The MEF assisted the relief efforts led by the Government of Japan during Operation Tomodachi after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. III MEF also conducted HA/DR missions in Thailand in October 2011, the Philippines in October 2010, and Indonesia in October 2009. Most recently in response to the resulting humanitarian crisis from Typhoon Haiyan which struck the Philippines in 2013, III MEF activated as Joint Task Force 505 to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in support of the Philippine government. More than 2,495 tons of relief supplies were delivered, and over 21,000 people were evacuated.
|III Marine Expeditionary Force|
III Marine Expeditionary Force insignia
|Active||1942–46, 1965 – present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Type||Marine Air-Ground Task Force|
|Role||Forward-deployed expeditionary force|
|Part of||Marine Forces Pacific|
|Garrison/HQ||Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan|
|Engagements||World War II|
Operation Unified Assistance
|Lt. Gen. Eric M. Smith|
William R. Collins
Herman Nickerson Jr.
Donn J. Robertson
Lewis W. Walt
Robert E. Cushman Jr.
Carl W. Hoffman
Commanded by a lieutenant general with its headquarters at Camp Courtney, III MEF's mission is to provide forward based and deployed forces to the commander, U.S. Pacific Command, to conduct Phase 0 engagement and theater security cooperation events, support contingencies and emergent requirements, and prepare to rapidly execute existing operations plans in support of the theater and national military strategies.
III MEF is organized as a Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) to provide a rapidly deployable, flexible self-contained fighting force. The Marines combine air, ground, and logistics forces to operate as a coherent, self-sufficient force. Each mission dictates the MAGTF's scale and structure, giving the Marine Corps the flexibility to respond to any crisis and making a "force in readiness." A MEF is the largest of all MAGTFs.
III Marine Expeditionary Force was activated as I Amphibious Corps 1 October 1942 in Camp Elliott, San Diego, California. Later that month, they were deployed to Noumea, New Caledonia. The unit was redesignated as III Amphibious Corps 15 April 1944. III Amphibious Corps was deactivated on 10 June 1946.
During World War II, III MEF was known as I Marine Amphibious Corps. It was renamed III Amphibious Corps on 15 April 1944, and took part in fighting against the Japanese Empire in the Pacific theater during World War II. It fought in some of the bloodiest battles, including the Solomon Islands Campaign, the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign and the Battle of Okinawa. III Amphibious Corps redeployed to Tientsin, China in September 1945, where it participated in the occupation of Northern China until June 1946. III Amphibious Corps was deactivated on 10 June 1946.
III MEF was reactivated 6 May 1965 in Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam under Major general William R. Collins. 7 May 1965, III MEF was re-designated as III Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF) and consisted of the 1st Marine Division, 3rd Marine Division and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. The III MAF's area of operations was in the northern I Corps Tactical Zone. III MAF participated in the Vietnam War from May 1965 – April 1971 operating from Quang Tri, Thua Thien, Quang Nam, Quang Tin, and Quang Ngai. III MAF deployed to Camp Courtney, Okinawa in April 1971.
Since III MAF was redesignated to III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) 5 February 1988, they have participated in many different operations. These operations include the Persian Gulf War's Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, as well as Operation Provide Comfort in Southwest Asia and Iraq from Sept. 1990 – April 1991 and May–June 1991. III MEF elements have also played a vital role in Operation Sea Angel in Bangladesh from May–June 1991; Operation Fiery Vigil in The Philippines June 1991; Operation Restore Hope and Operation Continue Hope in Somalia from December 1992 to March 1994. III MEF elements have also had a significant impact on the Iraq War's Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as the Global War on Terrorism's Enduring Freedom.
One of the biggest roles III MEF plays in the Asia-Pacific region is humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR). III MEF elements participated in Operation Unified Assistance in response to the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia from December 2004 to February 2005. III MEF has also assisted with the 2005 Kashmir earthquake response from October 2005 to March 2006; Philippine mudslide response in March and April 2006; 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake response in May and June 2006; Legazpi typhoon recovery in March 2007; 2007 Solomon Islands earthquake and tsunami response in April 2007; Operation Sea Angel II in Bangladesh from November to December 2007; Operation Caring Response in Burma from May and June 2008; Taiwan typhoon relief in August 2009; Philippine typhoon and Indonesian earthquake relief in October 2009; Philippine typhoon relief in October 2010; Operation Tomodachi in May 2011; Thailand flood relief from October through November 2011; and Philippine typhoon relief in December 2012 and again in November 2013.
The III Marine Expeditionary Force Band (III MEF Band) is a USMC military band which is the official marching band of the III MEF. Being located at Camp Courtney in Okinawa, Japan, it is the sole de-facto musical representative of the USMC in the eastern hemisphere. It is alzo one of two military bands in United States Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, with the other being the Marine Corps Forces Pacific Band (MARFORPAC Band). It commonly performs throughout the South-East Asian region, including at international military tattoos in South Korea and Japan. The band was awarded the title of 2018 Marine Corps Band of the Year in February 2018.
The following comprises the leadership of the band:
Uniquely, the band has its own mascot, which helps represent the band when on parade. The history of the use of a mascot dates back to 1974, when the commanding general of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing presented a Golden Retriever to the 1st MAW Band. On 21 June 2002, Private Chopper IV, the designated successor to the first three puppies with the same name, assumed his duties as the III MEF Band Mascot. He was replaced in November 2012 by Chopper V. Being an enlisted marine, Chopper V has the ability to be promoted in rank.
|Navy Unit Commendation Streamer with two Bronze Stars||1965–1968, 1968–1971, 2001–2003||Vietnam War, Iraq War, War in Afghanistan|
|Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer||2004–2005||Iraq War, War in Afghanistan|
|Asiatic-Pacific Campaign||1942–1946||World War II|
|World War II Victory||1945||World War II|
|China Service||1945–1946||Occupation of North China|
|National Defense Service Streamer with two Bronze Stars||1961–1974, 1990–1995, 2001–present||Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War's Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Iraq War's Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom|
|Vietnam Service Streamer with two Silver and three Bronze Stars||1965–1971||Quang Tri, Thua Thien, Quang Nam, Quang Tin, and Quang Ngai|
|Global War on Terrorism Service Streamer||2001–present|
|Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Streamer||1965–1971||Foreign award from South Vietnam|
|Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Actions Streamer||1965–1971||Foreign award from South Vietnam|
The 3rd Dental Battalion is a unit of the United States Navy that supports United States Marine Corps forces on Okinawa, Japan. The battalion includes nine dental clinics, approximately 77 Dental Officers, 4 Medical Service Corps officers, 181 Dental Technicians, and 26 civilians. The unit is based out of Camp Foster and falls under the command of the 3rd Marine Logistics Group and the III Marine Expeditionary Force.3rd Intelligence Battalion
The 3rd Intelligence Battalion (3rd Intel) is a United States Marine Corps military intelligence and counterintelligence unit based at Marine Corps Base Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan. It provides the III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) with intelligence products and analysis.3rd Marine Logistics Group
The 3rd Marine Logistics Group (3rd MLG) is the Logistics Combat Element (LCE) for III Marine Expeditionary Force currently headquartered on Camp Kinser, Marine Corps Base Smedley D. Butler, Okinawa, Japan. 3rd MLG provides combat service support (CSS) to III MEF units above the organic capability. CSS is the essential capabilities, functions, activities, and tasks necessary to sustain all elements of operating forces in theater at all levels of war. Combat service support includes, but is not limited, to supply, maintenance, transportation, general engineering, health services, and other services required by aviation and ground combat forces to permit those units to accomplish their missions.9th Engineer Support Battalion
The 9th Engineer Support Battalion (9th ESB) is a general and direct engineering support unit of the United States Marine Corps and is headquartered at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan. The unit is subordinate to the 3rd Marine Logistics Group and the III Marine Expeditionary Force.Camp Courtney
Camp Courtney (Japanese: キャンプ・コートニー, Hepburn: Kyampu Kōtonī) is a U.S. Marine Base located in Uruma City, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It is part of the larger Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler and home to the III Marine Expeditionary Force, 3rd Marine Division, and 3d MEB Headquarters. It is named after Major Henry A. Courtney, Jr., who was killed in action in the Battle of Okinawa. Camp Courtney covers 1.339 square kilometres (0.517 sq mi) in the Konbu, Tengan, and Uken districts of Uruma.Combat Logistics Regiment 3
Combat Logistics Regiment 3 (CLR-3) is a direct support (DS) logistics unit of the United States Marine Corps and is headquartered at Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. The unit falls under the 3rd Marine Logistics Group and the III Marine Expeditionary Force.Combat Logistics Regiment 35
The Combat Logistics Regiment 35 (CLR-35) is a logistics unit of the United States Marine Corps and is headquartered at Camp Kinser, Okinawa, Japan. The unit falls under the 3rd Marine Logistics Group (3rd MLG) and the III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF). The unit was formerly known as 3rd Materiel Readiness Battalion but officially changed its designation on October 20, 2006.Combat Logistics Regiment 37
Headquarters Regiment (formerly designated as Combat Logistics Regiment 37), 3rd MLG is a logistics regiment of the United States Marine Corps. It is part of the 3rd Marine Logistics Group and III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF). The unit is based out of the Marine Corps Base Camp Kinser, Okinawa, Japan.Command element (United States Marine Corps)
In the United States Marine Corps, the command element (CE) is the command and control force of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). It provides C3I for the MAGTF.Eric Smith (general)
Lieutenant General Eric M. Smith is the current Commanding General of the III Marine Expeditionary Force, as well as U.S. Marine Corps Forces Japan.I Corps (South Vietnam)
The I Corps Tactical Zone (Vietnamese: Vùng 1 Chiến thuật) was a corps of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), the army of the nation state of South Vietnam that existed from 1955 to 1975. It was one of four corps of the ARVN. This was the northernmost region of South Vietnam, bordering North Vietnam. These five provinces are Quảng Trị Province, (Khe Sanh, Đông Hà, Quảng Trị City), Thừa Thiên-Huế Province, (Phu Bai, Huế City), Quảng Nam Province, (Đà Nẵng, Hội An), Quảng Tín Province, (Tam Kỳ, Chu Lai) and Quảng Ngãi Province, (Quảng Ngãi). The region included the DMZ area where 3rd Marine Division intelligence estimated the combat strength of NVA and VC forces in January 1968 was 40,943 troops.I Corps became operational in November 1957.Among its formations and units were the 1st Division. The I CTZ, later Military Region 1, was partnered with the U.S. III Marine Expeditionary Force and the XXIV Corps.Lawrence D. Nicholson
Lawrence D. Nicholson (born June 29, 1956) is a retired United States Marine Corps Lieutenant General who served as Commanding General III Marine Expeditionary Force from 2015 to 2018, having previously commanded the 1st Marine Division from 2012 to 2015.Marine Air Control Group 18
Marine Air Control Group 18 (MACG-18) is a United States Marine Corps aviation command and control unit based at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma that is currently composed of 4 squadrons and 1 HQ support detachment. The Marine Air Control Group as a whole provides the 1st Marine Aircraft Wings tactical headquarters, positive and procedural control, air traffic control, short range air defense and air defense control to aircraft for the III Marine Expeditionary Force.Marine Aircraft Group 12
Marine Aircraft Group 12 (MAG-12) is an active air group of the United States Marine Corps, tasked with providing assault support aircraft. It is currently part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW), itself an integral part of the III Marine Expeditionary Force, and based at MCAS Iwakuni in Japan.Marine Aircraft Group 36
Marine Aircraft Group 36 (MAG-36) is an active air group of the United States Marine Corps, tasked with providing assault support aircraft. It is currently part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW), itself an integral part of the III Marine Expeditionary Force, and based at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, Japan.Marine Wing Liaison Kadena
Marine Wing Liaison Kadena (MWLK) is a United States Marine Corps logistics and liaison unit based at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, Japan. They fall under 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and III Marine Expeditionary ForceMarine expeditionary force
A Marine expeditionary force (MEF), formerly known as a Marine amphibious force, is the largest type of a Marine air-ground task force. A MEF is the largest building block of United States Marine Corps combat power.United States Marine Corps Forces, Pacific
Marine Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC) is the United States Marine Corps service component command of United States Indo-Pacific Command. It is the largest field command in the Marine Corps and is headquartered at Camp H. M. Smith in Hawaii.
It is composed of the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) and the III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF). Each MEF comprises a command element (CE), a ground combat element (GCE) (1st and 3rd Marine Divisions), an aviation combat element (ACE) (1st and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wings), and a logistics combat element (LCE) (1st and 3rd Marine Logistics Groups).VMU-3
Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3 is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) squadron in the United States Marine Corps that operates the RQ-21 Blackjack that consists of approximately 200 Marines. They are based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and its primary mission is to provide aerial surveillance for the III Marine Expeditionary Force. The unit also (in conjunction with VMU-1, based at Twentynine Palms) provides Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA) to units participating in Mojave Viper, an exercise held several times a year in 29 Palms, CA. The squadron, nicknamed the Phantoms, was activated on September 12, 2008 and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 24 and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing .
VMU-3 is the third UAV unit in the Marine Corps established to provide reconnaissance and assist with deployments and training of ground units. A third of the UAV Operators from VMU-1 and VMU-2 were reassigned to VMU-3 to provide the foundation for the new squadron. In late September 2008, VMU-3 successfully flew the Shadow 200 UAV for the first time, and continues to fly missions in support of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and the Tactical Training Exercise Control Group (TTECG) on a regular basis.
VMU-3 was awarded the 2011 Commandant's Aviation Trophy for outstanding performance of a Marine aviation squadron.
|Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic|
|Fleet Marine Force, Pacific|
|Other Operating Forces|
|Marine Corps Installations Command|