Darkhorse Marines

3rd Battalion 5th Marines

3rd Battalion 5th Marines (3/5) is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps. The battalion, nicknamed "Dark Horse", is based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California and consists of approximately 1000 Marines and Sailors. They fall under the command of the 5th Marine Regiment and the 1st Marine Division.


World War I

3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, along with the 5th Marine Regiment, was first organized on June 8, 1917 as the United States prepared for World War I. The battalion was composed of four companies; the 16th, 20th, 45th and 47th. 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, Muese 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 Fourragere and changing the name of a French landmark, Belleau Wood, to "Bois de la Brigade de Marine" or "Wood of the Marine Brigade".

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.

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 on January 1933. In November 1934, the 3rd Battalion was reactivated for the fourth time, only to be deactivated in March 1935.

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 Guinea, Peleliu, and Okinawa. In April 1946, their mission accomplished, 3rd Battalion was disbanded and most of the Pacific veterans returned to civilian life.

Korean War

During October 1949, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines was reactivated on Guam. During August 1950, the Battalion deployed to fight the Communist force invading the Republic of Korea. The 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.

Vietnam War

From June 1966 to March 1971, the 3rd Battalion fought in Vietnam. They fought as such places as Chu-Lai, Da Nang, Quang Nam, The Battle of Khe Sanh, The Battle of Hue, An Hoa, Operation Swift in the Que Son Valley, and the Ross Combat Base.

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, and augmented with reserves from 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion and 4th Tank Battalion, 3rd Battalion distinguished itself in combat operations in Al Wafrah, Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. En route home from hostilities, 3rd Battalion participated in Operation Sea Angel, moving critical food and supplies to the cyclone ravaged country of Bangladesh.

Iraq War

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 insurgent’s 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.

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". 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.

To date the battalion has seen 5 members decorated with the Navy Cross, all for gallantry in combat in Iraq. This is most for any unit in the Marine Corps.

Notable former members

See also




  • Sledge, Eugene B. (1990). With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19506-714-2.

External links

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