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U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Felix Guerra III, right, commanding officer, and U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Ryan Eldredge, sergeant major, both with 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division, case the colors during the deactivation ceremony of 3d Battalion, 3d Marines on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Jan. 13, 2023. The battalion is deactivating in accordance with Force Design 2030 as the Marine Corps modernizes to remain the premier crisis response force. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Israel Chincio)

Photo by Sgt. Israel Chincio

U.S. Marine Corps deactivates 3d Battalion, 3d Marines

31 Jan 2023 | 1st Lt. Erin Scudder 3rd Marine Division

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII—3d Battalion, 3d Marines cased its colors during the unit’s deactivation ceremony at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Jan. 13, 2023.

3/3 first activated June 1, 1942 at New River, North Carolina, as 5th Training Battalion assigned to Division Special Troops, 1st Marine Division. During World War II, 3/3 participated in the battles of Bougainville, Northern Solomons, Guam, and Iwo Jima.

On Nov. 1, 1943, 3/3 stormed the beaches of Bougainville. Within 5 days, the battalion pushed 5,000 yards inland and secured 10,000 yards of beach. After 15 days of brutal combat, 3/3 broke out of the jungle and connected a road they had previously constructed with the Numa Numa Trail enabling continued support of the front lines. After 52 days of fighting through pain, sickness, and complete exhaustion, 3/3 was relieved.

3/3 also participated in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During the Global War on Terrorism, 3/3 completed three combat deployments to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and three combat deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“Deactivation is not an unheard of occurrence in the illustrious history of this battalion. V33 has deactivated twice previously,” said Lt. Col. Felix Guerra III, commanding officer, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines. “Prior to previous deactivations, this battalion fulfilled the needs of the Marine Corps to include participating in major combat operations. Today, we have safeguarded this battalion’s legacy. Although the battalion’s colors will fold on 13 January and the monitors will disperse the Marines and Sailors throughout the service, the memory of 3d Battalion, 3d Marines will never be extinguished.”

3/3 recently returned from its latest deployment to Okinawa, Japan where they participated in the Korea Military Exercise Program 22.3, Fuji Viper 22.5, Resolute Dragon 22, and multiple Alert Contingency Marine Air-Ground Task Force drills. Throughout the deployment, 3/3 trained alongside key allies across the first island chain, strengthening international partnerships, mutual security, and the ability to respond to crisis throughout the Indo-Pacific.

“The modern battlespace is more complex than ever before,” said Col. Timothy Brady, commanding officer, 3d Marine Littoral Regiment. “The U.S. Marine Corps will continue to progress and modernize the force to remain the premier crisis response force. I know our Marine Corps is in good hands with the Marines of America’s Battalion spread throughout the Corps.”

In accordance with Force Design 2030, the U.S. Marine Corps deactivated 2d Battalion, 3d Marines and 3/3 to allow for the transformation of 3d Marines to 3d Marine Littoral Regiment that took place March 3, 2023.
3d MLR is optimized for conducting Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations in support of the Joint Force with allies and partners in austere and distributed maritime environments. The MLR is composed of a Littoral Combat Team, Littoral Anti-Air Battalion, and Littoral Logistics Battalion.