III Marine Expeditionary Force
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2012)|
|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 Desert Shield
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Provide Comfort
Operation Sea Angel
Operation Fiery Vigil
Operation Restore Hope
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Unified Assistance
|Lt. Gen. John E. Wissler|
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 deploy rapidly conduct operations across the spectrum from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief 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 multi-lateral training exercises annually throughout the Asia-Pacific region, in countries including treaty allies Japan, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of 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 (HA/DR).
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 an earthquake and tsunami struck Honshu March 11, 2011. III MEF also conducted HA/DR missions in Thailand in Oct. 2011, the Republic of the Philippines in Oct. 2010, and Indonesia in Oct. 2009.
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 Foce was activated as I Amphibious Corps Oct. 1, 1942 in Camp Elliott, San Diego, Calif. Later that month, they were deployed to Noumea, New Caledonia. The unit was redesignated as III Amphibious Corps April 15, 1944. III Amphibious Corps was deactivated June 10, 1946.
World War II
During World War II, III MEF was known as I Marine Amphibious Corps was renamed III Amphibious Corps on April 15, 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 Sept. of 1945 where it participated in the occupation of Northern China until June 1946. III Amphibious Corps was deactivated June 10, 1946.
III MEF was reactivated May 6, 1965 in Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam. May 7, 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.
Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief
One of the biggest roles III MEF plays in the Asia-Pacifc 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 Dec. 2004-Feb. 2005. III MEF has also assisted with the Pakistan earthquake response from Oct. 2005-March 2006; Philippine mudslide response in March and April 2006; Indonesia earthquake response in May and June 2006; Legazpi typhoon recovery in March 2007; Solomon Islands tsunami response in April 2007; Operation Sea Angel II in Bangladesh from Nov.-Dec. 2007; Operation Caring Response in Burma from May–June 2008; Taiwan typhoon relief in Aug. 2009; Philippine typhoon and Indonesian earthquake relief in Oct. 2009; Philippine typhoon relief in Oct. 2010; Operation Tomodachi in May 2011; Thailand flood relief from Oct.-Nov. 2011; and Philippine typhoon relief in Dec. 2012.
Other Significant Events
Since III MAF was redesignated to III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) February 5, 1988, they have participated in many different operations. These operations include Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm and 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 Dec. 1992-March 1994. III MEF elements have also had a significant impact on Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
- Ground combat element: 3rd Marine Division
- Aviation combat element: 1st Marine Aircraft Wing
- Logistics combat element: 3rd Marine Logistics Group
- Command element: III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group
- 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade
- 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit
Locations and Units
- Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler
- Marine Corps Air Station Futenma
- III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters
- III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group
- 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade Headquarters
- 3rd Marine Division
- 1st Marine Aircraft Wing
- 3rd Marine Logistics Group
- 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit
- Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay
- 3rd Marine Regiment
- Marine Aircraft Group 24
- Combat Logistics Battalion 3
- Combat Logistics Company 35
|Navy Unit Commendation Streamer with two Bronze Stars||1965-1968, 1968-1971, 2001–2003||Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan|
|Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer||2004-2005||Iraq, Afghanistan|
|Asiatic-Pacific Campaign with one Bronze Star||1942-1946, 1965-1971||World War II, Vietnam War|
|World War II Victory||1945||World War II|
|China Service||1945-1946||Occupation of North China|
|National Defense Service Streamer with two Bronze Stars||1942-1946, 1965-1971, 1988-2006||World War II, Vietnam War, Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, 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||Vietnam War|
|Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Actions Streamer||1965-1971||Vietnam|
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