3rd Battalion, 5th Marines

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3rd Battalion, 5th Marines
3rd Battalion 5th Marines Consummate Professionals.png
Former insignia for 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, discontinued in 2004.
ActiveJune 8, 1917 – August 13, 1919
May 17, 1921 – January 1933
November 1934 – March 1935
April 1, 1940 – April 15, 1946
October 15, 1949 – present
Country United States of America
Branch United 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 Benjamin M. Middendorf
John C. Miller Jr.

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.

Subordinate units[edit]

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


World War I[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

PFC Paul E. Ison, L/3/5, sprints across "Death Valley" while under heavy fire during the battle of Okinawa.

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[edit]

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. It inflicted heavy casualties on Chinese forces at the Battle of Hwacheon. 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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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, Lance Corporal Reginal Dutt lead the vengeance of 3/5 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 Logan Stark 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[edit]

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.

Unit awards[edit]

A unit citation or commendation is an award bestowed upon an organization for the action cited. Members of the unit who participated in said actions are allowed to wear on their uniforms the awarded unit citation.[14] 3/5 has been presented with the following awards:

Notable former members[edit]


  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. ^ "7 Marines, 1 Sailor Charged With Murder – News Story – WMAQ | Chicago". NBC News. Associated Press. June 21, 2006. 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 from the original on November 9, 2010.
  10. ^ "Son of Marine General Killed in Afghanistan". ABC News. Archived from the original on May 13, 2016.
  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. ^ Mckenna, Phil. "US navy chief: I'm on a mission to stop using oil". New Scientist. Archived from the original on March 21, 2015.
  14. ^ "unit citation - Google Search". www.google.com.
  15. ^ "Hall of Valor – Matthew T. Abbate". Military Times. Military Times Publishing Co. Archived from the original on 2013-10-02. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Medal Awards Recipients". Archived from the original on 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  17. ^ "Navy Cross". Archived from the original on 2014-12-24. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  18. ^ "Awards Recipient". Archived from the original on 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  19. ^ "Sterling Mace". Archived from the original on 2012-08-23. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  20. ^ "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.


External links[edit]