3d Combat Engineer Battalion

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3rd Combat Engineer Battalion
3d CEB insignia
ActiveSeptember 1942 – 6 June 1995
1 October 2007 – 5 August 2014
Country United States of America
Branch United States Marine Corps
TypeCombat Engineering
Garrison/HQMCAGCC Twentynine Palms
Motto(s)"Demolition is the Mission"
Anniversaries16 September
EngagementsWorld War II Vietnam War
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom

3rd Combat Engineer Battalion (3rd CEB) was a combat engineer battalion of the United States Marine Corps, most recently activated from 7 October 2007 to 5 August 2014.


Provide mobility, counter mobility, survivability, and limited general engineering support.

Current sub-units[edit]


World War II[edit]

The battalion was first formed on 16 September 1942 as 1st Battalion, 19th Marine Regiment. Two years later on 16 August 1944 they were re-designated the 3d Engineer Battalion. The battalion was deactivated at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California on 30 November 1945.[1] From August 1957 until January 1962, the battalion was designated 3d Pioneer Battalion.

Vietnam War[edit]

The 3d Combat Engineer Battalion deployed to the Republic of Vietnam landed at Chu Lai in July 1965 and later moved to Da Nang remaining in country until October 1969.[2] During this time the battalion operated from Da Nang, Đông Hà, Gia Le, Quang Tri, Cửa Việt, Camp Carroll, Cam Lộ, and the Vandegrift Combat Base. After Vietnam the battalion was moved to Camp Schwab, Okinawa, only to be relocated in November 1970 to Camp Hansen, Okinawa. On 15 May 1976 the battalion was redesignated as the 3d Combat Engineer Battalion.[3]

1970s through the 1990s[edit]

Marines from 3rd CEB dispose of mines in a berm during the Gulf War ground campaign
Tank plow used the battalion for clearing minefields in Kuwait

In September 1975, the Battalion was redesignated as 3d Combat Engineer Battalion.

3d CEB provided three companies to Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm between August 1990 and March 1991. "Alpha" Company deployed from Marine Corps Base Hawaii with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, "Bravo" Company deployed via amphibious shipping 15 August 1990 from Okinawa, and "Charlie" Company landed in Saudi Arabia five days before the air war began. The Marines from 3d CEB participated in breaching operations with "Task Force Grizzly" and "Task Force Papa Bear."[4] Once in country, Alpha Co, 3rd CEB was soon assigned to 1st CEB and was referred to as "Alpha 3rd", to distinguish them from Alpha Company, 1st CEB. One platoon from Bravo Company, 3rd CEB, 3rd Mar Div, Okinawa, arrived in country via amphibious shipping and was added to "Alpha 3rd'" to become the company's 3rd platoon. 1st CEB supported Taskforce Ripper, [the lead element of 1st Mar Div during Desert Storm]. "Alpha 3rd'", was designated an Obstacle Clearing Detachment and was assigned to operate along with 1st Battalion 5th Marines, Company A, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion and Company A 1st Tank Battalion as the lead element of Task Force Ripper to breach minefields. Alpha Company 3rd' performed one minefield breach on the 1st mine field belt, and one breach on the second minefield breach which was defended by the Iraqi forces. "Alpha Company '3rd" also supplied a squad of engineers to conduct breaching operations for Task Force Shepard.

In 1995, 3d CEB was deactivated. Their numbers were dispersed to other combat engineers units throughout the Marine Corps. The battalion was renamed Combat Engineer Company and was folded into Combat Assault Battalion of the 3rd Marine Division.

Reactivation and the Global War on Terror[edit]

Alpha Company was stood up in Twentynine Palms, California the autumn of 2007. The company, minus its 2nd Platoon, deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and fell under the command of Regimental Combat Team 5 during 2008. The 2nd Platoon deployed at about the same time to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines operating throughout Helmand and Farah Provinces.

Bravo Company was stood up in November 2008 with three full strength line platoons. The battalion will also have a full company to facilitate the use of the new Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV). In April 2010 Alpha Company, along with a company-sized element from First Tank Battalion (trained as engineers),deployed as a theatre asset to Helmand Province forces as Route Clearance, in support of 3rd Battalion 7th Marines. Alpha Company was then dispatched across Helmand Province including the districts of Marjeh, Musa Qala, and the infamous battle of Sangin. In August 2011 Bravo Company deployed to Helmand Province, again, in support of 3rd Battalion 7th Marines and 2nd Battalion 4th Marines. Alpha Company deployed again in 2013 with 1st Platoon direct supporting(DS) to 2nd Battalion 8th Marines and 2nd Platoon direct supporting 3rd Battalion 4th Marines Bravo Company deployed to Afghanistan again in 2013 as a route clearance company of 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion.

3d Combat Engineer Battalion deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom during 2010, 2011, and 2013.

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 appropriate ribbon of the awarded unit citation. 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion has been awarded the following:

Streamer Award Year(s) Additional Info
PUC 1B.PNG Presidential Unit Citation Streamer with one Bronze Star 22–28 February 1945, 15 July 1965 – 15 September 1967 Iwo Jima, Vietnam
Navy Unit Commendation streamer (USMC).svg Navy Unit Commendation Streamer 15 May – 9 July 1991 Operation Sea Angel I
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Navy-Marine) Streamer.jpg Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer 1–25 May 1968 Vietnam
APC 4B.PNG Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Streamer with four Bronze Stars 1 November – 15 December 1943, 4 January – 4 June 1944, 21 July – 15 August 1944, 22 February – 16 March 1945 Treasury – Bougainville, Consolidation of Solomon Islands, Marianas, Iwo Jima
Streamer WWII V.PNG World War II Victory Streamer 1942–1945 Pacific War
NDS 3B.PNG National Defense Service Streamer with three Bronze Stars 1950–1954, 1961–1974, 1990–1995, 2009 – present Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, War on Terrorism
Korean Service Medal - Streamer.png Korean Service Streamer 23 August 1953 – 27 July 1954 Korea
VSS 2S.PNG Vietnam Service Streamer with two Silver Stars June 1965 – October 1969 Vietnam
ACM 1B.PNG Afghanistan Campaign Streamer with one Bronze Star 2010 Helmand Province (Consolidation III)
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal streamer.png Global War on Terrorism Service Streamer 2009 – present
VMUA PALM.PNG Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Streamer 15 July 1965 – 20 September 1969

Notable former members[edit]

recipient of the Bronze Star with Valor device and the Purple Heart

recipient of the Purple Heart

recipient of the Purple Heart

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  1. ^ Rottman (2002), p.221.
  2. ^ "Marine units in Vietnam". 3rd Marine Division Association. Retrieved 7 December 2007.
  3. ^ "3d Combat Engineer Battalion Lineage". 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
  4. ^ "Organizations and units Serving Proudly" (PDF). Marine Corps Engineering Association. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2015. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External links[edit]