Military Wiki
2nd Marine Regiment
2nd Marine Regiment Logo.png
2nd Marines Insignia
  • 19 June 1913 - 15 August 1934
  • February 1942 - present
Country United States
Branch United States Marine Corps
Type Infantry
Role Locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver or repel the enemy's assault with fire and close combat.
Size Regiment
Part of 2nd Marine Division
II Marine Expeditionary Force
Garrison/HQ Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
Nickname(s) 2nd Marines
Motto(s) Keep Moving
Engagements Banana Wars
World War II
* Battle of Guadalcanal
* Battle of Tarawa
* Battle of Saipan
* Battle of Tinian
* Battle of Okinawa
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Restore Hope
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
Colonel Daniel M. Sullivan

The 2nd Marine Regiment is an infantry regiment of the United States Marine Corps. They are based at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and fall under the command of the 2nd Marine Division and the II Marine Expeditionary Force.

Current units

The Regiment comprises three infantry battalions and one headquarters company:


Early years

The first "2nd Regiment" of Marines came into existence in 1901 when unsettled conditions in the Far East required the presence of a Marine expeditionary force to protect American lives and property. The regiment was formed at Cavite, Philippines, on 1 January, by utilizing personnel for units recently returned to the Philippines from service during in the Boxer Rebellion in China, namely, the 1st Regiment and the 4th and 5th Independent Battalions. The 2nd Regiment became part of the 1st Brigade of Marines stationed in the Philippines as a ready force to be committed wherever needed in Far Eastern waters. Following the collapse of Philippine resistance in the Philippine–American War, the 2nd was given an additional mission of helping carry out United States Navy responsibilities for the military government of Cavite Peninsula and the Subic Bay area. The Marines of the regiment established garrisons and outposts and continually patrolled their assigned areas to round up the remaining insurgents and to maintain law and order. In order to execute the regiment's military government responsibilities, officers were appointed to varied special duties such as captains of the ports, district commanders, inspectors of customs, internal revenue collectors, and provost judges and marshals. As the political situation in the Philippines returned to normalcy, drill, practice marches, and general field training. were emphasized to a greater degree. In January 1914, the regiment reassigned most of its units to ships and other stations of the Far East. With the transfer of the Field and Staff (Headquarters) to the Provisional Regiment, Guam, on 20 January, the 2nd Regiment was formally disbanded.

At the same time, a "2nd Regiment" served in the Far East, the 2nd Regiment, 1st Provisional Brigade consisting of a Field and Staff, and Companies A, B, C, F was organized at League Island, Pennsylvania on 26 December 1903. The regiment embarked and sailed this same date to Panama, arriving there on 3 January 1904. The primary mission of this force in Panama was the enforcement of provisions of the Hay–Herrán Treaty made with Panama on 18 18 November 1903 which provided for the construction of a cross-isthmus canal.

A revolution broke out in Cuba in late 1906, and a Marine expeditionary force was dispatched to the island to establish and maintain law and order. As part of this force, the 4th Expeditionary Battalion was formed at League Island, Pennsylvania, on 27 September 1906. The battalion sailed for Cuba, arriving at Camp Columbia on 8 October. Here, it was reorganized and redesignated 2nd Regiment, 1st Expeditionary Brigade. Order was soon restored, and upon the arrival of United States Army troops as occupation forces on 31 October, the 2nd Regiment was disbanded.

The final one of these temporary "2nd Regiment" organizations to be formed was designated as the 2nd Regiment, 2nd Provisional Brigade on 19 February 1913 at Philadelphia. The regiment was originally intended for duty in Mexico as part of an expeditionary brigade. Instead, it was sent to Guantanamo Bay and held in readiness for emergency duties, while undergoing intensive training. On 1 May, this unit was redesignated 2nd Regiment, Expeditionary Force, USMC.

Banana Wars

The lineage of the modern 2nd Marine Regiment traces from its activation as the 1st Advance Base Regiment at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 19 June 1913. The following year that designation was changed to 1st Regiment, Advance Base Force. That unit landed as part of a joint force to secure and occupy the Mexican port of Veracruz in 1914. That brief encounter resulted in two Medal of Honor (MOH) awards to members of the regiment, Wendell C. Neville and Smedley D. Butler. The following year, the regiment was posted to Cap Hatien, Haiti, to safeguard American lives and property. This turned into a long occupation during which the regiment carried put extensive patrolling, engaged in numerous sharp firefights, and trained a native constabulary. The most notable single action was the reduction of Fort Riviere, the most notorious rebel stronghold. Smedley Butler and Daniel Daly were both awarded their second Medals of Honor for valorous actions in Haiti.[1] In 1916, the unit was redesignated 2nd Regiment, 1st Brigade. In 1933, the 2nd Regiment was redesignated the "2nd Marines." The following year, the 2nd Marines departed Haiti then was disestablished on 15 August 1934.[2]

World War II

The 2nd Marines were reactivated in February 1941 in San Diego, California. This time the regiment was part of the newly formed 2nd Marine Division. The regiment sailed combat-loaded and ready for landing operations on arrival from San Diego aboard five ships on 1 July to the South Pacific in July 1942, as a reinforcement for the 1st Marine Division during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942-43. The 1st Battalion 2nd Marines landed on Florida Island on 7 August 1942[3] with the 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines acting in support of the First Marine Raider Battalion's landing at Tulagi.[4]

The regiment was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation (PUC) for its actions during the final stages of the battle. This was its first such award.[5]

Following Guadalcanal, the regiment moved to New Zealand for rest and recuperation. The regiment then took part in the bloody assault on Tarawa in November 1943. Commanding officer Colonel David M. Shoup, a future Commandant of the Marine Corps, received the Medal of Honor for his stalwart leadership at Tarawa. This was the only Medal of Honor awarded to a member of the regiment during World War II. The regiment's motto is derived from this battle. The regiment received a second PUC for its demonstrated valor there.[6]

Following Tarawa, the regiment participated in the Battle of Saipan and the Battle of Tinian in 1944.[7] The 2nd Marines acted as a pre-landing deception force at both places before coming ashore to join the main attacks. Once again, the regiment was used as a demonstration force during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.[8]

After the Surrender of Japan, the regiment took up occupation duties in Nagasaki, Japan that lasted for nine months. The 2nd Marines returned to take up residence at MCB Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and have remained there as part of the 2nd Marine Division since 1946.

Cold War

At Camp Lejeune the 2nd Marines' primary mission was to act as a force in readiness. This entailed daily training, participation in annual training exercises, and overseas deployments. Among the continuing contingencies were making annual "Med Cruises" as the Sixth Fleet landing force and intermittent forays into the Caribbean. Elements of the 2nd Marines landed at Beirut in 1958, participated in quarantine operations during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and stability operations in the Dominican Republic in 1965. The regiment remained stateside throughout the Vietnam War, but was called out when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. Regimental Landing Team 2 (RLT 2) comprised the ground combat element of the Marine Forces Afloat in the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. A rescue team including regimental assets was formed on the spur of the moment to save Americans and other foreign nationals besieged by rebels in Mogadishu, Somalia. As it had during World War II, RLT 2 acted as a diversion force tying Iraqi forces to the coast while the main attack struck inland during the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. One battalion (2/2) was attached to the 6th Marines to breach the infamous Saddam Line then drive north to seal off Kuwait City. 2nd Marines was awarded a Navy Unit Commendation for its actions in Southwest Asia.[9]


The regiment returned home in 1991, then participated in military operations other than war. These included Haitian relief operations at Camp Lejeune in 1992, humanitarian relief and security operations in Somalia (Operation Restore Hope) in 1993, security operations in Bosnia (Operation Provide Promise and Operation Deny Flight) in 1994, humanitarian interventions in Haiti (Operation Support Democracy and Operation Uphold Democracy) in 1994, humanitarian relief for Cuban refugees (Operation Sea Signal) in 1995, and non-combatant evacuation/security operations in Liberia (Operation Assured Response) in 1996.[10]

Global War on Terrorism

Regimental Combat Team 2 comprised the nucleus of Task Force Tarawa during the 2003 invasion of Iraq in the initial stage of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Its most notable action was the Battle of Nasiriyah to secure a pair of key bridges across the Euphrates River. The fighting there was later dubbed "Ambush Alley" and was the most intense urban warfare seen by the Marine Corps since the Battle of Huế in 1968. Elements of the 2nd Marines also supported the dramatic rescue of Army prisoner of war (POW) Jessica Lynch.[11]

Individual battalions of the 2nd Marines have participated in stability and security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan on a seven-month rotating basis. The most notable actions in Iraq occurred in the Sunni stronghold of Al Anbar province during the battles for Fallujah during which the 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines was attached to the 1st Marine Regiment in 2004 to participate in Operation Vigilant Resolve and Operation Phantom Fury. These intense urban fights were reminiscent of the house-to-house fighting required during the Battle of Seoul during the Korean War in 1950 and the Battle of Hue.[12]

The 2nd Marine Regiment deployed to Iraq in January 2005 as part of the 2nd Marine Division in the Anbar Governorate in western Iraq and returned home in March 2006.

2nd Marine Regiment deployed again to Iraq, Al Anbar province, from December 2006 - January 2008. They were mainly stationed at Al Asad but from March - September 2007 sent a majority of its regiment to Camp Korean Village to assume control there as well.

2nd Marine Regiment deployed to Afghanistan to FOB Delaram II, Nimroz Province from February 2010 to February 2011 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  1. Butler and Daly are the only Marines to receive two MOH awards for separate actions; several Marines received dual Army and Navy MOHs for the same action during World War I.
  2. Danny J. Crawford, et al., The History of the 2d Marine Division and Its Regiments (Washington, DC: Hist&MusDiv, HQMC, 2001).
  5. John L. Zimmerman, The Guadalcanal Campaign (Washington, DC: HistDiv, HQMC, 1949).
  6. James R. Stockman, The Battle For Tarawa (Washington, DC: HistSec, PIDiv, HQMC, 1947).
  7. Carl W. Hoffman, Saipan: The Beginning of the End (Washington, DC: HistDiv, HQMC, 1950); Carl W. Hoffman, The Seizure of Tinian (Washington, DC: HistDiv, HQMC, 1951).
  8. Charles S. Nichols Jr and Henry I. Shaw Jr, Okinawa: Victory in the Pacific (Washington, DC: HistBr, G-3, HQMC, 1955).
  9. Ronald J. Brown, With Marine Forces Afloat in Desert Shield and Desert Storm (Washington, DC: Hist&MusDiv, HQMC, 1998).
  10. Crawford2dMarDiv.
  11. Richard S. Lowry, Marines in the Garden of Eden (New York: Penguin, 2006).
  12. Bing West, No True Glory (New York: Bantam, 2005).

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