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3rd Battalion 5th Marines
3 5 battalion insignia.png
3/5 Insignia
  • June 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
Allegiance United States
Branch United States Marine Corps
Type Infantry battalion
Role Locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver
Size 1,200
Part of 5th Marine Regiment
1st Marine Division
Garrison/HQ Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Nickname(s) "Dark Horse"
"Consummate Professionals"
Motto(s) "Get Some"
Engagements World War I
* Battle of Belleau Wood
* Battle of Château-Thierry
* Meuse-Argonne Offensive
* Battle of Soissons
* Battle of Saint-Mihiel
Banana Wars
* Occupation of Nicaragua
World War II
* Battle of Guadalcanal
**Battle of Edson's Ridge
* Battle of Cape Gloucester
* Battle of Peleliu
* Battle of Okinawa
Korean War
* Battle of Pusan Perimeter
* Battle of Inchon
* Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Vietnam War
* Operation Union I & II
* Operation Swift
* Battle of Hue
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Sea Angel
Operation Iraqi Freedom
* 2003 invasion of Iraq
* Operation Phantom Fury
Operation Enduring Freedom
LtCol Robert C. Rice

3rd Battalion 5th Marines (3/5) is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps. The battalion, nicknamed "Dark Horse", is based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California and consists of approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors. They fall under the command of the 5th Marine Regiment and the 1st Marine Division.


World War I

3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, along with 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, Muese 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

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 on 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

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

During October 1949, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines was reactivated on Guam. During August 1950, the Battalion deployed to fight the Communist force invading the Republic of Korea. The battalion fought at such places as the Pusan Perimeter, Inchon, Seoul and Chosin Reservoir. 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, Col. Robert Taplett, who was known as Darkhorse Six.

Vietnam War

From June 1966 to March 1971, the 3rd Battalion fought in Vietnam. They fought as such places as Chu-Lai, Da Nang, Quang Nam, 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 the Ross Combat Base.[1] 3/5 was not associated with the name Darkhorse during the Vietnam War. Our Battalion patch was Consummate Professionals

Gulf War and the 1990s

On December 1, 1990, the battalion deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Desert Shield as a Battalion Landing Team (BLT), with the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB). 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 (MCATF). 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

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, 3/5 avenged 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.

Awards and Commendations

To date the battalion has seen eight members decorated with the Navy Cross, all for gallantry in combat. Two in Korea, five in Iraq, and the most recent one in Afghanistan awarded to Sgt Matthew T. Abbate. This is the most for any unit in the Marine Corps.[citation needed]

Nickname Darkhorse

The battalion's nickname "Darkhorse" sprang from the radio call sign of its commander in Korea, Col Robert Taplett, who was known as Darkhorse Six. The name fell out of use until 2003; during the training to return to Iraq in 2004 the battalion's CO, Lt Col P J Malay requested use of the Darkhorse call sign as a homage to the Marines bravery in Korea; this was approved by the Regimental Commander, Col Stewart Navarre. For the past ten years the nickname has stuck and the battalion now uses it on their unofficial patches.

Notable members


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "History of the Darkhorse (1980's a.k.a The Mengadai". Official 3/5 Website. Archived from the original on 13 March 2008. 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. Associated Press (June 21, 2006). "7 Marines, 1 Sailor Charged With Murder – News Story – WMAQ | Chicago". MSNBC. Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-21. 
  4. "S.J. troops charged in murder". June 22, 2006. 
  5. Sixbey, Cpl. Mark (August 9, 2006). "Darkhorse Marines find, capture Jill Carroll's kidnappers". Marine Corps News. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2008-03-10. [dead link]
  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
  9. iCasualties | OEF | Afghanistan | Fatalities Details
  10. Three Star Marine General's Son Killed in Afghanistan – ABC News
  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. US navy chief: I'm on a mission to stop using oil – tech – 10 May 2011 – New Scientist
  14. "Hall of Valor - Matthew T. Abbate". Military Times. Military Times Publishing Co.. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  16. Marine Corps News | Rochester, N.Y. Marine, receives Navy Cross from web archive of United States Marine Corps website


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.


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