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3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade
3D MEB Emblem.jpg
3rd MEB insignia
Active December 14, 1917 - April 30, 1919
march 28, 1927 - January 14, 1929
March 21, 1942 - July 14, 1947
June 1, 1951 - January 7, 1952
May 1962 - June 27, 1971
January 1, 2000 - present
Country United States
Allegiance United States of America
Branch United States Marine Corps
Part of III Marine Expeditionary Force
Garrison/HQ Camp Courtney, Okinawa
Brigadier General Craig Q. Timberlake
Smedley Butler
Thomas Watson
Chesty Puller
Marion Eugene Carl
Timothy F. Ghormley

The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade is a United States Marine Corps unit that is the "middleweight" crises response force of choice in the Pacific Area of Operation. It is the Marine Corps’ only permanently forward-deployed Brigade sized Marine Air-Ground Task Force,[1] is a force in readiness able to deploy rapidly by any and all means and conduct operations across the spectrum from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to amphibious assault and high intensity combat. 3d MEB maintains a forward presence in the Pacific Theater to support contingencies and alliance relationships. 3d MEB also conducts combined operations and training throughout the region in support of United States national security strategy.


Early years

In December 1917 the 3rd Provisional Brigade was activated in Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia from elements of the Advanced Base Force and was subsequently deployed to Cuba[2] to protect U.S. sugar producing interests, which were becoming victim to sabotage by German-backed Cuban rebels. Upon arrival in Cuba with the 9th Marine Regiment, the Brigade took control of the 7th Marine Regiment and began to protect U.S. owned property, freeing up the Cuban Army to chase the rebels. In early 1918 rebel activity had subsided and the Brigade was relocated in August 1918 to Galveston, Texas to serve as a ready force should a contingency arise in the Caribbean. The following April the Brigade was deactivated.

In March 1927, the 3rd Marine Brigade was again activated at MCB Quantico under the command of Brigadier General Smedley Butler. The Brigade subsequently deployed to Shanghai, China with artillery and aviation assets.[3] Once they arrived in China, the brigade took control of the 4th Marine Regiment and the 6th Marine Regiment upon their arrival in May. During this period, the Brigade was responsible for aiding the foreign powers present in keeping the Chinese out of the international settlement, which was becoming a target of Chinese anti-foreign sentiment. In 1928, Chiang Kai-shek became president of China and the Brigade was subsequently withdrawn and deactivated in January 1929.

World War II

In March 1942, the Brigade was reactivated at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina and deployed to Western Samoa, to garrison and defend the island. The Brigade was again deactivated in November 1943.

In 1946 the Marine Corps was ordered to begin demobilizing its ranks. When the 6th Marine Division, stationed in Tsingtao, China began to deactivate, the remaining headquarters, service, medical, and artillery battalions along with the 4th Marine Regiment were redesignated the 3d Marine Brigade in April. They continued to perform occupation duties until the remaining Brigade personnel were absorbed into the 4th Marine Regiment in June and the Brigade again ceased to exist.

Post-war Southern California and the newly established Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton saw massive numbers of Marines and units returning from the war in the Pacific. In September 1946 as replacement draftees were being sent overseas to allow the combat veterans performing occupation duties to return home, the 3rd Marine Brigade was again established with the 6th Marine Regiment as its nucleus. The Brigade consisted primarily of administrative groups and some infantry units as they returned to the states to be deactivated. In May 1947 the 1st Marine Division reclaimed the rest of the personnel returning from overseas as well as those in the Brigade, which again was deactivated.

1950s through 1990s

After the Marine Corps’ quick response to the Korean War and expansion of its ranks, the Brigade headquarters was again established in June 1951 around the 3rd Marine Regiment at MCB Camp Pendleton. In 1952 Congress mandated that the Marine Corps be maintained at a strength no less than three divisions and aircraft wings. In response, the Commandant of the Marine Corps designated the 3rd Marine Brigade as the nucleus of the soon to be reactivated 3rd Marine Division. In January 1952, the Brigade was absorbed by the division and once again ceased to exist.

In May 1962, in response to the Soviet Union aiding the Pathet Lao Army in Laos, the 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade was formed from 3rd Marine Division personnel and began landing 3000 Marines as a show of force in Thailand[4] as a component of Joint Task Force 116. The MEB forces included the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, HMR-261 and VMA-332. The show of force was over by August and the MEB was reabsorbed into the 3rd Marine Division.

In April 1965 as the forces began to build up in the Republic of Vietnam, the 3d MEB was reactivated at Camp Hague, Okinawa, boarded transport ships of the 7th Fleet and sailed for the Republic of Vietnam. En route to the Republic of Vietnam, the MEB was redesignated the 3rd Marine Amphibious Brigade. They arrived off the coast later that month, conducted a landing in Chu Lai[5] and established an expeditionary airfield. At the end of the month the MAB was deactivated and absorbed into the III Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF).

In April 1971, III MAF withdrew from the Republic of Vietnam[6] and the 3rd MAB was reactivated at Da Nang to oversee the 13,600 Marines of the 1st Marine Regiment, MAG-11 and MAG-16, which remained in country while the Combined Action Program was phased out. On 7 May, ground and air operations ceased, the last ground troops sailed in June, and the 3d MAB was subsequently deactivated.

2000 – present

In January 2000 III MEF Forward, in the midst of supporting International Force for East Timor during Operation Stabilize, stood down and the 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade was reactivated. Since its reactivation, it has been actively engaged in regional contingency planning as well as numerous joint and combined exercises.

In late 2004, 3rd MEB provided most of the forces for Joint Task Force 535, which provided disaster relief after floods in the Philippines.[7][8]

During May and June 2006 the 3d MEB provided logistics and medical support to thousands of victims of the Indonesian earthquake that occurred as a result of the numerous eruptions from Mount Merapi on the island of Java. Also in 2006, 3d MEB assisted with relief to mudslide victims as a result of the Mayon Volcano in Republic of Philippines. The MEB has a longstanding tradition of humanitarian assistance within the Philippines, and 2007 saw the culmination of Operation Goodwill, a three-part mission involving 3rd MEB and USS Comstock (LSD-45).

On 13 December 2011, the 3d MEB was officially reactivated ( and has subsequently participated in exercises and operations throughout the Pacific region. The 3d MEB was declared Initially Operationally Capable in September 2012 ( and is on track to be Fully Operationally Capable by the end of Fiscal Year 2013. Since reactivation, the MEB has participated in exercises such as Ssang Yong, Ulchi Freedom Guardian, Balikatan and PHIBLEX. The MEB has also participated in real-world relief operations in Japan and, most recently, the Philippines ( In its current role, the 3d MEB provides the Commanding General of III Marine Expeditionary Force with tailored, scalable force options that can rapidly deploy in support of small scale contingencies and crisis response throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

See also


External links

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