Military Wiki
5th Marine Regiment
5th Marine Regiment Logo.jpg
5th Marine Regiment Insignia
Active June 8, 1917–present
Allegiance United States of America
Branch United States Marine Corps
Type Light infantry
Role Locate, close with and destroy the enemy with fire and maneuver
Size 4,800
Part of 1st Marine Division
I Marine Expeditionary Force
Garrison/HQ Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Nickname(s) The Fighting Fifth

World War I

Banana Wars

  • Occupation of Nicaragua

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

Operation Desert Storm
Operation Iraqi Freedom

Colonel Roger Turner
LeRoy P. Hunt
Merritt A. Edson
Oliver P. Smith
Lewis W. Walt
Larry Nicholson

The 5th Marine Regiment is an infantry regiment of the United States Marine Corps based at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. It is the most highly decorated regiment in the Marine Corps and falls under the command of the 1st Marine Division and the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF).

Current Units

The Regiment comprises four infantry battalions and one headquarters company:


World War I

The unit was activated on June 8, 1917, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the 5th Regiment of Marines. They immediately deployed to France and were assigned to the 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army. Later that year, in October, they were reassigned to 4th Brigade of Marines under the 2nd Infantry Division.

In spring the regiment was involved in the fierce battle of Belleau Wood, gaining the respect even of the hardened German veteran front troops.

The Fifth subsequently participated in the offensive campaigns at Aisne, Battle of Saint-Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. They also participated in the defensive campaigns at Toulon-Troyon, Château-Thierry, Marbache and Limey. From 1918 until 1919 the regiment participated in the occupation of the German Rhineland. In August 1919 they relocated back to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. They were deactivated on August 13, 1919.

The regiment's actions in France earned them the right to wear the Fourragère (seen in the outline of the unit's logo), one of only two in the Marine Corps (the other being the 6th Marine Regiment). The award was a result of being the only regiments in the American Expeditionary Force to receive three Croix de guerre citations: two in the order of the army and one in the order of the corps—Fourragère and Croix de guerre with two Palms and Gilt Star. The Fourragère became part of the uniform of the unit, and all members of the organization are authorized to wear the decoration on the left shoulder of the uniform as long as they remain members of the organization.

Three Marines of the regiment were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during the war. Sergeant Louis Cukela, Gunnery Sergeant Ernest A. Janson, and Sergeant Matej Kocak each received two Medals of Honor (one from the Navy and one from the Army) for a single action, making them three of only nineteen double recipients of the medal. In addition, two U.S. Navy officers attached the 5th Marines received the Medal of Honor: Lieutenant Commander Alexander Gordon Lyle of the Navy Dental Corps and Lieutenant Orlando H. Petty of the Medical Corps.[1]

Inter-war years

Unit was Reactivated on July 8, 1920. Elements of the Regiment participated in mail guard duty in the Eastern United States from November 1921 through May 1922 and once again from October 1926 through February 1927.

They then deployed to Nicaragua from January 1927. They continuously fought Nicaraguan Rebels until they were again deactivated on April 11, 1930.

5th Marines was reactivated for the last time on September 1, 1934 at Quantico, Virginia and were assigned to the 1st Marine Brigade. In 1940 they were deployed to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba and reassigned to the 1st Marine Division in February 1941. They were garrisoned at New River, North Carolina.

World War II

5th Marine Regiment wounded are carried back from the front line during the November 1942 U.S. offensive against Japanese forces around the Matanikau River

After the outbreak of war, 5th Marines deployed to Wellington, New Zealand in June 1942. During World War II they fought on Guadalcanal, New Britain, Eastern New Guinea, Peleliu and Okinawa. Immediately following the war in September 1945 they deployed to Tientsin, China and participated in the occupation of North China until May 1947. They were redeployed to Guam in May 1947 and reassigned to the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. In 1949 they were relocated to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Korean War and early 1960s

On August 5, 1950, 5th Marines were deployed to the Pusan Perimeter as part of the Provisional Marine Brigade. From there they participated in the Inchon Landing, Battle of Chosin Reservoir and fighting on the East-Central Front and Western Front until the end of hostilities. Immediately after the war they participated in the defense of the Korean Demilitarized Zone from July 1953 until February 1955. The regiment returned to Camp Pendleton in March 1955.

Vietnam War

On March 5, 1966, 5th Marines once again answered the call and deployed to the Republic of Vietnam. They remained in Vietnam for the next 5 years fighting at Rung Sat, Chu Lai, Phu Loc, Hue, Que Son Valley, An Hoa, Tam Ky and Da Nang. The 5th Marines finally left Vietnam in April 1971. In 2003, former 5th Marine sniper-turned-Vietnam War author, John J. Culbertson,[2] documented in 13 Cent Killers: The 5th Marine Snipers in Vietnam, the true stories of young 5th Marine Regiment marksmen who, as the publisher describes, "fought with bolt rifles and bounties on their heads during the fiercest combat of the war, from 1967 through the desperate Tet battle for Hue in early ’68."[3]

Post-war years through the 1990s

Elements of the regiments participated in Operation New Arrivals which was the relocation of Vietnamese refugees to Camp Pendleton, California from July through December 1975. Their next major action was Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm from August 1990 through April 1991. Combat operations in Southwest Asia were quickly followed by Operation Sea Angel in Bangladesh in May–June 1991.

Global War on Terrorism

On January 5, 2003, 5th Marines deployed to Kuwait with its 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions (1/5, 2/5, 3/5) as part of the force that would be part of the invasion of Iraq. They were supported by elements of the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Tank Battalion, various firing batteries of the 11th Marines, 2nd and 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalions, Company B from the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, and Combat Service Support Company 115 (CSSC–115). These attachments brought regimental strength up to more than 6,000 personnel on any given day. This was the largest the regiment had been in its history.[4]

On March 21, the regiment became the first unit to cross into Iraq as it moved to seize the Rumayllah Oilfields. For the drive north, RCT-5 would advance up a four-lane highway before swinging east toward the Tigris River until the 1st Marine Division reunited to push into the red zone that encompassed Baghdad and its suburbs. After all objectives had been secured, the Marines occupied assigned security sectors and conducted follow-on combat operations. During much of the attack north, the Regiment led the 1st Marine Division in the deepest attack in Marine Corps history. The regiment suffered 12 killed and 126 seriously wounded in 33 days of combat.

From October 2004 to March 2005 the regimental headquarters staff, led by Colonel Stuart Navarre, was deployed to Iraq in order to take over the role of the Iraqi Security Forces training directorate in support of 1st Marine Division at Camp Blue Diamond. Because the regiment wasn't deployed as a regimental combat team the headquarters staff took on the responsibility of working with the Al Anbar Iraqi National Guard (ING) and the Iraqi Police in Ramadi.

In February 2006, the regiment deployed as Regimental Combat Team 5 to the Al Anbar Province, Iraq and assumed control of the greater Fallujah area from the 8th Marine Regiment. They conducted combat operations, which included the training and advising of Iraqi forces in conjunction with Military Transition Teams (MiTT) and Police Transition Teams (PiTT). RCT-5 was camped in Camp Fallujah under the command of I Marine Expeditionary Force(Fwd) until January 2007 when they were relieved in place by the 6th Marine Regiment (RCT 6).[5]

As of December 2007, the 5th Marine Regiment had lost 221 members during combat operations in Iraq. This includes members of the regiment and of other battalions that served under 5th Marines.[6]

In late December 2007 and early January 2008, the Regiment deployed again as Regimental Combat Team 5 (RCT-5) to the Al Anbar Province, Iraq and assumed control of the greater Al Asad area and western portion of the province from the 2nd Marine Regiment (RCT-2). They conducted combat operations, which included the training and advising of Iraqi forces, and along with RCT-1 and Multi National Forces-West (MNF-W), oversaw Anbar's pacification and eventual transfer to Provincial Iraqi Control. RCT-5 also participated in the initial stage of the retrograde of thousands of pieces of equipment out of Iraq. RCT-5 was in Camp Ripper, Al Asad, under the command of I Marine Expeditionary Force (Fwd) and led by Colonel Patrick J. Malay until January 2009 when they were relieved in place by the 8th Marine Regiment (RCT-8). Throughout the deployment, RCT-5 lost one Marine and one Soldier who served in units under the Regiment while conducting combat operations.

In early 2009, 5th Marines was designated as a contingency force due to back-to-back 13 month deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The Regiment continued to participate in exercises and contingency deployments with the 1st Marine Division, and to prepare forces for deployment.

In August 2011, 5th Marines deployed as Regimental Combat Team 5 (RCT-5), for the first time to Helmand province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. They conducted a Relief-In-Place (RIP) with the 1st Marine Regiment (RCT-1) and under the command of Colonel Roger Turner, assumed control of their area of operations of Marjah, Garmsir and Nawa districts. RCT-5 was based out of Camp Dwyer. Their focus was on developing local defense forces in Garmsir and Nawa, mentoring and expanding the police force across southern Helmand, providing further training to the Afghan National Army and supporting the retrograde of thousands of pieces of equipment out of Afghanistan. In early July 2012, RCT-5 conducted a RIP with RCT-6, which was a historic moment since it was the first time in 94 years that the two Regiments have been together on the battlefield. RCT-5 returned to Camp Pendleton, California, in early August 2012. In August 2012, LtCol Jason Bohm (Col select) was selected to be the next Regimental Commander.

In April through early May 2013, 5th Marines participated in Exercise Desert Scimitar at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, 29 Palms, California. The purpose of the exercise was to command and control a Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) as part of the Marine Corps' shift from counterinsurgency back to conventional, linear warfare in light of the war in Afghanistan winding down. The training exercise included units from ground combat, aviation and logistics elements. Fifth Marine Regiment formed as a Regimental Combat Team, focusing on practicing traditional warfare command and control tactics directing infantry, artillery and armored assets. The Regiment practiced direct small and medium arms fire with infantrymen serving with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, and 1st Bn, 7th Marines; high-explosive indirect fires with the artillery of 2nd Bn, 11th Marines; armored support assets of 1st Tank Bn; and 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Bn during the exercise.[7]

In late May 2013, Marines of 5th Marine Regiment participated in a training exhibition with the French 21st Marine Infantry Regiment in Frejus, France. The Marines learned about French weapons systems, including the FAMAS G2 assault rifle. Afterward, they were given the opportunity to fire the weapons on a French military operated rifle range. They also used kayaks to venture into the Mediterranean Sea, providing the Marines with an opportunity to learn about the French Marine’s reconnaissance tactics.[8]

Unit awards

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. The 5th Marine Regiment has been presented with the following awards:

Silver star
Silver star
Presidential Unit Citation with two silver stars
Joint Meritorious Unit Award ribbon.svg Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Bronze star
Bronze star
Navy Unit Commendation with two bronze stars
Bronze star
Meritorious Unit Commendation with one bronze star
Silver star
World War I Victory Medal with one silver star
Army of Occupation of Germany ribbon.svg
Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
Nicaraguan Campaign ribbon 1933.svg
Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal
American Defense Service ribbon.svg
American Defense Service Medal
Silver star
Bronze star
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver and one bronze star
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation ribbon.svg
Navy Occupation Service Medal
China Service Medal ribbon.svg
China Service Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal (with two bronze stars)
Silver star
Silver star
Korean Service Medal with two silver stars
Silver star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal with two silver stars and two bronze stars
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal with three bronze stars
Iraq Campaign ribbon.svg
Iraq Campaign Medal with three bronze stars
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Ruban de la Croix de guerre 1914-1918.png
Croix de guerre
Presidential Unit Citation (South Korea).svg
Korean Presidential Unit Citation
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer
Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Action Medal

Notable members

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  1. "Medal of Honor Recipients - World War I". Medal of Honor Citations. United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. Archived from the original on 7 June 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2010. 
  2. "World: The 13-cent Killers". Friday, Oct. 27, 1967.,9171,841103,00.html. 
  3. John Culbertson (January 1, 2003). 13 Cent Killers: The 5th Marine Snipers in Vietnam. Presidio Press. ISBN 0345459148. 
  4. Brown, LtCol Ronald J., USMC (Ret) (2005). "A Proud Legacy Continues: The Fighting 5th Marines in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM". Marine Corps Association. Archived from the original on 2006-01-06. 
  5. Braden, 1stLt Nathan (March 7, 2006). "RCT-5 partners with Iraqi brigade". Marine Corps News. 1st Marine Division, United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2007-09-03. 
  6. Coolman, LCpl Shawn (December 11, 2007). "RCT-5 remembers fallen". Marine Corps News. 1st Marine Division, United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).