USMC 1/3 Lava Dogs

The 1st Battalion 3rd Marines is an infantry battalion in the US Marine Corps, based in Hawaii. With approximately 800 Marines and Sailors, the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines is a Light Infantry Unit of the 3rd Marine Division. Since 1942, the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines have been a living proof or their motto: "Fortune Favors the Brave


The mission of the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines is to locate, close with and destroy the enemy with fire and maneuver, or to repel his assault by fire and close combat.


Originally activated on May 1, 1942 1/3 came to existence as the 1st Training Battalion. On June 17, it was renamed as the 1st Battalion 3rd Marine Regiment.

As part of Operation Cartwheel, the USMC 1st Battalion 3rd Marines met the Japanese in combat in November 1943 in the Battle of Bougainville. For nearly two months, the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines fought against a formidable enemy, through deep swamps and dense jungles.

As the Pacific Island Hopping Campaign continued, the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines were sent to Guadalcanal.

On July 21, 1944, the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines participated in the amphibious assault of Guam. Once again, the Japanese fought tenaciously and the fighting cost the lives of several Marines.

In September 1945, War World II came to an end with the Japanese surrender. Although the hostilities had ceased, several islands in the Pacific were still heavily occupied by the Japanese forces. 1/3 was ordered to participate in the demilitarization of the Islands, earning the nickname “Chichi Jima Marines”. Chichi Jima was a fortress located in the Ogasawara Island chain. On December 13, 1945 the Japanese flag flying over Chichi Jima was lowered from its staff, and presented to the Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines.

On March 1965 the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines became the second infantry unit to imprint their boots into Vietnamese soil. The battalion spent almost six months, until being withdrawn to Japan. On November 18, 1/3 was sent back to Vietnam.

Vietnam War Tet OffensiveOn January 30, 1968, the US fought in one of the largest military campaigns of the Vietnam War: the Tet Offensive. 1/3 joined the campaign in May, shortly finding itself heavily engaged in fighting North Vietnamese units. On October 5, 1969, the unit departed South Vietnam for the United States.

When Operation Desert Shield was launched on August 2, 1990, the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines deployed to Saudi Arabia, with the instruction to take defensive positions along several strategic points of the coastal highway leading to Kuwait.

After the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center (New York), the Pentagon (Washington DC) and the United Airlines Flight 93 incident, the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines were ordered to leave Japan towards the Middle East to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom.

On April 2003, 1/3 (or BLT 1/3 as known at the time) deployed to Japan, with orders to reinforce Operation Enduring Freedom Philippines. After taking numerous joint missions with Navy SEALs, SWCC, and the CIA in terrorist surveillance activities, and security missions, in early October 2004, the unit arrived in Kuwait and soon after entered Iraq.

usmc-rafael-peralta-navy-crossBattalion Landing Team 1/3 lost a total of 45 Marines during the course of their first combat tour in Iraq. The unit fought in the Second Battle of Fallujah from 7 November to 23 December, 2004. On November 15, 2004, Sergeant Rafael Peralta used his body as a shield to protect his 'brothers-in-arms' from the blast of a grenade that was thrown by insurgents. After being recommended for the Medal of Honor, Peralta received the Navy Cross.

In January 2006, the battalion deployed to eastern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, where they served for five month, until being deployed to Iraq. In November 2009, the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines went back to Afghanistan.