The First of the Seventh
The 1st Battalion 7th Marines is a battalion-level infantry unit composed of infantry Marines and support personnel. The 1/7 is comprised of H&S Co, Animal Co, Baker Co, Charlie Co, and Weapons Co.
Pride, Devotion, Loyalty, is the 1st Battalion 7th Marines´ motto.
1st Battalion 7th Marines Mission
The mission of1st Battalion 7th Marines Marine Infantry Battalion is to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, or to repel his assault by fire and close combat.
World War II: Suicide Charley
On 24 October 1942, the 1st Marine Division was occupying a defensive position around Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. The 1st Battalion 7th Marines, commanded by LtCol Lewis B “Chesty” Puller helped form this line. “C” Company was flanked by “B” Company on the right and “A” Company on the left.
At approximately 10.00 pm on 24 October 1942, the Japanese launched a major offensive, throwing three regiments and part of a brigade against the battle weary Marines. Charley Company received the brunt of the Japanese attack. The morning of 25 October found the defensive line of the 1st Marine Division still intact. The Japanese attack was repelled.
Later that morning, a flag appeared over the “C” Company position. It consisted of white Japanese parachute material with a skull and cross bones crudely painted on it and inscribed with the word 1st Battalion, 7th Marines “Suicide Charley”. The flag continued to appear throughout the hard fought battle for Guadalcanal.
The “Suicide Charley” flag was not seen again until the battle for Peleliu. During one particular phase of that bloody battle, a replica of the original appeared briefly to inspire the tired Marines to victory.
Korea provided the stage for the next appearance of this battle symbol. While on “R&R” in Japan, some members of “C” Company, 1st Battalion 7th Marines, had a new “Suicide Charley” flag made and proudly carried it back to Korea, misspelled name and all.
From that day on, the black and white “Suicide Charley” flag has traveled the world over with the company. Many replicas of the original flag have come and gone throughout the years. The history of “Suicide Charley” has been passed to each new generation of Marines. In 1961 the Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division authorized “C” Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines to display and carry the “Suicide Charley” guidon at all official ceremonies and functions. The tradition remains in effect today.
1st Battalion 7th Marines History
The history of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines began on 1 April 1921 in San Diego, California. Over the next decades 1st Battalion, 7th Marines was activated, re-designated, and disbanded on numerous occasions until being reborn on 1 January 1941.
The battalion boarded ships for the Pacific Theater and World War II, where they saw their first action of the war at Guadalcanal, and later on during many different campaigns, including Peleliu and Okinawa. Finally, the Battalion deployed to North China for occupation duty at the end of the war.
In 1950, the Battalion was again called into action. On September 21, 1950, the 1/7 made an amphibious landing at Inchon, Korea. It was during the Korean Conflict that such names as First Lieutenant Frank Mitchell, Staff Sergeant Archie Van Winkle, and Lieutenant Colonel Raymond C. Davis became part of Marine Corps history as each received the Medal of Honor.
In August 1965, the Battalion was once again called to service, this time in the Republic of Vietnam. For the next five years, the "First Team" participated in numerous operations such as Starlight, Piranha and Oklahoma Hills. During these operations and many others, the Battalion was honored repeatedly, earning the Presidential Unit Citation Streamer four times and the Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer three times.
1st Battalion, 7th Marines was the first unit to man defensive positions in Saudi Arabia during Operation DESERT SHIELD in August of 1990. As DESERT SHIELD became DESERT STORM, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines participated in the diagonal thrust into the heart of Kuwait City.