2nd Battalion, 1st Marines

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2nd Battalion, 1st Marines (2/1) is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps based out of Camp Horno on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Nicknamed "The Professionals," the battalion consists of approximately 1,200 Marines and sailors. Normally they fall under the command of the 1st Marine Regiment and the 1st Marine Division.

2nd Battalion, 1st Marines
2-1 Logo.svg
2nd Battalion, 1st Marines insignia
ActiveAugust 1, 1922 – July 20, 1924
March 1, 1941 – October 31, 1947
August 4, 1950 – January 24, 1989
September 9, 1994 – present
Country United States of America
Branch United States Marine Corps
TypeLight infantry
RoleLocate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver
Part of1st Marine Regiment
1st Marine Division
Garrison/HQMarine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Nickname(s)Gunsmoke, The Professionals, Ghost Battalion
Motto(s)No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy
EngagementsWorld War II

Korean War

Vietnam War
War on Terror

LtCol Brad E. Whited
James M. Masters, Sr.
Edwin A. Pollock
William W. Stickney
Charles F. Widdecke
Archie Van Winkle
William G. Leftwich, Jr.
Peter Pace

Subordinate unitsEdit


The battalion was activated August 1, 1922, at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as the 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment and was assigned to the 2nd Brigade. The battalion played a role in the occupation of the Dominican Republic, after which it was deactivated on July 20, 1924.

World War IIEdit

Two Marines, Davis P. Hargraves with Thompson submachine gun and Gabriel Chavarria with BAR, of 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, advance on Wana Ridge on May 18, 1945.
Lt. Colonel William W. Stickney cuts a Thanksgiving cake with a Japanese officer's sword at Guadalcanal, as marines of 2nd Battalion look on.

The battalion was reactivated March 1, 1941, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines and was assigned to the 1st Marine Division of the Fleet Marine Force. The force was active for only a brief period of time, during which it was deployed to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. The unit was again deactivated on June 14, 1941.

Shortly after the United States entered into World War II, the unit was reactivated February 11, 1942, at New River, North Carolina. It was again assigned to the 1st Marine Division, which deployed in July 1942 to Wellington, New Zealand. The battalion participated in numerous campaigns in the Pacific Theater of WWII, and was a part of the American advance into Japanese territory in the Pacific. The first of these was the Guadalcanal Campaign, during which the battalion defended Henderson Field, an airfield on Guadalcanal, and withstood Japanese bombings of the strategic location. They later participated in Operation Cartwheel, specifically the Battle of Cape Gloucester, during which they withstood several Japanese Banzai charges. Later, during the Battle of Peleliu, the unit suffered heavy casualties during their defense of the Umurbrogal Pocket. In their last engagement in the Pacific, the unit participated in the decisive Battle of Okinawa, taking part in the capture of Shuri during poor weather conditions.

At the close of World War II, in September 1945, the unit was redeployed to Tiensin, China, where they were a part of the occupation of northern China until October 1947, when the unit was deactivated.

Korean War and early 1960sEdit

2nd Battalion was reactivated August 4, 1950, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and again assigned to the 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. It was almost immediately deployed to Kobe, Japan in preparation for its participation in the Korean War from September 1950 – July 1953, during which it fought at Inchon-Seoul, Chosin Reservoir, the East Central Front, and the Western Front. After the war, the unit aided in the defense of the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

After the war, in April 1955, the unit was relocated to Camp Pendleton, California, where it participated in the transplacement system between the 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions.

Vietnam WarEdit

Post War and the 1980sEdit

  • Participated during April – May 1975 in Operation New Arrivals, the relocation of refugees from Indochina
  • Participated in the Battalion rotation between the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa and Divisions stationed in the United States during the 1980s
  • Deactivated January 24, 1989
  • Reactivated September 9, 1994, at Camp Pendleton, CA, and assigned to the 1st Marine Division.

Global War on TerrorismEdit

Marines from Echo Company passing the body of an alleged Iraqi insurgent during the First Battle of Fallujah.

As part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the battalion deployed to Kuwait in February 2003, and participated in the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The battalion deployed in March 2004, to Fallujah, Iraq and took part in Operation Vigilant Resolve. They returned to Iraq in 2005 with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and engaged in combat operations during Operation Steel Curtain in Husaybah, Karabilah, and New Ubaydi, and Operation Iron Hammer in Hit. The battalion deployed to Okinawa to serve as the Ground Combat Unit for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit from January 1, 2007, until January 1, 2008. The battalion deployed to Iraq in January 2009 and returned in August of the same year.

The battalion deployed to Afghanistan in October 2010 through May 15, 2011, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. They operated in the Garmsir District, Helmand Province. In June 2012, the battalion returned to Okinawa as the Ground Combat Element for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. In March 2014, 2/1 deployed as the Ground Combat Element of the 11th MEU.

Marines with Golf Company of 2nd Battalion conduct physical training on the flight deck of the USS Makin Island during Amphibious Squadron Marine Expeditionary Unit Integration, off the coast of San Diego, California, April 2014.

Unit awardsEdit

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. 2/1 has been presented with the following awards:

Ribbon Unit Award
Presidential Unit Citation with one Silver and four Bronze Stars
Navy Unit Commendation with three Bronze Stars
Meritorious Unit Commendation with four Bronze Stars
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
American Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Star
  Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one Silver and one Bronze Star
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia clasp
China Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal with three Bronze Stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with two Silver and three Bronze Stars
Korean Presidential unit Citation
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer
Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Action Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one Bronze Star
Iraq Campaign Medal with three Bronze Stars
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korea Defense Service Medal

Notable former membersEdit


Get Results

Uphold The Legacy

Never Quit

Spirited Ethos

Mutual Trust


Know Your Stuff

Everyday Counts Towards Combat Effectiveness

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Shulimson, Jack; LtCol. Leonard Blasiol; Charles R. Smith; Capt. David A. Dawson (1997). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: 1968, the Defining Year. History and Museums Division, USMC. pp. 65–69.
  2. ^ Shulimson, p.160-175
  3. ^ Telfer, Gary (1984). U.S. Marines in Vietnam, Fighting the North Vietnamese 1967. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. p. 52.
  4. ^ Telfer, p.141
  5. ^ Telfer, p.180-181
  6. ^ Shulimson, p. 723
  7. ^ Shulimson, p. 232
  8. ^ Shulimson, p. 316-320
  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.