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3rd Battalion, 9th Marines

The 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines (3/9) is an infantry battalion of the United States Marine Corps. Formed during World War I it served until the early 1990s when it was redesignated as 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines (3/4) during a realignment and renumbering of the Marine Corps' infantry battalions, following the deactivation of the 9th Marine Regiment. The 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines was initially a subordinate unit of the 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, but was later operationally transferred to the 1st Marine Division as a subordinate unit of the 7th Marine Regiment where it remained until its redesignation as 3/4.

3rd Battalion, 9th Marines
3-9 official logo.jpg
3/9 Insignia

20 November 1917 — 12 August 1994

  • 21 May 2008 – August 2013
Country United States
Branch USMC
Type Infantry Battalion
Role Locate, close with and destroy the enemy with fire and maneuver, and repel the enemy's assault with fire and close combat
Part of Deactivated
Garrison/HQ Camp Lejeune
Nickname(s) Shadow Warriors
Motto(s) "Death in the Dark" (Vietnam Era), "Striking 3/9" (Post-Vietnam Era)
Engagements World War II
*Battle of Bougainville
*Battle of Guam
*Battle of Iwo Jima
*Vietnam War
*Operation Desert Storm
*Operation Restore Hope
*Operation Iraqi Freedom
*Operation Enduring Freedom
*Operation Dynamic Partners

3/9 was reactivated under the 2nd Marine Division in May 2008 as the Marines expanded as a result of the continuing War on Terror.


Current unitsEdit

The battalion comprised four infantry companies, one weapons company and a headquarters and service company:

  • Headquarters & Service Company
  • India Company
  • Kilo Company
  • Lima Company
  • Mike Company
  • Weapons Company


On 20 November 1917, at Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, the 3rd battalion 9th Marine Regiment was organized. With the end of hostilities, the need for the battalion evaporated, so the entire regiment embarked 10 April 1919 aboard USS Hancock for Philadelphia, where it arrived and unloaded 25 April. The same day, the unit officially disbanded.

World War IIEdit

3rd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment was reactivated on 12 February 1942, at Camp Elliot, San Diego, California as part of the 2nd Marine Division. The battalion was formed by a nucleus of officers and Marines from the 2nd Marine Regiment. In September 1942, the battalion was relocated to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and reassigned to the 3rd Marine Division. The battalion was initially deployed to Cape Paerata, New Zealand in February 1943 and then moved to Guadalcanal in July of that year.

3/9 participated in the following campaigns during World War Two: Bougainville, Northern Solomons, Guam, and Iwo Jima. At Iwo Jima, 3/9 had the distinction of making the only battalion size unsupported, non-illuminated night attack against the Japanese in the Pacific War. Attesting to the ferocity of combat on Iwo Jima, all 22 of the battalions officers that landed on D-Day were killed or wounded by the end of the battle.[1] For their service at Iwo Jima, the battalion received the Presidential Unit Citation. The battalion was disbanded on 31 October 1945.

Vietnam WarEdit

3/9 became the first battalion-sized ground combat unit to be deployed to Vietnam when they landed on 8 March 1965 in Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam. Over the course of the next four and a half years, the battalion operated from Da Nang, An Hoa and Quảng Trị and participated in over 40 combat operations, including Operation Double Eagle, Operation Buffalo and Operation Dewey Canyon. The battalion redeployed on 13 August 1969, after four years of continuous combat operations.[2]

Kilo and India companies were deployed to Bien Hoa Air Base to provide ground support, for Marine Aircraft Group 12 (MAG-12) in May 1972. They remained at Bien Hoa until January 1973.[3]

Kilo Co.3/9 was deployed to Bien Hoa Vietnam from Okinawa on May 22, 1972, India Co. 3/9 relieved Kilo Co. on August 26, 1972 and remained at Bien Hoa until 3 Feb 1973. The last U.S. Marine killed in action before the war ended at 08:00 on 28 January 1973 (local) was PFC Mark Miller who was killed on 26 January 1973, listed as a member of MGAG-12, he was in fact a member of India Company 3/9 on temporary assignment to MAG-12.[4]

The 1980s and 1990sEdit

During 1986 though 1987 3/9 was commanded by LtCol James L Jones who later became the Commandant of the Marine Corps, NATO Commander, and the National Security Adviser. During 1986 the battalion participated in the filming of Heartbreak Ridge in Camp Pendleton, California and Hamburger Hill while deployed to the Philippines. From March 1990 to April 1990 3/9 was deployed to Honduras, to train the Honduras Military to fight against Rebels from Niceragua and El Salvador. During this time they were detached to the CIA who had a Base close to that broder region. They were sent on patrols and participated when fired upon and they would defuse land mines placed around friendly villages who supported the Honduron Military. Participated in Operation Desert Shield between August 1990 and January 1991. Participated in Operation Desert Storm between January 1991 and March 1991. There they participated in the Battle of Kuwait International Airport. Participated in Operation Restore Hope between 1992 and 1993. Deactivated on 2 September 1994 and redesignated 3rd Battalion 4th Marines.


On 7 December 2006, Headquarters Marine Corps released a message stating that 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines would be reactivated during 2008 as part of the continuing Global War on Terror.[5]

On 20 May 2008, 3/9 was reactivated at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina under the 2nd Marine Division.[6][7]

In July 2009, 3rd Battalion 9th Marines deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They came home within 3 months due to troop withdrawals in Iraq.

In December 2010, 3rd Battalion 9th Marines deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While in Marjah, Helmand province, the Marines and Sailors of 3/9 successfully fought the Taliban out of an area twice the size of what the previous secure areas of Marjah had been. The Marine and Sailors of 3rd battalion, 9th Marine Regiment returned to America in early July 2011.

In October 2012, 3rd Battalion 9th Marines deployed to Garmsir, Helmand, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. By the time 3/9 returned stateside, in May 2013, half the number of bases occupied by Marines had been either demilitarized or successfully turned over to local Afghan police and army forces.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 marked the fifth time that 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines cased its colors aboard Camp Lejeune, this time under the command of LtCol. Carl E. Cooper, Jr.

Medal of Honor recipientsEdit

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. It is bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself or herself "... conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States ...".[8] The following table contains the names of the men who were recipients of the Medal of Honor while serving in 3/9. They are listed in accordance to the "Date of Action" in which the MoH citation was made.

Name Rank Unit Place Date of action Ref.
John P. Bobo
Second Lieutenant Company I, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam 25 March 1967 [9]
Thomas E. Creek
Lance Corporal Company I, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division Cam Lo, Republic of Vietnam 13 February 1969 [10]
Alfred M. Wilson
Private First Class Company M, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam 3 March 1969 [11]

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. 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines has been presented with the following awards:

Presidential Unit Citation with one bronze star
  Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Navy Unit Commendation with two bronze service stars
Meritorious Unit Commendation with one bronze service star
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four bronze stars
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal (with two bronze stars)
Korean Service Medal with two silver stars
  Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with two silver stars and one bronze stars
Southwest Asia Service Medal with two bronze stars
Korean Presidential Unit Citation
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
  Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
  Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

Notable former membersEdit

  • Joe Fulks, served in Headquarters Company during World War II

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Hastings (2007), p262
  2. ^ Vietnam Stats for 9th Marines
  3. ^ pp. 161–162
  4. ^ "PFC Mark Jeffrey Miller". The Virtual Wall. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "MARADMIN 582/06 – PUBLICATION OF FISCAL YEARS 2007 THROUGH 2013 TABLES OF ORGANIZATION AND EQUIPMENT (T/OE)". U.S. Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 11 December 2006. Retrieved 12 December 2006. 
  6. ^ Associated Press (21 May 2008). "New unit activated at Lejeune". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 22 May 2008. 
  7. ^ "3/9 Lineage". 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines. Retrieved 22 May 2008. 
  8. ^ "Title 2, Chapter V, Part 58, Sec. 578.4 "Medal of Honor"". Code of Federal Regulations. 1 July 2002. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  9. ^ "Second Lieutenant, John Paul Bobo, USMC (Deceased)". Who’s Who in Marine Corps History. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 23 May 2008. 
  10. ^ "Lance Corporal Thomas E. Creek, USMC". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 23 May 2008. 
  11. ^ "Private First Class Alfred M. Wilson., USMC (Deceased)". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 23 May 2008. 
  • Hastings, Max (2007). Retribution – The Battle for Japan, 1944–45. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-307-26351-3. 
  • Rottman, Gordon L. (2002). U.S. Marine Corps World War II Order of Battle – Ground and Air Units in the Pacific War, 1939–1945s. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-31906-5.