Marine Corps Installations West-MCB Camp Pendleton
Marine Corps Installations West and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton merged into a single command April 5, 2012. Marine Corps Installations West consists of five Marine Corps bases and stations in the Southwestern United States, including MCB Camp Pendleton, MCAS Camp Pendleton, MCAS Miramar, MCAS Yuma and MCLB Barstow. MCI West also performs various support functions for MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, MWTC Bridgeport and MCRD San Diego. MCI West provides the installation and training infrastructure to enable Marine Corps air and ground forces to develop and sustain operational readiness. To this end, the primary mission is to support training, sustaining and deploying the warfighter and to provide their families with services that enrich their lives.
To remain the nation’s premier expeditionary force in readiness, Marines must train as they fight, with access to interconnected sea, land and air ranges. The varied terrain and climate of the Southwest make it an ideal place to prepare Marines for combat. Forty percent of the Marine Corps’ combat power resides in the Southwest, along with 85 percent of its ground training areas and ranges and 80 percent of its land holdings. Even more significant, 95 percent of Marines train in the region (predominantly California) before deploying overseas.
I Marine Expeditionary Force
I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) was activated in Okinawa on Nov. 8, 1969, and was reassigned to Camp Pendleton on April 14, 1971.
I MEF is composed of I Marine Expeditionary Force, Headquarters Group, 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, 1st Marine Division, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, 1st Marine Logistics Group, and the 11th, 13th and 15th Marine Expeditionary units.
I MEF is expeditionary in nature, planning for and conducting worldwide missions across the entire spectrum of conflict, from humanitarian assistance to direct combat operations and major theater warfare. This versatility makes I MEF one of the premier forces in readiness in the United States military. The I MEF staff plans for, conducts and supervises the training of Marine Air-Ground Task Force elements as required to meet these contingency taskings. Furthermore, I MEF is charged with developing standing operating procedures for all aspects of Marine Air-Ground Task Force operations and for the promulgation of contingency and war plans.
In 2004, I MEF commanded 43,000 U.S. and United Kingdom forces in Iraq and Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom II. In 2003, I MEF commanded more than 80,000 U.S. and U.K. forces in Iraq and Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In addition, I MEF supported Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2002, participated in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia in 1993, and participated in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Southwest Asia from 1990 to 1991.
Recently, I MEF has participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Today, as a formidable organization within Marine Air-Ground Task Force concept, I MEF task organizes 50,000 Marines and sailors to conduct worldwide operations.
1st Marine Division
The 1st Marine Division was activated aboard the battleship USS Texas on Feb. 1, 1941. It is the oldest and most decorated division-sized unit in the United Stated Marine Corps. Divisional regiments were in existence as early as March 8, 1911, when the 1st Marine Regiment was formed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It saw action in Haiti in 1915, in the Dominican Republic in 1916 and throughout the Caribbean during World War I.
The 5th Marine Regiment was created at Vera Cruz, Mexico, on July 13, 1914. It served in Santo Domingo in 1925 and participated in 15 major engagements during World War I. These included Belleau Wood, Chateau Theory and Chiercy Mihiel. On Aug. 11, 1917, 7th Marines was activated in Philadelphia. It spent the duration of World War I in Cuba and was disbanded after the war. It was reactivated in 1941.
The 11th Marine Regiment was formed in January 1918 at Quantico, Virginia, as a light artillery regiment. The regiment went to France as an infantry unit, providing a machine gun company and a guard company. Decommissioned and reactivated twice between world wars, the regiment again served as an infantry unit in Nicaragua. Re-formed in 1940 as a fullfledged artillery unit, 11th Marines joined 1st Marine Division.
Guadalcanal was the first major American offensive of World War II. Launched Aug. 7, 1942, this operation awarded the division its first of three World War II Presidential Unit citations. The following citations were awarded at Peleliu and Okinawa.
“The Old Breed” was the unit chosen to land at Inchon, Korea, on Sept. 15, 1950, adding another PUC to its list of decorations. A fifth PUC was for the division’s “Attack in the opposite direction,” fighting its way out of the Chosin Reservoir against Communist Chinese divisions. The Chinese suffered an estimated 37,500 casualties trying to stop the Marines’ march out of the “Frozen Chosin.” Battles between April and September earned the division its sixth PUC.
The 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines returned to Guantanamo Bay for two months in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis. More than 11,000 Marines of the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade participated in the naval blockade, which forced the withdrawal of the missiles from Cuba.
Less than three years later, the division was again on the move. In 1965, 7th Marines participated in operations Starlight and Piranha, the first major engagements for American ground troops in South Vietnam. March 1966 saw 1st Marine Division Headquarters established at Chu Lai. By June, the entire division was in South Vietnam. Its zone of operation included the southern two provinces of I Corps — Quang Tin and Quang Ngai. Between March and October 1966 to May 1967, the division conducted 44 named operations. Major engagements included operations Hastings and Union I and II. In these operations, 1st Marine Division units decisively defeated the enemy.
During the 1968 Tet Offensive, the division was involved in fierce fighting with both Viet Cong and North Vietnamese army elements. It was successful in beating back enemy assaults in its operation areas.
After six hard years of combat, 1st Marine Division returned home to Camp Pendleton in 1971, closing another chapter of dedicated service to Corps and country.
In 1975, the division supported the evacuation of Saigon by providing food and temporary shelter at Camp Pendleton for Vietnamese refugees as they arrived in the United States.
In 1990, 1st Marine Division formed the nucleus of the massive force sent to Southwest Asia in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. During Operation Desert Shield, the division supported the I Marine Expeditionary Force in the defense of Saudi Arabia from the Iraqi threat. In 1991, the division went on the offensive with the rest of Coalition Forces in Operation Desert Storm. In 100 hours of ground offensive combat, 1st Marine Division helped to liberate Kuwait, smashing the Iraqi army in the process.
Immediately following the Persian Gulf conflict, the division sent units to assist in relief efforts following a typhoon in Bangladesh (Operation Sea Angel) and a volcanic eruption in the Philippines (Operation Fiery Vigil). In December 1992, Operation Restore Hope, bringing relief to famine-stricken Somalia, kicked off with the early morning amphibious landing of Marines from the Camp Pendleton-based 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which was supported by Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. More than 15,000 metric tons of food was successfully distributed from 398 food sites in the city during the operation. The final phase of the operation involved the transition from a U.S. peacemaking force to a United Nations peacekeeping force. U.S. Marine involvement in Operation Restore Hope officially ended April 27, 1993, when the humanitarian relief sector of Mogadishu was handed over to Pakistani forces.
The 1st Marine Division participated in Operation Enduring Freedom after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In March 2003, the Marines brought freedom to the oppressed people of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The division was the tip of the spear during the combat phase of the operations.
Today the 1st Marine Division is a multirole, expeditionary ground combat force. The division is employed as the ground combat element (GCE) of I MEF or may provide task-organized forces for assault operations and such operations as may be directed. The 1st Marine Division must be able to provide the ground amphibious forcible entry capability to the naval expeditionary force (NEF) and to conduct subsequent land operations in any operational environment. The 1st Marine Division is currently composed of 1st, 5th, 7th and 11th Marines; Headquarters Battalion; 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion; 1st and 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance battalions; 1st Combat Engineer Battalion; 1st Tank Battalion; and 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. These units represent a combat-ready force of more than 19,000 men and women.
Headquarters Battalion provides command and administration for the 1st Marine Division. Within the battalion are a Headquarters and Service Company, Military Police Company, Communications Company and Truck Company. The division headquarters is in the 11 Area, while the Headquarters Battalion and its companies are in the 33 Area.
The 1st, 5th and 7th Marines each consist of one headquarters company and four infantry battalions, with one battalion deployed outside the continental United States at all times. The infantry battalions are the basic tactical units that the regiment uses to accomplish its mission of locating, closing with and destroying the enemy by fire and close combat. The 1st and 5th regiments are in the 53 and 62 areas, respectively. The 7th Marines are in Twentynine Palms, California.
The 11th Marine Regiment consists of a headquarters battery and four artillery battalions. The 11th Marines is the primary source of fire support for the 1st Marine Division in amphibious assault and subsequent operations ashore. It provides direct and general fire support to front-line units as required by the infantry commanders. The 11th Marine Regiment organic weapon is the 155 mm howitzer (M777 towed howitzers). The Las Pulgas (43) Area is home to the 11th Marines, 1/11 and 2/11. The Las Flores (41) Area is home to 5/11 and 3/11 is at Twentynine Palms.
The 1st Tank Battalion was activated Nov. 1, 1941, and is at Twentynine Palms. Its mission is to provide combat power to 1st Marine Division in the form of amphibious and Maritime Preposition Forces and to conduct operations ashore utilizing the enemy.
As a separate battalion, 1st Tank Battalion is responsible for providing armored assets as well as anti-armor systems and staff expertise in their employment. The 1st Tank Battalion is equipped with the M1A2 Abrams Battle Tank. The 1st Combat Engineer Battalion performs many specific functions, while fulfilling its mission of providing both tactical and logistical engineer support to 1st Marine Division. The battalion shares the San Mateo (62) Area with 5th Marines.
The mission of the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion is to transport the surface assault elements of the landing force from amphibious shipping to inland objectives during the amphibious assault and to provide support to mechanized operations ashore. The amphibious assault vehicles are primarily used to transport personnel in tactical operations. The battalion is located in the Camp Del Mar (21) Area.
The division has two light armored reconnaissance battalions. The mission of an LAR battalion is to conduct reconnaissance, security and economy of force operations and within its capabilities, limited offensive or delaying operations that exploit the unit’s mobility and firepower. The 1st LAR Battalion was activated May 31, 1985, and is at the Las Flores (41) Area. The 3rd LAR Battalion was activated Sept. 11, 1986, and is at Twentynine Palms.
The division reactivated the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion on June 8, 2000, but the battalion was originally activated March 1, 1937. It now calls the Margarita (33) Area home. Before 1944, Marine Recon was primarily composed of scout/sniper units. In April 1944, a two-company amphibious reconnaissance battalion was formed with the mission of conducting beach reconnaissance and hydrographic survey. Today, the battalion performs a wide variety of tactical and special operations in support of the division.
1st Marine Logistics Group
The 1st Marine Logistics Group was activated July 1, 1947, at Pearl Harbor, territory of Hawaii, as the 1st Combat Service Group. On March 30, 1976, the logistics unit was reconfigured as the 1st Force Service Support Group.
On Oct. 21, 2005, the 1st FSSG was redesignated the 1st Marine Logistics Group. In August 1950, the 1st MLG was deployed to Kobe, Japan. In September 1950, the unit was redeployed to Inchon, Korea, and assigned to the 1st Marine Division. The 1st MLG participated in the Korean War, operating in many key battles during the war.
The unit was deployed in February 1967 to the Republic of Vietnam. The unit participated in the war in Vietnam from February 1967 until April 1971, operating from Da Nang. The 1st MLG participated in numerous training exercises throughout the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. The unit was next deployed during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm from September 1990 through April 1991 and then again for Operation Restore Hope in Somalia from December 1992 to February 1993.
Most recently, the 1st MLG has deployed in support of the Malaysia-United States Amphibious Exercise 2014, which was a realistic and challenging exercise that brought service members closer and improved both nations’ abilities to work bilaterally and provide regional and global security. It is a versatile, multifaceted combat service support organization. The 1st MLG provides combat service support for the I Marine Expeditionary Force, while troops are in garrison, employed separately or as part of Marine Air-Ground Task Force operations.
The 1st MLG consists of Headquarters and Service Battalion; 1st Supply Battalion; 1st Transportation Support Battalion; 7th Engineer Support Battalion; 1st Medical Battalion; 1st Dental Battalion; Marine Expeditionary Unit Marine Logistics groups 11, 13 and 15; Brigade Marine Logistics Group 1; Combat Marine Logistics Group 1 at MCAGCC, Twentynine Palms; Intermediate Maintenance Activity Detachment (IMA Det) at MCAS Miramar; and Combat Service Support Detachment at MCAS Yuma. The group headquarters is in the 14 Area, with elements of the group situated throughout Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
In addition to providing the group headquarters, Headquarters and Service Battalion provides disbursing, postal and military police support to the Fleet Marine Force and communications support for the group.
Brigade Service Support Group 1 is located in the 14 Area and is the combat service support element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade. It also serves as the 1st MLG Forward Headquarters. It contains a full-time nucleus staff that, for exercises and operations, is augmented with personnel and equipment from each of 1st MLG’s battalions.
Combat Logistics Battalion 1 was created Dec. 18, 1998, as the 1st Transportation Support Battalion (TSB). It resulted from the merger of 7th Motor Transport Battalion and 1st Landing Support Battalion. CLB-1’s mission is to provide thorough output and distribution of supplies, personnel and equipment, as well as medium and heavy motor transport support to I MEF. This is accomplished through operational and tactical application of shore party, helicopter support teams, air delivery and airfield control groups. The battalion is in the 14 and 21 areas.
The 1st Maintenance Battalion provides intermediate-level maintenance support for Marine Corps-furnished tactical communications and electronics, engineer, general support, motor transport and ordnance equipment. Maintenance facilities are in Las Pulgas (43), Del Mar (21) and Chappo (22) areas. The 1st Supply Battalion supplies all classes of supply, except bulk fuel, required by I MEF. The Supply Activity Support System Management Unit, the heart of this operation, is with the other functional areas in the warehouse complex in the Chappo (22) Area.
The 7th Engineer Support Battalion is organized to provide general engineer support to I MEF. Its services include bath and laundry, water supply, mobile electric power, storage and distribution of bulk fuel, and explosive ordnance disposal support. The battalion is in the 14 Area.
In the late 1990s, 7th Motor Transport Battalion and 1st Landing Support Battalion combined to form 1st Transportation Support Battalion. On Oct. 21, 2005, 1st TSB was redesignated as Combat Logistics Battalion 1.
The 1st Medical Battalion is organized to provide collection, emergency treatment, temporary hospitalization, specialized surgery and evacuation of battle injuries. The battalion also coordinates preventive measures for control of disease. The battalion is in the Chappo (22) Area. The 1st Dental Battalion is charged with the dental health of I MEF personnel and provides specialized care for casualties. The 1st Dental Company, in the 22 Area, provides dental services through the 13 Area dental facility. Combat Logistics Regiment 1 provides combat service support to I MEF units based at Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command (MAGTFTC) and provides combat service support to MAGTFTC and other units as directed by the commanding general, 1st MLG. The maintenance facility is in Building 2000.
Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton (MCAS)
Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Camp Pendleton — also known as Munn Field after Lt. Gen. Toby C. Munn, a distinguished Marine aviator from 1927 to 1964 who served as commanding general, MCB Camp Pendleton and assistant commandant of the Marine Corps — maintains and operates facilities to support seven flying and three support squadrons with over 200 operational aircraft and 5,500 support personnel. MCAS Camp Pendleton encompasses 410 acres, 199 square miles of airspace, more than 100 structures, a single 6,005-foot runway, taxiways, parking aprons, roads and parking areas, and several utility systems.
MCAS Camp Pendleton is home to Marine Aircraft Group 39. The air station provides air traffic control services, aircraft firefighting and rescue services, weather service support to MCAS Camp Pendleton and MCB Camp Pendleton, hot and cold refueling and defueling services, and services to transientaircraft.
Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton’s primary mission is to provide facilities and services to support flight operations to prepare Marines for combat. The air station is a subordinate command of Marine Corps Installations West-Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and serves as an important part of the Marine Corps’ West Coast air-ground training complex.
Marine Aircraft Group 39
Marine Aircraft Group 39 was reactivated at Camp Pendleton on Sept. 1, 1978, and operates in support of I Marine Expeditionary Force and its major subordinate units (3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, 1st Marine Division and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton). Units of MAG-39 are tasked to provide aerial support for operations in support of Fleet Marine Forces and other air operations as may be directed.
MAG-39 operates a mix of attack helicopter gunships (AH-1Z and AH-1W) and utility helicopters (UH-1Y). Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 39 provides intermediate maintenance and aviation supply support for MAG-39. Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 was task organized in February 1982 into a composite squadron of UH-1N and AH-1J helicopters. The squadron was redesignated HMLA-267 on March 1, 1987, and received its first AH-1W on March 16, 1987. In March 2012, the squadron began flying the AH-1Z and UH-1Y.
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169 was activated on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton on Sept. 30, 1971. The squadron was redesignated HMLA-169 on Oct. 1, 1986, and became a composite UH-1N/AH-1W squadron. The squadron was the first to receive and begin operation of the AH-1W Super Cobra. In 2010, the squadron began flying the UH-1Y.
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, in May 1983, became the first composite UH-1N/AH-1J squadron to deploy to Okinawa. The squadron was redesignated HMLA-369 on Sept. 15, 1987, and began replacing the AH-J with the AH-1W. In 2009, the squadron began flying the UH-1Y.
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303 was activated in ceremonies held at Marine Air Facility Camp Pendleton on April 30, 1982. As a fleet replacement squadron, HMT-303 is the only Marine squadron tasked to provide initial conversion and UH-1Y, AH-1W and AH-1Z pilots.
1st Marine Special Operations Battalion
The 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion was activated Oct. 26, 2006, and is headquartered at Camp Pendleton.
The 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion (1st MSOB) is organized, trained and equipped to deploy for worldwide missions as directed by MARSOC. 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion is task-organized with personnel uniquely skilled in reconnaissance, communications, special equipment support, intelligence and fire support.