In Hawaii, ‘America’s Battalion’ Folds its Colors and Fades Away

During a somber ceremony in Hawaii, “America’s Regiment” folded its colors, wrapped its battle currents and faded back into its storied history.

On Friday, Jan. 13, the strike activated the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. It is part of a series of moves across the Indo-Pacific region designed to reduce infantry-heavy combat teams into wire regimentsWith less grunts but more anti-aircraft missiles and Batteries kill ships.

That cold logic of strategy didn’t make Friday’s moment any less bittersweet. while a marine band played Auld Lang SyneSix marines struck the regimental colors and wrapped the banners in black cloth.

A quartet of Marines then marched the Marine flags from the parade deck, with no soldiers trailing behind them, because their regiment was no longer there.

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“Before I look to the future, I want to look to the past, and honor the service and sacrifice of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines,” Col. Timothy S. Brady Jr., commander of the 3rd Marine Littoral Battalion, told the Dewey Square crowd midway through the nearly hour-long ceremony. “A unit founded by heroes. A unit that answered every call. A unit that adopted the motto, Fortuna Portes Jovet – Fortune favors the brave.”


At Marine Corps Base Hawaii on the island of Oahu, the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines displayed their colors on January 13, 2023, and were officially retired by the Corps. US Marine Corps photo.

Brady commanded 3/3 from 2015 to 2017, but his address sailed back to the bloody Pacific campaign during World War II, when the regiment was formed to storm the shores of Bougainville Guam.

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During Vietnam, 3/3 fought in Danang and Khe Sanh.

In Iraq there was an American battalion squad And Haditha. The battalion’s Marines waged war throughout Afghanistan Helmand Province.

In a written message to the Marines and sailors gathered in Dewey Square, their boss – Lt. Gen. James W. Bierman Jr.The commanding general of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force—reminded them that famous battalions and squadrons had deployed and draped their colors in the past, only to return to duty later, and this was true of 3/3 as well.


Pfc. Aramis C. Sandoval, a Marine with Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, pulls security at a vehicle checkpoint near Forward Operating Base Geronimo, Afghanistan, May 30, 2010. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Feiluga.

The battalion was disbanded in 1945, but then reactivated in 1951. It was shut down again in 1974, but the Pentagon resurrected it just a year later.

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And if the war comes again, the colors of the regiment will probably be retired to a new generation of marines.

“This shutdown is difficult and cannot but come with a sense of loss for everyone who served in the battalion,” wrote Bierman, who fought alongside the unit in Iraq as commander of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines. “For a number of veterans, and many serving today, the entire service was on 3/3, And so the tight-knit regiment completely defined the experience of being a Marine. Even as each of you sheds a tear and steels your heart, take comfort in the fact that the proud memories and strong relationships will endure.”

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