1 January – The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 1,451,277 of whom 177,207 were U.S. Marines.
___January – Marines were among the U.S. armed forces sent to render aid to the tsunami-devastated countries of Asia. The massive tsunami swept across the Indian Ocean on 26 December 2004, killing and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU (SOC)) was diverted from the Western Pacific and was among those sent to help in the humanitarian effort, Operation Unified Assistance. Troops stayed in the area for about six weeks.
4 January – Legislation was introduced in Congress to rename the Department of the Navy the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps. Republican Congressman Walter Jones, Jr., who represented North Carolina’s 3rd District which included Camp Lejeune and the New River and Cherry Point air stations, introduced the bill.
5 January – Cpl Wassef Ali Hassoun was once again declared a deserter by the Marine Corps when he failed to return from leave to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The corporal was scheduled for a court hearing on 13 January in regards to his 19 June 2004 disappearance while serving in Iraq. Originally cleared of the desertion charge for the first incidence, the investigation was re-opened November 2004 after some of Cpl Hassoun’s personal affects were discovered in Fallujah, Iraq.
11-12 January – Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 (VMFA (AW)-224) departed Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, for the squadron’s first deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). VMFA (AW)-224 was the first East Coast Hornet squadron to deploy to Iraq on a seven-month tour.
19 January – Marines with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 returned to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort after a six-month deployment to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, as part of the Unit Deployment Program.
20 January – More than 700 Marines and sailors from 3d Battalion, 4th Marines deployed for the third time in support of OIF. The first Marine battalion into Baghdad in the opening days of the war in 2003, the unit was the first infantry battalion to deploy to Iraq three times. The Marines set up camp near Fallujah.
26 January – A tragic helicopter crash in western Iraq claimed the lives of 30 Marines and one sailor. The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter from the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing was transporting personnel conducting a security mission and stability operations near Ruthbah in the Al Anbar province. Twenty-seven of the victims were from 1st Battalion, 3d Marines, and stationed out of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
28 January – The Pentagon chose an international team headed by Lockheed Martin to build the next fleet of presidential helicopters. The contract called for 23 US101 helicopters to be delivered by 2009. The helicopters are designated Marine One when the President is on board and are flown by the pilots of Marine Helicopter Squadron One.
28-30 January – Marines from 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, returned to Camp Lejeune from a seven-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The battalion participated in the bloody battle to regain control of Fallujah from insurgents in November 2004.
1 February - Fifty Marines, part of Task Force New Horizons Haiti, landed in Gonaives, Haiti, as part of one of the four humanitarian and civic assistance exercises sponsored by U.S. Southern Command in Central America and the Caribbean. The number of Marines grew to nearly 200 by mid-February as they helped the town to slowly recover from damage sustained by heavy floods that occurred in September 2004.
7 February – Marines of 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, completed Operation Spurs in Afghanistan. Marines were inserted into different parts of the snow-covered Korangal Valley and searched several houses believed to be hideouts for terrorists. Local Afghanis were also provided with medical care and supplies.
7 February – Marines and sailors of the 11th MEU began returning to Camp Pendleton, California, following a deployment to Iraq. The 31st MEU also relinquished responsibility of Iraq's western Al Anbar province and began the return voyage home to Okinawa, Japan, on 28 February.
9 February – Marine administrative message 057/05 (MarAdmin 057/05) was issued stating that casualty assistance officers would no longer wear the dress blue uniform but a service alpha uniform when notifying families of a Marine’s death. The change was intended to help curb the growing negative view of Marines wearing the dress uniform.
14 February – Five Marines were suspended while authorities investigated the death of Marine recruit Jason Tharp. The 19-year-old recruit drowned 8 February while participating in a water-survival training course at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. The day before his death, a local television station, filming an unrelated story, recorded him being grabbed by the shirt and hit in the chest by a drill instructor. The Marine drill instructor was among those suspended as well as four other Marine instructors who passively witnessed the altercation.
14-16 February – The 15th MEU arrived in the Persian Gulf and began off-loading personnel and equipment in Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. A few days later, Marines from 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, and 2d Force Service Support Group also deployed to the region. More than 1,000 Marines from 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, soon followed suit and left for a tour in Iraq on 27 February.
16 February – For the first time in its’ history, Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2 (MWHS-2) not only deployed as an entire unit, but also to a combat zone. MWHS-2 had been performing command and staff functions necessary to 2d Marine Aircraft Wing (2d MAW) since 1955 but always remained at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina. The unit was deployed to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq. 2d MAW assumed the air mission in Iraq's Al Anbar province from 3d MAW during a ceremony on 28 February.
18 February – Marines from 2d Battalion, 10th Marines, started returning to Camp Lejeune following a seven-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Marines of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 also returned from Iraq on 25 February.
19 February – This date marked the 60th anniversary of the Marines’ landing on Iwo Jima during World War II.
20 February – Marines and others attached to the 1st Marine Division, along with Iraqi security forces, launched Operation River Blitz throughout the Al Anbar province. The operation targeted insurgents in cities along the Euphrates River including Hit, Ramadi, and Baghdadi.
__ March – Marines with 2d and 3d Force Reconnaissance Companies started arriving home from Iraq on 6 March. Marine reservists of 6th Communication Battalion came home to Brooklyn, New York, on 12 March, while reservists from 1st Battalion, 23d Marines, arrived home in Ohio on 31 March.
1 March – Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, South Carolina, celebrated its 45th birthday. Before being re-designated in 1960, MCAS Beaufort was a Marine Corps auxiliary airfield on the site of an old Naval air station.
6 March – Marines from 31st MEU started arriving home on Okinawa from Iraq. The air component and others from the unit returned home nearly a month later on 1-2 April. Fifty Marines were killed and 221 were wounded during the deployment.
7 March – The 3d Marine Aircraft Wing (3d MAW) completed the longest deployment in its 62-year history as it headed home after 13 months in Iraq. The wing lost eight Marines and had another 222 wounded.
7 March – Following an ancient Roman tradition, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Michael W. Hagee, was one of four people to participate in a coin-laying ceremony on the site where the mast of the new National Museum of the Marine Corps was raised three weeks later. The 210-foot-tall, 50-ton spire was lifted into place on 30 March.
11 March – Korean War Medal of Honor recipient Maj George H. O'Brien, Jr., USMCR, passed away at a hospital in Midland, Texas, due to complications of emphysema. Maj O'Brien earned the nation's highest award for gallantry on 27 October 1952 as a second lieutenant rifle platoon commander as his unit was poised to take a hill known as "the Hook," part of the main line of resistance where numerous close-combat battles took place. He was laid to rest in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas.
12 March – Two Marines were wounded in an ambush by anti-coalition militia while conducting routine security patrols north of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The Marines were treated on site. Two weeks later, in the eastern portion of the country, Marines from 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, concluded Operation Mavericks. The Marines successfully rounded up suspected insurgents and confiscated several weapons caches in the snow-covered mountainous area.
18 March – The Marine Corps issued a pregnancy testing policy to prevent the deployment of pregnant Marines. MarAdmin 133/05 advised commanders to make sure all female Marines within their units were given pregnancy tests 10-14 days prior to deployment as well as offering guidelines regarding live inoculations given to females.
20 March – Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen Peter Pace, traveled to Camp Lemonier to personally thank service members serving with the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) in Djibouti. The task force was deployed to the African region to help prevent the spread of terrorism.
27 March – I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) and II MEF completed a relief in place (RIP). LtGen John F. Sattler, I MEF's commanding general, transferred authority to II MEF's commanding general, MajGen Stephen T. Johnson, during a ceremony in Fallujah, Iraq. Marines with I MEF began arriving home at Camp Pendleton, California, the next day.
28 March – The Marine Corps began the final tests on the Osprey aircraft. The final tests, scheduled to conclude in June 2005, would help determine if the aircraft was ready for full production. The Marine Corps has ordered 360 Ospreys, hoping to eventually replace its aging helicopter fleet.
31 March – The Marine Corps announced that Marines would no longer be sentries for the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, after the end of 2005. Marines had been guarding the school since 1851 but the need for more active duty troops dictated the change.
2 April – More than three-dozen insurgents attacked Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. U.S. soldiers and Marines, who were also using the prison as a military base, repelled the attack. No one was killed but 44 U.S. troops were wounded as well as 13 Iraqi detainees as 40-60 heavily armed men swarmed the prison, detonated two car bombs and peppered the facility with rocket-propelled grenades, small-arms, and mortar fire.
7 April – The Pentagon was given permission by a federal judge to resume giving anthrax vaccinations but only to troops who volunteer for them. The troops were informed of the benefits and risks of the vaccine and then given the option to opt out without penalty. The anthrax vaccination program was completely suspended in October 2004.
7 April – Two new campaign medals were announced in recognition of servicemembers’ contributions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Inclusive dates for the Afghanistan Campaign Medal were 24 October 2001 to an undetermined future date, while the Iraqi Campaign Medal dates were 19 March 2003 to an undetermined future date. Troops were eligible for both awards if they meet all required criteria for each.
8-9 April – Marines of the reserve unit 2d Battalion, 24th Marines, began returning home from Iraq. The unit lost 12 Marines during its seven-month deployment to the region known as the Sunni Triangle.
10 April – Frederick C. Branch, the first African American commissioned officer of the U.S. Marine Corps, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after a short illness. He was 82. Mr. Branch was commissioned a second lieutenant on 10 November 1945. He was buried in Quantico National Cemetery on 20 April.
11 April – Insurgents claiming to be linked to al-Qaida tried to overrun a Marine base on the Syrian border using gunmen, suicide car bombs, and a firetruck loaded with explosives. The raid on Camp Gannon at Husaybah resulted in three wounded Marines but no American deaths.
15 April – Marine Gen Peter Pace was nominated to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) by President George W. Bush. Gen Pace was
the first Marine to be selected for the nation’s top uniformed military post and only the second JCS chairman to rise from vice chairman.
15 April – The Marine Search and Rescue squadron at MCAS Beaufort was disbanded after operating for 48 years. Its operational responsibilities were absorbed by the Coast Guard Seventh District and the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, and the 42 Marines in the unit reassigned to various other units throughout the Marine Corps.
25 April – On this date 25 years ago eight servicemen, including three Marines, were killed while attempting to rescue 53 Americans taken hostage by Iranian militants in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran. The mission Operation Eagle Claw, remembered by most as “Desert One,” was aborted after the rotor of a helicopter sliced into the fuselage of a C-130 transport aircraft, resulting in the eight deaths.
26 April – Marines with 1st Battalion, 3d Marines, returned home to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, from Iraq, officially ending their 10-month deployment. The unit lost 46 Marines, including 26 killed in the tragic helicopter crash on 26 January 2005.
29-30 April – This date marked the 30th anniversary of Operation Frequent Wind, the final operation in Saigon, Vietnam, that resulted in the evacuation of thousands of Americans and foreign refugees from the besieged city.
2 May – Marines with the 26th MEU entered the Persian Gulf area. The MEU deployed from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and included Marines with Battalion Landing Team 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 162, and MEU Service Support Group 26.
2 May – Two Marine F-18 fighter jets collided over Iraq, killing both pilots. The planes had launched from the USS Carl Vinson in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and were part of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323.
4 May – The Marine Corps wrapped up a six-month investigation into the shooting of a wounded Iraqi insurgent by a Marine corporal that was caught on tape and broadcast worldwide. The incident occurred as Marines entered a mosque during the November 2004 assault on Fallujah. After a thorough review, the corporal was cleared of all wrongdoing as the Marine Corps considered his actions “consistent with the established rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict.”
7-14 May – Marines lead the successful coalition offensive campaign Operation Matador near the Iraq-Syria border. The major offensive included nearly 1,000 troops backed by warplanes and helicopter gunships sweeping through desert outposts along ancient smuggling routes believed to be the staging areas for foreign fighters slipping across the border. Nine Marines were killed and 40 wounded during the fighting.
9 May – Marines clashed with a band of insurgents in eastern Afghanistan. The battle began after Marines received a tip about insurgents operating in Laghman, an opium-producing area 60 miles east of Kabul. The insurgents opened fire with small-arms and rocket-propelled grenades before splitting into two groups, one fleeing to a village and the other to a cave on a nearby ridge. The five-hour fight left two Marines and an estimated 23 rebels dead.
9 May – The Marine Corps announced the recall of 5, 277 combat vests issued to Marines in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Djibouti despite insisting the vests provide the ballistic protection they were designed to provide. The recall was to alleviate any doubt about their effectiveness that surfaced after the Marine Corps Times ran an article questioning the quality of the protective gear. The gear recalled represented less than three percent of all vests fielded to date.
13 May – The Pentagon recommended closing nearly 180 military installations and offices across the U.S. in the first major restructuring of the nation’s military network in a decade. The findings were then sent to the independent Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) that spent the summer reviewing them in public hearings and installation visits. National Guard and reserve facilities were the hardest hit while the impact on the Marine Corps was considered light with no major bases being recommended for closure.
25 May - The U.S. Mint announced the release of a commemorative coin in honor of the Marine Corps' 230th Anniversary. One side featured the famous Iwo Jima flag-raising while the other depicted the Corps' emblem and motto. The Mint is permitted to release only two official commemorative coins each year by Congress.
25 May – Marines and other troops moved into the Iraqi city of Haditha to battle entrenched insurgents responsible for a major assault on the city three weeks earlier.
25 May – The Marine Corps expanded eligibility for the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal to include Marines that served in countries such as Georgia, Hungary, and Mali. MarAdmin 244/05 announced the changes.
5 June – Marines and sailors of the 15th MEU returned home to Camp Pendleton after completing a six-month deployment. The unit was initially diverted from its original destination of Iraq to help render aid to the tsunami devastated Indian Ocean area. Following the end of the humanitarian mission, the 15th MEU continued on to the Persian Gulf area to participate in the security and stabilization mission in Iraq.
8 June – Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his Norwegian counterpart signed a memorandum of understanding to continue and revamp a Cold War-era program that put U.S. Marine Corps gear in Norway to defend against a Soviet invasion. The new memorandum superseded the 1981 agreement that created the original program. It ensured that the Marine Corps would continue to store weapons and equipment in six man-made caves in the country but allowed for the revamping of the program to focus on other global missions including disaster and humanitarian relief operations. The name of the program was also changed from the Norwegian Air-Landed Marine Expeditionary Brigade to the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway.
15 June – A Marine Harrier jet carrying four 500-pound bombs crashed into a residential neighborhood about a mile from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. The jet was returning to base following a training exercise when it crashed into the backyard of a home and forced the evacuation of 1,300 people. Although most residents were allowed to return to their homes the same day, the last 52 homes were cleared a few days later after a military disposal team finished sweeping the area for any missing ammunition. Neither the pilot nor any one on the ground was seriously injured.
17-22 June – Marines lead the third major offensive in six weeks in the volatile Al Anbar province in western Iraq. Operation Spear focused on the rebel stronghold of Karabilah near the Syrian border. During the operation, Marines uncovered and rescued four Iraqi men being held in an insurgent torture chamber as well as several weapons caches and bomb factories.
21 June – Former Commandant of the Marine Corps and Medal of Honor recipient, Gen Louis H. Wilson passed away at his home at the age of 85. He received the highest award for bravery, the Medal of Honor, for taking and holding a key position on Guam during World War II, and, later became the 26th Commandant of the Marine Corps on 1 July 1975. He was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
21 June – The final flight carrying Marines from 3d Battalion, 3d Marines returned home to Marine Corps Base Hawaii after spending eight months in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. A week earlier, Marines from Marine Air Control Squadron 2 also returned from Afghanistan after completing a six-month deployment and 2d Radio Battalion arrived home from Iraq.
23 June – Iraqi insurgents carried out the deadliest attack against U.S. female servicemembers to date when a suicide car bomber rammed a convoy in Fallujah. Five Marines (three male and two female) and one female sailor were killed in the attack and 13 others wounded, 11 of whom were female. Although female servicemembers are prohibited from combat units by law, cultural sensitivity prohibited males from searching female Iraqis and forced the inclusion of female troops in the combat zones to perform such tasks. The Marines were assigned to 2d MEF and were on their way back to their forward base.
27 June – Medal of Honor recipient BGen Robert E. Galer died at the age of 91 in a Dallas, Texas, hospital following a stroke. He received the Medal of Honor for aerial combat in the South Pacific during World War II. He was shot down three times during the war but went on to participate in the Korean War where he was shot down once. BGen Galer was laid to rest in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas.
1 July – The History and Museums Division was reorganized into two separate divisions, with both the History Division and the Museums Division (later
renamed the National Museum of the Marine Corps) standing up as separate units under the Marine Corps University. The History Division was then relocated from the Washington Navy Yard to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, on 1 September 2005.
5 July – Marine administrative message 335/05 announced the realignment and redesignation of all four force service support groups (FSSG) into Marine logistics groups (MLG).
7 July – Marines and Iraqi forces launched the sixth offensive against insurgent strongholds in the volatile Iraqi Al Anbar province since May. Operation Scimitar began with raids in the village of Zaidan, approximately 20 miles southeast of Fallujah, and at least 22 suspected insurgents were detained.
7 July – The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW) celebrated its 64th anniversary. Three days later, the 2d MAW also celebrated its 64th year.
15 July – The Senate approved Marine Gen Peter Pace to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen Pace was nominated to the position three months earlier.
16 July – The 13th MEU left Camp Pendleton for a six-month deployment as part of the Tarawa Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) and headed to the Persian Gulf area. The 13th MEU included Battalion Landing Team 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163, and MEU Service Support Group 13.
22 July – The Marines of Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 4 (VMAQ-4) started their journey home to North Carolina after a six-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit, referred to as the Seahawks, was the first EA-6B Prowler squadron to operate in Iraq. VMAQ-4 was replaced by VMAQ-1.
28 July – An Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury, was held for SSgt Nadya Y. Lopez in the 8 February 2005 Parris Island Recruit Depot drowning death of recruit Pvt Jason Tharp. Marine Corps officials stated that his death was accidental but preventable because a swim instructor had failed to recognize or ignored indications that the recruit was too tired or incapable of continuing the training. SSgt Lopez was the instructor assisting Pvt Tharp on his last day of swim training when the incident occurred, and she was charged with negligent homicide.
29-31 July – More than 800 Marines and sailors from 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, returned home from Iraq. The battalion was the first ground unit in the Marine Corps to complete three deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
__August – Marines with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 264 (HMM-264), Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 (VMFA(AW)-224), and Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38 returned throughout the month following deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
3 August – Fourteen Marine reservists and a civilian interpreter were killed in Haditha, Iraq, when the amphibious assault vehicle they were traveling in was struck by a roadside bomb. Two days earlier, six other Marines were killed near the same city by enemy gunfire. Nineteen of the 20 killed in those two days were from the same Ohio-based unit, 3d Battalion, 25th Marines.
3-10 August – Marines participated in Operation Quick Strike, an offensive operation aimed at disrupting insurgent activities in the Iraqi cities of Haditha, Haqliniyah, and Barwanah. Marines netted nine car bombs, 28 other explosive devices, and captured 36 suspected insurgents.
7 August – Marines with HMM-266 deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom less than a year after it’s last deployment. Four days later, on
11 August, HMM-161 also deployed to Iraq for the third time. Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 (HMLA-167) also arrived in country in mid-August to replace HMLA-269, which was on its way home after a six-month deployment.
13 August – Marines and Afghan troops launched an offensive in the remote Afghanistan Korengal Valley. The operation was aimed at rebels believed to have killed 19 U.S. troops in June 2005 hiding out in the eastern Kunar province near the Pakistani border. Only two Marines were wounded during the offensive.
26 August – 1 September – Marines launched several precision air strikes against al-Qaida positions in the western Iraqi province of Al Anbar.
29 August - __October – Marines from across the U.S. rushed to aid the devastated Gulf Coast region after it was pummeled by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Troops helped rescue stranded people immediately following the storms and then assisted with the ongoing clean-up effort. The last of the active duty Marines with Task Force Katrina returned to their home bases in early October 2005.
___September – The Marines of 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, returned to the U.S. this month after spending seven months in Iraq. During the deployment, the battalion participated in Operations Matador, Spear, and Quick Strike. Three Marines from the unit were killed. Marines from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 142 also came home in late August/early September after completing a seven month deployment to Iraq.
8 September – The Pentagon reported to Congress that the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft passed several effectiveness and sustainability requirements needed to raise production. Later the same month, the Pentagon cleared the aircraft for full production after nearly two decades of development.
11 September – Today marked the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that sparked the Global War on Terrorism. Events of the day included a Pentagon sponsored Freedom Walk as well as the launching of Operation Zoba by the 2d Marine Division against al-Qaida fighters in Rutbah, Iraq.
16 September – Gen Robert Magnus assumed the duties of Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (ACMC), replacing Gen William L. Nyland. Gen Nyland retired from active duty on 1 November 2005 after 37 years of service.
20 September – Former ACMC, Gen Kenneth McLennan, Jr., passed away from cancer at the age of 80 in Encinitias, California. He served as Assistant Commandant from 1 July 1979 to 1 July 1981.
21 September – The 5th Civil Affairs Group (5th CAG), the Marine Corps’ first provisional civil affairs unit, concluded its deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit transferred responsibilities to another provisional unit, 6th CAG, at Camp Blue Diamond in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. 5th CAG completed more than 270 civil affairs projects while in country.
25 September – Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Michael W. Hagee, and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, SgtMaj John L. Estrada, visited Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, to thank the Marines and sailors for their efforts. The visit was also to help the two leaders gain a better understanding of what could be done to help Marines accomplish their missions in the future.
30 September – Marine reservists with 3d Battalion, 25th Marines, returned to Camp Lejeune. The unit, comprised of Marines from Ohio, West Virginia, and New York, lost 48 troops in action, including 19 over a two-day-period in early August 2005. The unit was deployed for seven months to Iraq’s hostile Al Anbar province.
___September – For the first time since World War II, the Marines of 5th Battalion, 14th Marines, deployed to a combat zone. Although various elements of the unit had served in support of Operation Desert Storm, this marked the first time in 60 years that the whole unit deployed. The reserve Marines were activated in June and arrived in Iraq in late September in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
1 October – Marines from Regimental Combat Team 2 (RCT-2) launched a major offensive near Iraq’s western border in the Al Anbar province. Operation Iron Fist was aimed at disrupting an important conduit for insurgents suspected of filtering into the country from Syria. Operation River Gate was launched days later on 4 October, also by RCT-2, and centered around the troubled town of Haditha. Both operations lasted approximately a week, resulting in at least eight Marines and sailors killed.
3 October – Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, visited more than 4,500 Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to welcome them home from recent deployments.
7 October – The site of the future Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons Marine Corps History Center was unveiled by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Michael W. Hagee, during a ceremony at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. Once completed, the Simmons History Center will be a wing on the Marine Corps University’s Gray Research Center and will be the home of the Marine Corps History Division.
8 October – The Kashmir region of Pakistan was devastated by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake. Marines and sailors from III MEF deployed later the same month to render needed aid to the area. Approximately 240 members from 3d Marine Logistics Group set up near Muzaffarabad to provide humanitarian assistance.
9 October – Marine Light Helicopter Attack Squadron 775 (HMLA-775) returned home to Camp Pendleton, California, after completing its second deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in two years. The squadron deployed to Iraq in March and operated out of Camp al Taqaddum, west of Fallujah.
16-23 October – Marines of 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, conducted Operation Pil in the Watapor Valley in the Afghanistan province of Kunar to help improve security and stabilize the local government. Enemy contact was limited during the operation.
21 October – The 1st Force Service Support Group (1st FSSG) was official redesignated as the 1st Marine Logistics Group (1st MLG) in a ceremony at Camp Pendleton. The 2d, 3d and 4th FSSGs were also officially redesignated as MLGs around the same time at their respected home bases.
23 October – Korean War Medal of Honor recipient Col Reginald R. Myers passed away at a hospice in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 85 from the effects of a stroke. Col Myers was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading his vastly outnumbered force in an assault on a key enemy position during the Chosin Reservoir campaign. He was also a combat veteran of World War II and retired from the Marine Corps in 1967. Col Myers was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
26 October – United States and Japanese officials reached an agreement to relocate the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Camp Schwab, both located on Okinawa. This agreement preceded later talks between the two nations, including one three days later where it was decided that nearly 7,000 Marines from Okinawa would be relocated to the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam over an approximate six year period. The decisions were part of a U.S. effort to streamline its military overseas and create a leaner, more flexible fighting force.
28 October – The Marine Corps was given approval to create a special operations unit that would deploy alongside the special forces of the other military services. The Marine Corps’ Special Operations Command (SOCom) component, known as MARSOC, was created after several years of discussion by the Pentagon and the Marine Corps, and the creation of a test special operations test unit, Marine Corps SOCom Detachment One in 2003. Initially, the Marine Corps had opted out of SOCom when the command was established in 1986, but the changing world situation caused a revisit of the issue.
2 November – A Marine AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter crashed near Ramadi, Iraq, killing both crewmembers during daylong fighting. Witnesses stated they saw the helicopter take ground fire and break up in the air. The next day, al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility for the crash. The lost Marines were part of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369.
5-17 November – Marines of RCT-2 participated in a massive offensive, Operation Steele Curtain, along the Iraq-Syria border. The 17-day offensive was geared toward preventing al-Qaeda in Iraq from operating in the Euphrates River Valley and throughout the Al Anbar province. Ten Marines were lost during the operation.
8 November – Medal of Honor recipient Robert E. Bush passed away at the age of 79 at an assisted-living facility in Tumwater, Washington. Mr. Bush served as a corpsman with the 1st Marine Division during World War II. During the fighting on Okinawa, he bravely moved from one casualty to another offering aid. Seriously wounded when he came under attack while attending to a fallen Marine lieutenant, Mr. Bush fought back with the Marine’s weapon despite losing an eye from a hand grenade attack. He was laid to rest in Fern Hill Cemetery in Menlo, Washington.
10 November – Marines around the world, including those serving in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, celebrated the Marine Corps’ 230th birthday. As part of the celebrations, the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a set of commemorative stamps honoring four prominent Marines. Those featured were Medal of Honor recipients Sgt John Basilone and SgtMaj Daniel Daly and LtGen John A. Lejeune and LtGen Lewis B. Puller.
11 November – The Department of Defense added Colombia and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the list of countries and areas that qualify U.S. servicemembers for the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) Expeditionary Medal. The medal was one of two established in 2003 to recognize military service in support of overseas and homeland defense missions since 11 September 2001.
12-22 November – Marines with 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, conducted Operation Sorkh Khar (Red Donkey) in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley.
16 November – The Marine Corps issued a recall of more than 10,000 combat vests that did not pass ballistic requirements when manufactured. MarAdmin 544/05 announced the recall following a Pentagon-initiated review revealed that several lots of vests were accepted and fielded despite originally failing ballistic tests. 5,000 other vests had been recalled in May.
1 December – Ten Marines from 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, were killed and 11 others wounded during a promotion ceremony. The Marines had gathered in an old flour mill near the Iraqi town of Fallujah for the ceremony when a hidden explosive device was triggered causing the devastating blast.
2-3 December – Marines with 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, conducted Operation Shank in Ramadi, Iraq. The operation was the fifth in a series of operations by the Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces conducted to disrupt the insurgency.
5 December – All Marines Message (ALMAR) 061/05 announced a secondary mission for the Marine Corps’ artillery units. The new mission assigned each artillery regimental headquarters and each battalion a secondary civil-military operations (CMO) function. The artillery units were given the lead on CMO in their respective Marine divisions to help relieve the Corps’ Reserve civil affairs groups.
7 December – Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Michael W. Hagee, visited the Marines of 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, in Ramadi, Iraq.
16 December – Marines who directly participated in the immediate humanitarian relief operations in the Gulf Coast areas devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in August and October 2005 were authorized the Humanitarian Service Medal and/or the Armed Forces Service Medal. MarAdmin 604/05 announced the requirements for qualification for each of the individual awards.
21 December – Marines with I MEF began deploying to Iraq to relieve the Marines of II MEF in the fourth large-scale deployment the Marine Corps had undertaken in the past two years in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. More than 25,000 Marines and sailors with I MEF were expected to be in western Iraq by January 2006.
22 December – An advance group of Marines from 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, returned home to Hawaii from Afghanistan and prepared for the rest of the battalion’s return in the following weeks. The unit deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in June 2005.
26 December – Marines with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (HMM-261) deployed to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq as the aviation combat element of the 22d MEU.
31 December – The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 1,418,514 of whom 178,704 were U.S. Marines.
USMC History Division