Activated 1 October 1925 at the Naval Base, San Diego, California. Deactivated 6 July 1926.
China Marines Era 1927-1934:
Reactivated on 10 January 1927. Relocated with 4th Marines to Shanghai, China, 3 February 1927. Deactivated 19 December 1934.
World War II 1941-1942:
Activated 1 May 1941 at Cavite, Philippine Islands as 1st Separate Marine Battalion. Relocated during December 1941 to Corregidor, Philippine Islands. Redesignated 1 January 1942 to the 3d Battalion, 4th Marines. Fought under the 4th Marines against overwhelming odds in the defense of Corregidor, January – May 1942. Captured by enemy forces on 6 May 1942. 18 June 1942 4th Marine Regiment and its battalions are officially deactivated. During this period, the Marines endured unfathomable hardships as Japanese prisoners of war. One of the hardships was occurred soon after their capture when they were forced to execute the infamous Bataan Death March. They remained imprisoned throughout the rest of World War II.
World War II 1944-1947:
Reactivated 1 February 1944 on Guadalcanal by redesignation of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Raider Regiment. Assigned during April 1944 to the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. Reassigned during September 1944 to 6th Marine Division. Participated in the following World War II campaigns: Philippines, Solomon Islands, Bougainville, Bismarck Archipelago, Guam and Okinawa. This reactivation was unique insofar as the lineage and honors of both the "old" 4th Marines and the 1st Raider Regiment were passed on to this new unit.
The battalion redeployed during August 1945 to Yokosuka, Japan. The battalion was reassigned during November 1945 to Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Deactivated 15 February 1946. Reactivated 8 March at Tsingtao, China and assigned to the 6th Marine Division. Participated in the occupation of North China, March 1946 – October 1947. Reassigned during April 1946 to the 3d Brigade. Reassigned during June 1946 to the 1st Marine Division. Deactivated 1 October 1947.
Reactivated 28 November 1952 at Camp Pendleton, California and assigned to the 3d Marine Division. Deployed during August 1953 to Camp Nara, Japan. Participated during January-February 1954 in the exchange of prisoners of war at Inchon, South Korea. Relocated during February 1955 to Kaneohe Bay, Territory of Hawaii and assigned to the 1st Provisional Marine Air-Ground Task Force. 1st Provisional Marine Air-Ground Task Force redesignated during May 1956 to the 1st Marine Brigade.
Vietnam War 1965-1972:
Deployed during April 1965 to the Republic of Vietnam and assigned to the 3d Marine Division. Redeployed during December 1965 – March 1966 to Camp Schwab, Okinawa. Deployed again to Vietnam in March 1966 – November 1969. Fought in countless battles and skirmishes using both conventional and counter-insurgency operations. Operated in areas known as Hue/Phu Bai, Quang Tri, Khe Sanh and redeployed back to Camp Hansen, Okinawa November 1969. Of note, L Company was the last unit from 3d Marine Division to depart from the country of Vietnam.
Relocated January 1983 to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and assigned to the 2d Marine Division. Deployed during January 1984 to Camp Schwab, Okinawa. Deployed during November 1985 to the Mediterranean with the 26th Marine Amphibious Unit (Special Operations Capable). The battalion was the 1st "MARSOC" qualified MAU/MEU. Deployed during July 1987 to the Republic of Korea and participated in BEAR HUNT 88. Redeployed during January 1988 to Camp Lejeune. Deployed to Puerto Rico during April 1988 for participation in OCEAN VENTURE 88. During this period, the Battalion sent reinforced rifle companies to augment security forces in the Republic of Panama, April – September 1988. Deactivated 30 September 1988.
Reactivated 12 August 1994 at Camp Margarita, aboard Camp Pendleton, CA as the 4th Battalion for 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. Deployed as part of the UDP (unit deployment program) during August 1995 to Camp Schwab, Okinawa. Redeployed February 1996 to Camp Margarita. The battalion relocated and joined its parent unit, 7th Marines, at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, CA in May of 1998. In February 1999 the battalion completed the Winter Mountain Warfare Training package at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California. During August of 1999, the battalion deployed, again as part of the UDP, to Camp Schwab, Okinawa. In February 2000 the battalion redeployed to Twentynine Palms. In May 2000, the battalion participated in Amphibious Orientation Training in San Diego aboard the USS Commstock. In July 2000 the battalion again deployed to the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport to participate in the Summer Mountain Warfare Training Package. In October 2000 the battalion sent I Company to participate in Project Metropolis, an experimental Military Operations in Urban Terrain Exercise at George Air Force Base in Victorville, California. In January 2001 the battalion deployed as a whole, again to Victorville to execute Project Metropolis II. In March 2001, the battalion again embarked aboard Naval Vessels, participating in an amphibious landing exercise, Exercise Kernel Blitz, at Camp Pendleton. In May 2001 the Battalion participated in Combined Armed Exercise (CAX) 06-01. During August 2001, the battalion deployed to Camp Schwab, Okinawa (UDP). During this deployment the battalion deployed from Okinawa to Pohang, Korea and participated in the Korean Integrated Training Program (KITP). During this UDP to Okinawa, Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked three commercial airliners on 11 September 2001 and conducted suicide attacks in New York City, Washington D.C., and in Western Pennsylvania. President Bush declared this to be the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism. The battalion redeployed back to Twentynine Palms in March 2002.
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM- I 2002-2003:
In July 2002, the battalion began to prepare by conducting mechanized operations as part of a likely invasion of Iraq. During this pre-OIF period the battalion conducted the 1st Tactical Small Unit Leaders Course (TSULC), participated in a Battalion Mechanized/Fire Support Field Exercise, and supported a STEEL KNIGHT Exercise. In January 2003, the battalion deployed to Kuwait and rehearsed mechanized operations as Task Force 3/4. On 21 March, the battalion invaded Iraq as one of the Battalion Task Forces that made up Regimental Combat Team - 7 (RCT-7). During the invasion, the battalion fought and captured key objectives to include the Basrah International Airport and the Basrah Oil Refinery. Throughout the next several weeks the Battalion Mechanized Task Force fought its way north and conducted battles along Route 1, Ad Diwaniyah, Afak, Al Budyhar, and Al Kut. Eventually the Battalion fought its way through a military complex on the east side of the Nahr Diayla Canal. It was here that the battalion executed its famous infantry assault crossing a blown up bridge at Azza Fayraniah and became officially the first Marine Corps elements to cross into the city of Baghdad. Soon after crossing into Baghdad, the Battalion fought its way through light resistance to the area near the Palestine Hotel and pulled down the Saddam Hussein Statue. This event was broadcasted live throughout the world and marked the successful overthrown of the Hussein dictatorship. The battalion redeployed back to Twentynine Palms in late May 2003. In August 2003, the Battalion executed the Summer Mountain Warfare Training Package and TSULC II at MWTC in Bridgeport. In December 2003, the battalion deployed to Camp Schwab, Okinawa (UDP). During this period, the famous call sign "Darkside" was born.
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM-II 2004:
While in Okinawa on UDP, the Battalion received the deployment order for OIF II. During the period from December 2003 - January 2004 the battalion maximized its time by preparing plans and conducting Stability and Support Operations (SASO). Since the Battalion was one of two infantry Battalions in Okinawa deploying to OIF II, they had priority on ranges and were able to use Camp Schwab to execute patrolling, cordon and search, and convoy operations as part of their training. The unit then redeployed to the Al Anbar Province of Iraq in February 2004. During this deployment, the battalion operated in the cities of Haditha, Anah, and Rawah and participated in Operation VIGILANT RESOLVE (Battle of Fallujah I). The battalion returned home to the Twentynine Palms in July 2004.
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM-III 2005:
In January 2005, the battalion redeployed to Fallujah, Iraq to conduct security operations in support of the first Iraqi elections in 40 years. In April, the battalion conducted OPERATION SOUTHERN ADVANCE during which it uncovered over 19,000 lbs of insurgent ordnance and various weapons caches. On Father's Day, 19 June, the Marines of Weapons Company foiled a well coordinated enemy combined arms ambush. The Battalion redeployed to Twentynine Palms in July 2005.
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (05-07) 2006-2007:
In September 2006, the battalion redeployed to Iraq operating in the areas of Al Qa’im, Hit, and Anah. This combat deployment was defined by small units operating independently and partnering/embedding with their Iraqi counterparts. During this deployment the battalion conducted the full spectrum of Counter-Insurgency Operations (COIN). The end result was that the Darkside played a big role in what become known as the military "surge" in Iraq. This "surge" help set the conditions for victory in Iraq. After being extended for two extra months, the battalion redeployed back to Twentynine Palms in May 2007.
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (08.1) 2008:
In February 2008, the battalion returned to Iraq inheriting a 2,600 square mile area of operations. The dynamics of this Iraq deployment had dramatically changed from previous deployments. Although Iraq was still a dangerous place, attacks on U.S. forces, especially attacks on Marines in the Al Anbar Province had dramatically decreased. The U.S. military "surge" of 2007 worked. This next phase of counter-insurgency operations was defined by transitioning to Iraqi control. During this combat tour the battalion conducted relief in place with 1/7 in the Hit district and with 3/23 in the Haditha district. The battalion began the deployment spread out in over 28 separate combat outposts and expeditionary patrol bases. Distributed operations was the modus operandi. Over time the battalion transitioned from being embedded and partnered with the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to what became known as OPERATIONAL OVERWATCH. By September 2008, the battalion had consolidated down to 4 total outposts and had set the conditions for Iraqi Provincial Elections and independent Iraqi security operations. The battalion returned home to Twentynine Palms in September 2008.