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Prepare to March: 7th Marine Regiment marks 89 years of history, heritage

14 Aug 2006 | Staff Sgt. Jim Goodwin

It wasn’t a formal birthday ball with all the bells and whistles, but Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller would have been proud.

Hundreds of Marines, sailors and soldiers currently serving in Iraq’s Anbar province with the Twentynine Palms, Calif.-based 7th Marine Regiment, paused for a couple hours Aug. 14 to honor the unit’s 89th anniversary.

The ceremony included a cake cutting, a reading of the regiment’s history and lineage, and comments from Col. W. Blake Crowe, the regiment’s commanding officer.

“Battle of Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and others that this regiment participated in…you can sit up here for hours and talk about the valor that was demonstrated there,” said Crowe.

Still, the regiment’s heritage, history and traditions is more than just the achievements of past Marines who served, fought and sacrificed, said Crowe.

“The people who carry out those orders every day are those nameless Marines who sometimes don’t get recognized,” said Crowe. “This regiment belongs to the Marines. This is your regiment.”

Part of 1st Marine Division, the regiment, designated “Regimental Combat Team 7” while deployed to Iraq, and its subordinate units have spent the past seven months combating insurgents, mentoring Iraqi Security Forces, and providing security in western Al Anbar Province.

The regiment’s area of operations encompasses more than 30,000 square miles, stretching from the borders of Syria and Jordan, east hundreds of miles along the Euphrates River and to Hit – a city about 70 miles northwest of Ramadi.

Crowe spoke of the regiment’s past achievements through major wars and small conflicts alike. He also noted the 27 U.S. service members who’ve lost their lives serving with the regiment during the current deployment, as well as the unit’s achievements since arriving in February of this year.

“We have 2,000 Iraqi police out there right now, and when this regiment got out here ... in February, there were zero,” said Crowe. “What was the first regiment who came over here in ’91? 7th Marines. What was one of the first regiments who got called out during OIF I? 7th Marines.”

Formed in Philadelphia in 1917 during World War I, 7th Marine Regiment has participated in every major war in U.S. history since its inception. More than 30 Marines and sailors received the Medal of Honor for heroic actions in various wars and conflicts while serving with the regiment.

Such Marine notables as “Chesty” Puller, John “Manila” Basilone and Mitch Paige all served with the regiment.

“These battalion colors, regimental colors, all they represent is the history, traditions…and lineage, which belongs to every Marine in this room,” said Crowe. “At the end of the day, these colors are yours.”

7th Marine Regiment Lineage (from the 7th Marines’ official website):

1917-1919:

* Activated Aug. 14, 1917 in Philadelphia, Pa., as the 7th Regiment
* Deployed during Aug. 1917 to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
* Participated in the occupation of Cuba, August 1917-August 1919
* Assigned during December 1917 to the 3rd Provisional Brigade
* Detached during July 1918
* Assigned during December 1918 to the 6th Provisional Brigade
* Detached during June 1919
* Relocated during August 1919 to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
* Deactivated 6 September 1919
* 1st Battalion, 7th on active duty in San Diego Calif., 1 April 1921 until deactivated 1 September 1924.

1933-1934:

* Reactivated 6 September 1933 at Quantico, Virginia as the 7th Marines
* 2ndBattalion, 7th deployed in Cuban waters
* Regiment deactivated 17 January 1934

1941-1949: 

* Reactivated 1 January 1941 at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and
* Assigned to the 1st Marine Brigade
* Reassigned during February 1941 to the 1st Marine Division
* Relocated during April 1941 to Parris Island, South Carolina
* Relocated during September 1941 to New River, North Carolina
* Attached during March 1942 to the 3rd Marine Brigade
* Deployed during April-May 1942 to Samoa
* Detached during August 1942 from the 3rd Marine Brigade and
* Reassigned to the 1st Marine Division
* Participated in the following World War II campaigns:
* Guadalcanal, 18 September 1942 - 5 January 1943.
* Eastern New Guinea, 9 - 13 October 1943
* New Britain, 26 December 1943 - 1 May 1944,
* Peleliu, 15 September - 30 October 1944.
* Okinawa, 1 April - 30 June 1945.
* Participated in the occupation of North China
* September 1945-January 1947
* Landed at Tangku, 30 September 1945.
* 3rd Battalion deactivated at Peitaiho, China - 15 April 1946.
* 7th Marines departed China 5 January 1947.
* Relocated during January 1947 to Camp Pendleton, California and
* Assigned to the 1st Marine Division
* Deactivated 6 March 1947
* 7th Marines reactivated 1 October 1947 at Camp Pendleton.
Its composition consisted of only four companies.
* Deployed in Alaska, 26 January - 18 February 1949
* Company "C" deployed to China 2 May - 23 June 1949 to safeguard the withdrawal of Americans and was the last element of FMF to depart China.

1950-1964:

* The Regiment minus the 3d Battalion reactivated 17 August 1950 at
Camp Pendleton, California and assigned to the 1st Marine Division
* 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines reactivated 11 September 1950 at Kobe, Japan.
* Deployed during September 1950 to the Republic of Korea
* 7th Marines landed at Inchon, Korea 21 September 1950 and began active combat operations against enemy forces.
Participation in the Korean War, continued until 27 July 1953. Operated from:
* Inchon-Seoul
* Chosin Reservoir
* East Central Front
* Western Front
Participated in the defense of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, July 1953-March 1955
The Regiment departed Korea on 10 March 1955 relocating to Camp Pendleton, California on 24 March 1955.
The 1st and 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines participated in the Cuban Missile Crisis, 27 October - 14 November 1962.

1965-1970:

* Deployed during July - August 1965 to the Republic of Vietnam
* The 7th Marines sailed for Okinawa 23 May 1965 arriving between 9-18 June, 1965.
* The 3d Battalion, 7th Marines landed at Qui Nhon, Republic of Vietnam 1 July 1965. The first unit of the Regiment to commence operations against the enemy in Vietnam.
* The rest of the Regiment entered the Republic of Vietnam between 7 July - 14 August, 1965.
Participated in the war in Vietnam,1 July 1965- 13 October 1970, Operating from:
* Qui Nhon
* Chu Lai
* Duc Pho
* Dai Loc
* Da Nang
* Fire Support Base Ross
* Landing Zone Baldy
* Quan Que Son

The 7th Marines departed the Republic of Vietnam and relocated during 23 September - 23 October 1970 to Camp Pendleton, Calif., and was reassigned to the 5th Marine Amphibious Brigade.

Reassigned during April 1971 to the 1st Marine Division.

Relocated during January 1990 to Twentynine Palms, California

Participated in Operations Desert Shield And Desert Storm, Southwest Asia, August 1990 – March 1991

Participated in Operation Restore Hope, Somalia, December 1992 - April 1993
1995

* Participated in Operation Warrior, October 1995
* Participated in Operation Vigilant Sentinel, August – November 1995

January 2003 – Present

* Participated in the Global War on Terror
* Participated in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom

Email Staff Sgt. Jim Goodwin at: goodwinjm@gcemnf-wiraq.usmc.mil