The 5th Battalion, 11th Marines was activated at New River, North Carolina on 1 May 1942. During June and July of 1942, the Battalion deployed to Wellington, New Zealand in preparation for operations against Axis forces in the Pacific Theater. On 1 January 1943, the Battalion was redesignated as the 4th Battalion, 11th Marines, and participated in the campaigns for Guadalcanal, Eastern New Guinea, New Britain, Peleliu, and Okinawa. Throughout World War II, the Battalion earned numerous honors, including three Presidential Unit Citations, one Navy Unit Commendation, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Streamer with one Silver Star, and the World War II Victory Streamer.
Following V-J Day, in September and October 1945 the Battalion redeployed to Tienstin, China, where it participated in occupation duties and received the China Service and Occupation Service Streamers. December 1946 saw the reassignment of the Battalion to the 7th Marine Regiment. In January 1947, the Battalion relocated to Camp Pendleton, California, where it was reassigned to the 3rd Marine Brigade, Fleet Marine Force.
On 17 February 1947, the Battalion was deactivated as a part of the postwar draw down and reorganization. On 16 July 1947, the Battalion was reactivated and assigned to the 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. Less than three months later, on 30 September 1947, the Battalion was deactivated once more. The outbreak of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula brought a rapid buildup of American combat forces in 1950, and the Battalion was reactivated on 4 August of that year. Assigned to the 1st Marine Division, the Battalion deployed over the next month and a half to Kobe, Japan. Moving into Korea in September 1950, the Battalion participated in action against Communist Forces throughout the war. In support of Allied forces, the Battalion operated from Inchon and Seoul to the Chosin Reservoir, and along the East Central and Western Fronts, earning three Presidential Unit Citations, one Navy Unit Commendation, the Korean Service Streamer with one Silver and four Bronze Stars, and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation. Following the armistice, the Battalion participated in occupation duties along the Demilitarized Zone from August 1953 through March 1955, when the Battalion returned to Camp Pendleton, California.
In June 1962, the Battalion relocated to Twenty-nine Palms, California, where it was reassigned to Force Troops, Fleet Marine Force. In February 1966, the Battalion deployed to the Republic of Vietnam and was reassigned to the 1st Marine Division. Operating from bases near Chu Lai and Da Nang, the Battalion provided fire support to American, South Vietnamese, and Allied forces. The Battalion earned two Presidential Unit Citations, the Vietnam Service Streamer with two Silver and two Bronze stars, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and the Vietnamese Meritorious Unit Citation (Civil Actions) Streamer.
In October 1970, the Battalion redeployed to Twenty-nine Palms, California. After four more years of service as part of Force Troops, Fleet Marine Force, the Battalion was deactivated on 15 November 1974. On 15 February 1979, the Battalion was reactivated at Twenty-nine Palms, California from units of the 1st Field Artillery Group, Force Troops, Fleet Marine Force and designated as the 4th Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force.
The Battalion once more assumed the designation of "5th Battalion, 11 Marines" on 1 October 1984. From 5 May 1988 through 1990, the Battalion provided fire support to the 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, before reverting back to the control of the 1st Marine Division.
After Iraqi forces invaded the nation of Kuwait in August of 1990, the Battalion deployed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during Operation DESERT SHIELD, utilizing equipment from the Marine Corps' Maritime Prepositioning Ships. Having recently transitioned to the use of the M198 towed howitzer, two of the Batteries reverted back to the M109 and M110 self-propelled howitzers offloaded from the shipping. Prior to the initiation of the ground war, in January and February 1991, the Battalion took part in artillery raids against key Iraqi targets located north of the obstacle belts along the Kuwaiti border. Firing rocket-assisted projectiles, targets were effectively engaged out to ranges of 30 kilometers. As Operation DESERT STORM began, the Battalion found itself as the General Support artillery for the 1st Marine Division. Numerous munitions, to include scatterable mines, were employed in support of Coalition maneuver forces. For action in these operations, the Battalion earned the Navy Unit Commendation and the Southwest Asia Service Streamer with two Bronze Stars.
Returning to Twenty-nine Palms in the spring of 1991, the Battalion began preparations for a move to Camp Pendleton, which was accomplished in the summer of 1992. From Camp Pendleton, the Battalion began deploying firing batteries, beginning with Battery T, to Okinawa, Japan and the western Pacific in support of the Unit Deployment Program and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. In the summer of 1994, a massive brush and forest fires ignited across the western United States. Exhausting all trained crews, the nation called on the Marines. Task Force WILDFIRE was established around a command element from the 11th Marine Regiment, with the 5th Battalion being a principle element of the force. The Battalion deployed and suppressed fires in the vicinity of Wenatchee, Washington, earning the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
The Battalion deployed again in February 2003 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. From Kuwait, the Battalion prepared for combat operations in Iraq. On 19 March 2003, Operation IRAQI FREEDOM began and the Battalion crossed the Kuwaiti border in General Support of Regimental Combat Team 5 and Regimental Combat Team 7. The battalion fired more artillery rounds and drove further in less time than any artillery battalion in history during the invasion. During April of 2003, the Battalion was in Direct Support of Task Force TRIPOLI, which conducted operations in the vicinity of Tikrit, Iraq.
From 2004 through 2008, through deploying individual augments as well as whole batteries, Fifth Battalion supported Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, as well as ongoing deployment cycles supporting Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs).
In 2008, Fifth Battalion officially transitioned over to become the Marine Corps' first and only High Mobility Artillery Rocket Battalion (HIMARS). That same year, Battery T became the first active duty HIMARS battery deployed in support of operation IRAQI FREEDOM, deploying to Al Anbar Province.
With combat operations in Iraq coming to a close in 2009, Fifth Battalion received a new mission and began deploying batteries to Afghanistan in support of operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Since 2009 Fifth Battalion has trained and deployed HIMARS batteries and individual augments to support operation ENDURING FREEDOM.