The 1st Marine Division Band was organized in 1940 during World War II in the Pacific Theater of Operations. During the early stages of World War II, the 1st Marine Division launched the first land offensive against Japan, and the band laid its instruments aside to become front line troops for the four months of the campaign. With the Division relieved at Guadalcanal and sent to Australia for rest and rehabilitation, the band again resumed its duties in the realm of music. Playing concerts at Melbourne, Sidney, and other principal cities of Australia, the band was met with enthusiastic acclaim and was soon unofficially adopted as "Australia's Own." The song Waltzing Matilda, an Australian icon, was adopted as the official song of the 1st Marine Division, after it was played for George Washington’s birthday in February 1943. With the surrender of Japan and war's end, the band returned to the United States.