First Light Armored Vehicle Battalion was activated in May 1985 and began receiving the first of its LAV-25 light armored vehicles in July 1985. On 9 October 1988 the battalion’s name was changed to First Light Armored Infantry Battalion.
In August 1990, First Light Armored Infantry Battalion deployed to Southwest Asia in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. During OPERATION DESERT SHIELD, First Light Armored Infantry Battalion was the forward unit of the First Marine Division, conducting screening and counter-reconnaissance operations along the Kuwaiti-Saudi Arabian border. During OPERATION DESERT STORM, after breaching the Iraqi defensive positions, First Light Armored Infantry Battalion attacked north to locate and destroy enemy forces. On the third day of the ground offensive, First Light Armored Infantry Battalion was the first of the Allied Forces to enter Kuwait City, capturing Kuwait International Airport on 28 February 1991. The battalion redeployed to the United States in April 1991. On 1 May 1992, First Light Armored Infantry Battalion deployed to Los Angeles on a four-hour notice and assisted the Long Beach Police Department in quelling civil disturbances and looting. After a successful deployment as part of the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Los Angeles, the battalion returned once again to Camp Pendleton. On 12 June 1992, First Light Armored Infantry Battalion was redesignated as First Reconnaissance Battalion (Light Armored). Almost two years later, on 1 March 1994, First Reconnaissance Battalion (Light Armored) underwent another name change and was redesignated First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.
In December 2001, Bravo Company, First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion deployed to Afghanistan as part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. The performance of the company again demonstrated the value of Marine Corps light armored reconnaissance assets as it performed a variety of combat missions in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan.
First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion again answered the call to arms in January 2003 when it was deployed to Southwest Asia in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. The Battalion, operating as part of Regimental Combat Team Five, was the first unit to cross the Iraqi-Kuwaiti Border on 20 March 2003. After a lightning attack northward through Iraq, First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion was instrumental in securing the capital of Baghdad. Due to its unique mobility and reconnaissance capabilities, the battalion left Regimental Combat Team Five and was assigned to Task Force Tripoli. As part of Task Force Tripoli, the battalion advanced further north, ultimately securing former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. Following the cessation of major combat operations, First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion moved from the northern portion of Iraq to the country’s extreme southern area along the Saudi-Arabian border to halt and deter illegal smuggling into Iraq. First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion redeployed to the United States at the end of May 2003. In February 2004 First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion again returned to Iraq, this time in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM II. The battalion conducted security and stability operations in the Al Anbar province of western Iraq as part of Regimental Combat Team Seven. First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion performed a wide range of critical missions, including key roles in regimental size operations, in order to capture or kill terrorist and insurgent forces. Additionally, the battalion was vital in patrolling the western borders of Iraq in order to prevent the infiltration of arms and insurgents. The battalion returned to the United States in October 2004. With its inherent mobility and lethality, coupled with high states of training and readiness, First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion is prepared to be the “tip of the spear” for any future contingency.
1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (LAR) once again deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom to relieve 2nd LAR on September 2005. Their primary focus being counterinsurgency and stabilization operations in Al Anbar province. They were relieved by 3rd LAR on MAR 2006 whereby they retrograded back to Camp Pendleton. In October 2008, 1st LAR re-deployed to Al Anbar province in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom to relieve 2nd LAR. They operated primarily out of Camp Korean Village, Ar Rutba, and Sinjar airfield conducting security and stabilization operations in preparation for the impending withdrawal of American troops and the sundowning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They were relieved by 3rd LAR on April 2009 and returned stateside. Upon return, Echo Company was activated in June 2009.
With the focus turned back to Operation Enduring Freedom, 1st LAR deployed in Jun 2010 to southern Helmand province. The battalion was spread across the area of operations occupying multiple patrol bases and combat outposts. Their efforts resulted in the neutralization and/or destruction of multiple enemy strongholds that were strongly entrenched within multiple villages and towns. In December 2010, 1st LAR was relieved by 3rd LAR and returned stateside. November 2011, 1st LAR returned to southern Helmand province to relieve 2nd LAR. They placed special emphasis on engaging with local officials to integrate with local law enforcement and army to clear and eradicate the enemy presence. Upon completion of their deployment, they returned in May 2012. In April 2013, Echo Company de-activated.
In July 2014, Alpha Company boarded the USS America in support of SPMAGTF South-14 in SOUTHCOM. Delta Company officially de-activated in Oct 2017. Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie companies continue a cycle of CHOPing by company in support of the rotating west coast MEUs.