1st Battalion, 4th Marines
1/4 Logo
1st Marine Division
Camp Pendleton, California

On order, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines locates, closes with, and destroys the enemy by fire and maneuver or repels the enemy's assault by fire and close combat.

The battalion was originally activated in April 1911 as the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.  The battalion first saw combat action in November of 1916 in the Dominican Republic where the men of the battalion bravely fought and where 1st Lieutenant Ernest Williams was awarded the battalion’s first Medal of Honor.  The mission in the Dominican Republic was to protect foreign lives and property and to provide the “muscle” for a military government whose strategic goal was to bring stability to the troubled island republic.  In 1924, the battalion returned to its home base in San Diego, CA.   During 1926 to 1927 the battalion guarded mail in a variety of outposts throughout the Western U.S. 

The period from February 1927 to November 1941 was the China era in the battalion and would leave an enduring mark on its history.  This service in Shanghai earned the battalion the title “China Marines” and started the practice of using the Chinese dragon in different official and unofficial logos and mast heads.  In November 1941 the battalion along with the entire 4th Marines deployed from China to the Philippines.  The outbreak of World War II found the battalion serving as part of the U.S.Forces defending the Philippines.  Ordered to the strategic island of Corregidor, the battalion fiercely defended their assigned sectors against overwhelming enemy forces.  In the end, General Wainwright, United States Army, ordered the battalion to surrender, in an effort to save lives against the hopeless situation.  After the surrender, the battalion ceased to exist.  As prisoners the men would endure torture and incredible hardships.

On 7 August 1942 the 1st Raider Battalion, assigned to the 1st Marine Division, landed on Tulagi in the British Solomon Islands as the opening phases of the Guadalcanal Campaign commenced.  After Tulagi was captured, the Raiders were moved to Guadalcanal to defend Henderson Field.  One of their most notable engagements was the "Battle of Edson's Ridge", where the 1st Raiders scored a major victory over Japanese forces.  For their heroic combat leadership, Colonel Merritt Edson and Major Kenneth Bailey were both awarded the Medal of Honor, the latter posthumously.

On 1 February 1944 a new 1st Battalion, 4th Marines was activated by the redesignation of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion to 1st Battalion,    4th Marines.  For the remainder of World War II the battalion would fight at two of the bloodiest campaigns in the Pacific, Guam and Okinawa.  Corporal Richard Bush was awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallant actions on Okinawa.  Of note, the 4th Marines, adopted the motto, “Hold High the Torch” during this period.  This legendary phrase served as a symbolic pledge to the warriors of the old 4th Marines who were captured at Corregidor.

From 1945 to 1952 the battalion would go through a series of deactivations and reactivations both overseas and in the U.S.  The most notable service during this period was in China during 1946 where the battalion, belonging to the 6th Marine Division, participated in the occupation of North China.  The battalion was deactivated in November 1947 and remained so until 1952.  The battalion would spend the Korean War stationed in Camp Nara, Japan.  In 1955, the battalion was transferred to Kaneohe Bay, HI and would serve in the 1st Marine Brigade.

In the spring of 1965 the battalion deployed to combat in Vietnam.  From 1965 to 1969 the battalion engaged in numerous conventional and counter-insurgency operations in the I Corps.  Named Operations such as Prairie, Beacon Hill, Desoto, Deckhouse and Purple Martin would be fought from places such as the Rockpile, Camp Carroll, Con Thien and Vandergrift Combat Base.  Corporal Larry Maxam and Private First Class Douglas Dickey both heroically gave their lives in Vietnam and were posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their brave actions.

From October 1969 to 1977 the battalion would serve in Okinawa and also off the coast of Vietnam.  A significant event that occurred during this period was the battalion’s participation in the rescue of the SS Mayaguaz along with supporting the Southeast Asia emergency evacuations. 

In 1977 the battalion moved to Twenty-nine Palms, CA and remained there until 1989.  In January 1989 the battalion would be assigned to 1st Marines at Camp Horno, aboard Camp Pendleton.  In August 1990 the battalion deployed aboard ship to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. 

The battalion’s history during the 1990’s and into the 21st century would be highlighted by expeditionary operations in support of national objectives in Southwest Asia, Eritrea, Kenya and drug interdiction operations along the U.S. border.

The terrorist’s attacks on 11 September 2011 began the battalion’s campaign in support of the Global War on Terror.  In March 2002 the battalion served as a reserve force in support of the initial combat operations in Afghanistan.

In March 2003 the battalion was part of the initial invasion in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The battalion fought in Nasiriyah, Al Kut and Bagdad.  In May 2004, the battalion again returned to combat in Iraq which was highlighted by a major victory against insurgent forces in Najaf.  In 2005 elements of the battalion supported Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts in Mississippi and Louisiana. 

From 2006 to 2009 the battalion conducted two more tours in Iraq.  These tours were in Al Qaim and the war torn city of Fallujah.  The battalion would be the last infantry battalion of Marines to leave Iraq in February 2009. 

In May 2010 the battalion attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in support of the Western Pacific deployment. During this deployment the battalion executed the first anti-piracy in the Marine Corps in over 200 years by capturing the pirated motor vessel, Magellan Star.

In 2012 the battalion deployed to Okinawa, Japan as the ground combat element for the 31st MEU.  The battalion successfully completed operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region.  Highlights of this tour included exercises in Thailand, Korea and the Philippines.

Information coming soon.

LT Samuel Cho
Battalion Chaplain
1st Battalion 4th Marines
Phone #: (760) 725-6456 (office)

Chaplain Cho, born in South Korea, but raised in Denver Colorado, graduated from the University of Colorado in 2006. In 2011, he graduated with a Masters in Divinity with an emphasis in pastoral counseling from Denver Seminary. Chaplain Cho completed 5 units of C.P.E. from 2009 to 2013, and was commissioned in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps in 2016.

LT Cho served as a youth pastor in the Korean church context for 10 years, as well as take part in a church plant in 2013 as one of three pastors.  In 2012, he became a Staff Chaplain at Lutheran Medical Center in Arvada, Colorado, a PRN Chaplain at Good Samaritan Medical Center in Broomfield, Colorado in 2015, and a Staff Chaplain at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado in 2016.

In the clinical setting, he conducted numerous funerals, memorial services, weddings, grief counseling, emergency room triage ministry, and practiced the ministry of presence. In the parish setting, he has extensive experience in preaching, teaching, and leading Bible studies.

In the fall of 2017, LT Cho reported to Officers Development School in Newport, Rhode Island. After graduating from ODS, he reported to Chaplaincy School in Columbia South Carolina and graduated in the summer of 2017.

His first assignment was as a command chaplain at Camp Fuji, Japan. After serving there for 2 years, LT Cho detached in June 2019 and became the Battalion chaplain for 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion at Camp Pendleton, California. In July 2020, LT Cho assumed his current duties as the Battalion chaplain for 1st Battalion, 4th Marines.

His hobbies include lifting weights, HIIT, and playing guitar. His personal decorations include: Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and Army Achievement award.

Chaplain Cho is married to Tiffany Kates and lives in Oceanside California.



Family Readiness Officer
Mrs. Sebrina King
Phone #: (760) 500-2539




Letter from the Family Readiness Officer

I was raised a Marine Corps BRAT and have been married to my Marine (now Retired)  for 26 years now. I have 4 children and have first hand knowledge of how deployments can affect a person. Although, it is challenging at times, I so glad that I experienced this lifestyle.  It has given me the chance to grow and thrive. 

I have been with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines for almost 12 years (September 25, 2008).  I have been here for the families, Marines & supporters through many deployments.  I may not have all of the answers but will provide you with the necessary resources available to help you throughout the cycle. 

Again, the assistance I provide is not only available during deployments but throughout your Marine's time here with 1/4. I am the direct link of communication between the Battalion Commander and the Families. Communication is the key to readiness.

The Family Readiness Program provides ALL Marines the option of having up to four (4) authorized contacts. The information I can provide to you will depend on the Marine's Contact Authorization Form. The information that I will be providing is completely "friendly". I am NOT involved with any type of casualty or injured assistance calls. This information will be handled by Headquarters Marine Corps. So, rest assured, when you hear from me, it is to offer support or to share official communication from the Command Team.

Whether you are experienced or new to this lifestyle, there are great workshops available through The Marine Corps Family Team Building. They offer great programs here at Camp Pendleton; including L.I.N.K.S Workshops (Lifestyle, Insight, Networking, Knowledge & Skills) for Spouses, Teens and Marines. They will be offering an online version of L.I.N.K.S for Parents and Siblings soon. CREDO (Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation) offers great retreats for individuals, Couples and Families. These are just a few programs that are available. For more information, please shoot me an email.

If you would like to volunteer, there are many opportunities available. The Command Team is always looking for Morale Support Volunteers. These volunteers are open to anyone interested. Again, please contact me for more information.

The Battalion is always seeking volunteers, so if you are interested, please let me know.  There are many different areas to volunteer.

Please do not hesitate in contacting me. I am here for you.

There are several ways to contact me; by email at Sebrina.king@usmc.mil or by phone at 760-500-2539.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Sebrina King
1/4 Deployment Readiness Coordinator


What is the Unit, Personal and Family Readiness Program?

The Unit, Personal and Family Readiness Program provides support to the individual Service Member and their family to successfully balance life, career and mission events.  This support is provided through proactive outreach and intervention using Official Communication, Information, Referrals and Resources to build personal resiliency and maintain both Unit and Personal Readiness and Deployment Support.  This support is extend to the Service Members entire family and includes children, spouses, parents and other extended family members.

Who can participate?

Everyone is encouraged to participate.  This includes parents, grandparents, siblings, spouses, fiancées, children and more.  If you are interested, we’d love to have you.

Why the change?

Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps conducted a study that found our volunteers were overworked and overburdened.  By having a civilian Deployment Readiness Coordinator ((DRC), it removes a majority of the burden from the volunteers.  This frees up volunteers to support and interact with the unit’s families and participate in the events they enjoy.  The expanded roles also allow the volunteers to tailor their participation to what they enjoy.  If you enjoy planning events, you can be a Family Readiness Volunteer.  If you would rather provide input and help shape the program, then the Family Readiness Advisor role is perfect for you.  The goal is to provide our volunteers with more choices and less stress while maintaining that vital family contact.

Who do I contact to sign-up/ ask questions?

Contact the Deployment Readiness Coordinator for more details.




1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment
Box 555432
Camp Pendleton,
CA 92055

Command Duty: (760) 500-6435
Unit Voting Assistance Officer: (757) 773-2018
Camp Pendleton Directory Assistance: (760) 725-4111


1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment Leaders

Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines

LtCol J. O'Melia

Lieutenant Colonel Christopher O’Melia was born in Morristown, New Jersey. He graduated from the University of Miami in May of 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems. In May 2004 he enlisted into the Marine Corps as a Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Specialist and was...

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Battalion Sergeant Major, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines

SgtMaj F. Audu

Sergeant Major Audu enlisted in the Marine Corps in July of 2001 and conducted Recruit Training at MCRD Parris Island. Upon completion, she reported to Marine Combat Training at Camp Geiger, N.C. ...

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1st Marine Division