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U.S. Navy HM3 Ruben De La Torre, a corpsman with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, posts security during the Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation (MCCRE) on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Sept. 21, 2019. 5th Marines conducted a regimental-sized MCCRE that included 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, and the Regimental Headquarters to increase the combat proficiency and readiness of the regiment. The MCCRE took place over a 10-day period and served as a proof of concept for future regimental-sized MCCREs. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alexa M. Hernandez)
U.S. Marines and a U.S. Navy Corpsman with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, participate in a simulated casualty evacuation during the Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation (MCCRE) on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Sept. 18, 2019. 5th Marines conducted a regimental-sized MCCRE that included 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, and the Regimental Headquarters to increase the combat proficiency and readiness of the regiment. The MCCRE took place over a 10-day period and served as a proof of concept for future regimental-sized MCCREs. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alexa M. Hernandez)
U.S. Marines with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, hike up a hill during the Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation (MCCRE) on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Sept. 23, 2019. 5th Marines conducted a regimental-sized MCCRE for 1st Battalion, 5th Marines and 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, as well as the Regimental Headquarters to increase the combat proficiency and readiness of the regiment. The MCCRE took place over a 10 day period and served as proof of concept for future regimental-sized MCCREs. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alexa M. Hernandez)
U.S Marines and Sailors with Echo Company, 2nd battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division conduct Bastard FEX III at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Aug. 14, 2019. Bastard FEX III is an opportunity for the Marines to conduct offensive and defensive operations at the platoon and company levels in preparation for future deployments. (U.S. Marine Corps video by Sgt. Mason Roy)
U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Shane Armstrong, an artillery cannon operator with 5th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, checks a stack of M270 rockets during exercise Steel Knight (SK) 19 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Dec. 7, 2018. SK19 is an annual training exercise and assesses the 1st Marine Division’s ability to conduct ground combat operations against a peer or near-peer adversary. The exercise challenges the division’s commanders, staff, and units in a dynamic scenario against a reactive and opposing force to refine the units’ command and control, interoperability, and fundamental warfighting skills. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Audrey M. C. Rampton)
A U.S. Marine Corps M142 High-mobility artillery rocket system fires a M270 rocket during exercise Steel Knight (SK) 19 at Army Facility Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, Dec. 7, 2018. SK19 is an annual training exercise and assesses the 1st Marine Division’s ability to conduct ground combat operations against a peer or near-peer adversary. The exercise challenges the division’s commanders, staff, and units in a dynamic scenario against a reactive and opposing force to refine the units’ command and control, interoperability, and fundamental warfighting skills. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Audrey M. C. Rampton)
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ramon Trevino, an infantry Marine with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, participates in a decontamination drill during Steel Knight 2019 (SK19) on Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., Dec. 06, 2018. SK19 is an annual training exercise and assesses the 1st Marine Division’s ability to conduct ground combat operations against a peer or near-peer adversary. The exercise challenges the division’s commanders, staff, and units in a dynamic scenario against a reactive and opposing force to refine the units’ command and control, interoperability, and fundamental warfighting skills. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Rhita Daniel)
U.S. Marine Corps LCpl. Jeremy Yeager, a machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, participates in a simulated air assault during Steel Knight 2019 (SK19) on Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., Dec. 05, 2018. SK19 is an annual training exercise and assesses the 1st Marine Division’s ability to conduct ground combat operations against a peer or near-peer adversary. The exercise challenges the division’s commanders, staff, and units in a dynamic scenario against a reactive and opposing force to refine the units’ command and control, interoperability, and fundamental warfighting skills. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Rhita Daniel)
U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, participate in a simulated air assault during Steel Knight 2019 (SK19) on Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., Dec. 05, 2018. SK19 is an annual training exercise and assesses the 1st Marine Division’s ability to conduct ground combat operations against a peer or near-peer adversary. The exercise challenges the division’s commanders, staff, and units in a dynamic scenario against a reactive and opposing force to refine the units’ command and control, interoperability, and fundamental warfighting skills. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Rhita Daniel)
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ramon Trevino, an infantry Marine with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, participates in a training flight in preparation for Steel Knight 2019 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Nov. 27, 2018. SK19 is an annual training exercise and assesses the 1st Marine Division’s ability to conduct ground combat operations against a peer or near-peer adversary. The exercise challenges the division’s commanders, staff, and units in a dynamic scenario against a reactive and opposing force to refine the units’ command and control, interoperability, and fundamental warfighting skills. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Rhita Daniel)
A U.S. Marine with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment participates in a training flight in preparation for Steel Knight 2019 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Nov. 27, 2018. SK19 is an annual training exercise and assesses the 1st marine Division’s ability to conduct ground combat operations against a peer or near-peer adversary. The exercise challenges the division’s commanders, staff, and units in a dynamic in a dynamic scenario against a reactive and thinking opposing force to refine the units’ command and control, interoperability, and fundamental warfighting skills. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Rhita Daniel)
News
Great Love Happens Once: The Enduring Story of John and Lena Basilone

By Cpl. Teagan Fredericks | 1st Marine Division | February 14, 2019

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Some ties run deep, like service to country or commitment to family. For one Marine, those two paths were intertwined.

Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone was both a lover and a fighter. He was notorious for his heroic actions on the beaches and in the jungles of the Pacific during World War II. During a heavy enemy attack in Guadalcanal, Basilone and his men defeated thousands of Japanese troops while he single-handedly repaired and manned multiple machine guns and risked his life running through enemy lines to retrieve critical ammunition. Often described as a decorated American hero and a Marine Corps legend, John Basilone was, in his heart, an ordinary family man.

After returning from his successful tour in Guadalcanal, Basilone received overwhelming amounts of publicity. He was offered roles in movies, invited to parades, and even spent time with the president. While this was all very flattering, he never seemed to find comfort in smiling for the cameras. John was attracted to the simpler things in life.

At the end of the day, after the cameras stopped flashing and parades came to an end, Basilone was a traditional man. He loved his country and he loved the brothers who fought by his side. He wanted, more than anything, to have a wife and a family of his own.

“I wanted to know how it was to love somebody the way Pop loved Mama,” Basilone admitted in James Brady’s book ‘Hero of the Pacific’ . “At least I wanted a few days, or weeks if I could get it, to know what it was like to be married. I wanted to be able to say ‘I love you’ a few times and mean it.”

Basilone was constantly surrounded by swarms of women who clung to his arms and posed for pictures. It would seem easy to find a wife with these circumstances, but he wanted something real. He eventually met his wife in the serving line of a chow hall on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Her name was Lena Mae Riggi, a sergeant at the time serving as a field cook in the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve. Her fellow female Marines fawned over Basilone and his heroism but she wasn’t impressed. She saw him as yet another patronizing Marine returning from war. Basilone found her independence refreshing and realized she was exactly what he was looking for.

“I nodded and she might have nodded, or not, but she wasn’t falling over herself to get to know me. I liked this girl. She was tough,” said Basilone in ‘Hero of the Pacific’.

John and Lena seemingly fell in love overnight. Just weeks after meeting, with Basilone’s inevitable return to the Pacific looming, the couple decided to get married on July 10, 1944 at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church in Oceanside, California. A month after their wedding, in the same setting that they first met, the newlyweds bid farewell in a Camp Pendleton chow hall. Basilone returned to the Pacific to continue fighting in the war.

"We talked of our life after the war - what we would name the first boy and the first girl," Basilone said in ‘Hero of the Pacific’. "She held up pretty well while we talked. She didn't cry, and pretended she was okay... I told her, 'I'm coming back,' and she believed me."

Although the romance was a whirlwind and the conditions were not ideal, the two seemed destined for a life together. According to Lena’s niece, Fiddle Viracola, Lena would always say “Great love only happens once.”

For Lena, her ‘great love’ never returned home from the Pacific. John was killed on Iwo Jima February 19, 1945 just seven months after marrying the love of his life and seven months before the allies would declare victory in the Pacific.

Although she was just 32 years old at the time of his passing, Lena never remarried, which was a testament to the unwavering bond she and John shared. She spent the remaining 54 years of her life in California where she would continue serving in the Marine Corps and volunteering throughout her community. When she died, she was still wearing the wedding ring that John gave her.

While John and Lena have both passed, their love still lingers in the halls of St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church. If you visit Oceanside today, the church remains in the same place it was in 1944 when the couple said their vows. This summer, 1st Marine Division plans to dedicate a plaque at the church to commemorate the anniversary of their wedding and to honor the story of their undying love.

It is stories like John and Lena’s that teach us about the foundations of trust, commitment, and sacrifice on which military relationships are built and remind us to cherish the time we have with the ones we love. When we spend every day with the people we care about, it is easy to overlook the concept of living without them. This Valentine’s Day, take a step back to recognize these people and don’t forget that time is the most precious gift you could give them


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Jordanian Frogmen, Italian EOD and U.S. Sailors Conduct Multilateral Demolition Operations Training
Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade
Sept. 1, 2019 | 2:29
CAMP TITIN, JORDAN (September 1, 2019) U.S. Navy Sailors with Task Force 56, Italian EOD and Jordanian Frogmen conducted multilateral demolition operations training in support of Exercise Eager Lion 2019. Eager Lion, U.S. Central Command’s largest and most complex exercise, is an opportunity to integrate forces in a multilateral environment, operate in realistic terrain, and strengthen military-to-military relationships. (U.S. Navy video by LT Ryan Slattery)
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Mission
The 5th Marine Regiment mans, trains and equips battalions, detachments, and individuals to deploy in support of our national security needs while maintaining a high state of readiness and professionally develops our Marines and Sailors to respond to crisis and/or contingencies when the nation calls.
COMMAND PHILOSOPHY

Our unit enjoys a long and distinguished heritage.  Generations of Marines

achieved its status as the Corps' most decorated regiment over a century of

combat in every clime and place.  We will build on the foundation laid by

our predecessors to forge a team that will be successful in combat and add

luster to the regiment's reputation.  The following guidance is intended to

explain my leadership philosophy and orient our individual and collective

energies.

Command Philosophy

5th Marine Regiment Leaders

Col. Rob Weiler
Commanding Officer, 5th Marine Regiment
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Sergeant Major Justin L. Stokes
Sergeant Major, 5th Marine Regiment
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Contact

5th Marine Regiment
PO BOX 555452
Camp Pendleton, CA 92055-5452

Duty Officer: 
760-763-8066

Camp Pendleton
Directory Assistance:
760-725-4111

UNIT MEMBER EMAIL ACCESS

Share Point Link:  https://eis.usmc.mil/sites/5mar/


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