The 7th Marine Regiment was formed during World War I on 14 August 1917 at Philadelphia, PA and immediately deployed to participate in the occupation of Cuba from August 1917 to August 1919. They returned to Philadelphia in August 1919 and were deactivated on 6 September in the demobilization that followed the war. When the Marine Corps was called upon to provide peacekeepers in the Caribbean, elements of the Regiment were reactivated on 6 September 1933 at Quantico, VA and deployed on Naval ships off the Cuban coast. At the end of the crisis, 7th Marines was again deactivated on 17 January 1934.
With the cloud of World War II on the horizon, the nation expanded the size of the Corps and on 1 January 1941 the 7th Marine Regiment was reactivated in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and assigned to the 1st Marine Brigade. The Regiment moved to Parris Island, SC before settling in New River, NC. On 2 April 1942, the Magnificent 7th embarked for the Pacific to reinforce units already there to stem the Japanese march towards Australia. On 18 September 1942, after training in jungle warfare in the Samoa Islands, the Regiment landed in the Solomon Islands on Guadalcanal. For four long months the Regiment relentlessly attacked the Japanese defenders and repulsed their Banzai charges and suicidal attacks. Over the course of a hundred fights, the Regiment earned a reputation for courage and daring. On Guadalcanal the heroism of Medal of Honor winners Manila John Basilone and Mitchell Paige, and Navy Cross winner "Chesty" Puller, represented the actions of the Marines of the 7th Marine Regiment.
Arriving in Australia in January 1943, the vast majority of the Regiment suffered from malaria, wounds, or just plain fatigue; but they had accomplished their mission. Though the Regiment went to Australia to train and refit for the coming battles and not for liberty, a grateful population gave them a tumultuous welcome. Again and again the Regiment was called upon to storm the Japanese-held islands in the Pacific. The 7th Marine Regiment fought in such places as Eastern New Guinea, New Britain, Peleliu, and the island fortress of Okinawa. From Guadalcanal to Okinawa, the Regiment had written a history of courage and ferocity in combat.
In the years after the war, 7th Marines continued to serve on far off shores, occupying North China from 1945-1947 and disarming the Japanese troops still stationed in that country and keeping the peace in a China torn by civil war. Upon returning to Camp Pendleton, CA from China in January 1947, the Regiment was deactivated yet again on 6 March only to be reactivated on 1 October. The reactivation was short lived, however, and 7th Marines was deactivated on 1 October 1949.
On 17 August 1950 the Regiment was reactivated, and on 21 September 1950 the Regiment landed as part of the 1st Marine Division in General MacArthur's brilliant stroke to stem the North Korean tide at Inchon, South Korea. The Marines of the Regiment fought in Korea with the same tenacity and bravery that their predecessors had shown on the battlefields of World War II. From Inchon to the Yalu River, at the "Frozen Chosin" Reservoir, and in the long defense of South Korea until the armistice in 1955, Marines of the Regiment wrote further glorious chapters in their unit's history. The Korean War, however, was only the prelude to the long Cold War period that would hold the world on the brink of nuclear confrontation for the next 40 years.
In November 1962, substantial parts of the Regiment embarked for the Caribbean and possible action in Cuba, aimed at forcing the removal of Soviet nuclear missiles pointed at the heart of America. As the crisis subsided, 7th Marines returned to Camp Pendleton, CA. The confrontation with Communism, however, was not finished with the removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba.
In July 1965, the Regiment went into action against the foes of freedom. This time the battleground was Vietnam. On thousands of squad sized patrols, in scores of Battalion and Regimental sized operations, and in fierce Division sized battles such as the TET Offensive, the Marines of the Magnificent 7th proved that they were worthy successors to those who had gone before them. Whether in armed action against the enemy in places like Chu Lai, Da Nang, and Duc Pho, or in civic action with the local populace, the Marines of the Regiment performed magnificently. Through the long course of the war in Vietnam, until they left as part of the American withdrawal, the Marines and Sailors of 7th Marines never wavered from their duty. As the Regiment sailed for the United States in September of 1970, the members of the Regiment were proud of their role fighting against Communist aggression.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the Leathernecks of 7th Marines trained in every clime and place preparing for the moment when they would once again be called to fight the Nation's battles. In August of 1990, shortly after shifting the home of the Regimental colors from Camp Pendleton, CA to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, CA, the Marines and Sailors of the Regiment deployed to Saudi Arabia to halt Iraqi aggression against its neighbors in Operation DESERT STORM and Operation DESERT SHIELD. Manning the "Line in the Sand", the Regiment faced the Iraqi invaders. For the attack into Kuwait, the Regiment fought with skill and aggressiveness, overwhelming the enemy. After their victory, they returned to Twentynine Palms in March 1991 with the knowledge they were warriors shaped in the mold of those who had served their Country and Corps before them as members of this elite Regiment.
In August of 1991, 7th Marine Regiment became Regimental Combat Team Seven (RCT-7) due to unique organizational changes that occurred with the addition of 3rd Light Armored Infantry (LAI) Battalion, 1st Tank Battalion and Delta Company, 3rd Amphibious Assault (AA) Battalion. In December 1992, RCT-7 deployed on Operation RESTORE HOPE to relieve famine and return order to Somalia. Over a five month period the Marines and Sailors paid in blood as they worked tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of the Somalian people and to restore order to their ravaged nation. On 13 August 1993, on the eve of the Regiment's 76th anniversary, the Regiment formally marked the return to its original designation by changing from RCT-7 to 7th Marines (Reinforced).
On 8 October 1994 the action cycle began again for 7th Marines (Reinforced) when a crisis situation in Southwest Asia forced the decision to terminate a combined arms exercise in order to prepare for a Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) deployment. This high paced contingency operation was titled Operation VIGILANT WARRIOR. Although the National Command Authority did not give the order to deploy the entire Regiment, its advanced elements moved into the Arabian Gulf in response to Iraqi troop movements toward Kuwait. In Operation VIGILANT SENTINEL, from August to November 1995, this sequence was repeated.
In August of 1996, organizational changes designated 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (formerly LAI Bn) and 1st Tank Battalion as separate battalions in direct support of the 7th Marines' MPF mission along with Delta Company, 3rd AA Battalion, who returned to their parent unit.
In the intervening years of relative calm, the 7th Marine Regiment continued to maintain a high state of readiness by continual and rigorous training evolutions. The calm was shattered on 11 September 2001 by a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and an unknown target that resulted in a plane crash in Pennsylvania. With the Nation suddenly involved in the Global War On Terrorism, 7th Marines prepared for its duty. In January 2003, the Regiment deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) and was instrumental in the "March to Baghdad" with 1st Marine Division in March 2003. Over the next six years, RCT-7 would deploy to OIF five additional times and fight in towns like Ramadi, Fallujah, Al Qiam and Hit in Al Anbar province. Through each deployment, the Marine of the Regiment could proudly display the earned nickname of the Magnificent 7th.
Concurrently, the United States was fighting battles in Afghanistan as part of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF). Though subordinate battalions of 7th Marines had a near continual presence in the Helmand River valley, the Regimental Headquarters deployed as RCT-7 three times starting in March 2008. Cities such as Marjeh, Sangin, and Lashkar Gah, where some of the heaviest fighting in the country took place, were all under the command of RCT-7. On 31 July 2013, RCT-7 furled its colors as the final RCT to serve in OEF.
As the 7th Marine Regiment nears its centennial, the Marines of the Magnificent 7th have a proud heritage to look upon. Though the uniforms and equipment have changed, the Honor, Courage and Commitment that resides within each Marine is steadfast and everlasting.