1st Battalion 7th Marines History

The history of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines began on 1 April 1921 in San Diego, California. On September 1924, the  battalion was deactivated with its personnel being absorbed by the newly organized 4th Regiment. For the next twenty years the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines was activated, redesignated, and disbanded on numerous occasions until the being reborn on 1 January 1941. Just over a year after its rebirth the battalion boarded ships for the Pacific Theatre and World War II, where they saw their first action of the war at Guadalcanal. Under the leadership of the Battalion Commander, Lt.Col Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, the battalion distinguished themselves many times over for valor and bravery as the valiantly held their positions against the onslaught of a regiment of seasoned Japanese attackers. It was also during this campaign that the legendary Sgt John "Manila John" Basilone become the first enlisted man in World War II to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Throughout the remainder of the war, the "First Team" distinguished themselves in many different campaigns, including Palely and Okinawa. Finally, the battalion deployed to North China for occupation duty at the end of the war.

Following the occupation duty, the "First of the Seventh" was sent to Camp Pendleton, California where they were deactivated on 5 March 1947. However, in response to the Communist aggression in Korea, the battalion was again called into action and on 21 September 1950, the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines made an amphibious landing at Inchon, Korea. Once more the "First Team" distinguished themselves in the battle as they took part in operations such as Hook, Reno, and Vegas, as well as fighting their way to and from the Chosin Reservoir. It was during Korean Conflict that such names as 1stLt Frank Mitchell, SSgt Archie Van Winkle, PFC John Kelly, Cpl. David Champagne and future Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, LtCol Raymond C. Davis, became part of Marine Corps history as each was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Following the cessation of hostilities in Korea and through 1965, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines spent time both in Camp Pendleton and Okinawa while maintaining its combat readiness. In August 1965, the battalion was once again called to service, this time in the Republic of Vietnam. For the next five years, the "First Team" participated in numerous operations such as Starlight, Piranha, Oklahoma Hills. During these operations and many others, the Battalion was honored repeatedly, earning the Presidential Unit Citation Streamer four times and the Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer three times.

1st Battalion, 7th Marines was the first unit to man defensive positions in Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield in August of 1990. The unit was an integral member of Task Force Ripper. As Desert Shield became Desert Storm, 1st battalion, 7th Marines participated in the diagonal thrust into the heart of Kuwait City, spearheading the liberation of Kuwait from Iraq. The battalion redeployed to Twenty-nine Palms, California in March of 1991.

On December 11, 1992, the first elements of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines arrived at Mogadishu, Somalia for Operation Restore Hope. Battalion operations were conducted in Baidoa, Bardera, Oddur, Afgoye, and Mogadishu. 1st Battalion, 7th Marines relieved Task Force Mogadishu for occupation of the Stadium Complex in Mogadishu, Somalia on January 25, 1993. On April 24, 1993, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines turned over their mission and area of operations in Mogadishu to the 10th Baluch Battalion and redeployed to Twenty-nine Palms, California.