The MRS’s 3rd Marine Division unit is only a secondary unit
and only displays at events that are either New Zealand or
Pacific theme.

 

 

About the 3rd Marines

1942 - 1945
Activated 16 September 1942 at Camp Elliot, California, as the 3rd Marine Division.
Deployed during January - Febuary 1943 to Auckland, New Zealand
Participated in the following World War II Campaigns:

* Bougainville
* Northern Solomons
* Guam
* Iwo Jima

Brief History of the 3rd Marine Division

The 3rd Marine Division was officially activated on 16 September 1942 at Camp Elliott, San Diego, California. Most of the original members of the division
were drawn from the cadre staff of the 2nd Marine Division. The division was initially built around the 9th Marine Regiment, commanded by Colonel Lemuel C.
Shepherd, Jr. who later became the 20th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Major General Charles D. Barrett was the first Commanding General of the
Division.

The division echeloned into Auckland, New Zealand between January and March 1943. In June of that year they moved onto Guadalcanal for additional
training. 27 September 1943 saw the division land as part of the Battle of Bougainville and fight on the island until their last unit to arrive, the 21st Marine
Regiment, embarked on 9 January 1944. During the course of the battle the division had approximately 400 Marines killed.

They returned to Guadalcanal in January, 1944 to rest, refit and train. The next operation the division took part in was the Battle of Guam. From 21 July 1944
until the last day of organized fighting on 10 August, the division fought through the jungles on the island of Guam. During these 21 days of fighting, the
Division captured over 60 square miles (160 km2) of territory and killed over 5,000 enemy soldiers. The next two months saw continuous mopping up
operations in which the Marines continued to engage left over Japanese forces. At the end of the battle the Division had sustained 677 Marines killed, 3,626
wounded and 9 missing.

The Division remained on the island of Guam for training purposes until they embarked as part of the landing force for the Battle of Iwo Jima. The 3rd Marine
Division was initially in reserve for the battle however they were committed one regiment at a time as the initial regiments that landed needed to be relieved.
The 21st Marines came ashore on 20 February followed by the 9th Marines and a reinforcement BN. of the 3rd Marines on 25 February. The Marines of these
two infantry regiments, supported by the artillery of the 12th Marine Regiment and tanks of the 3rd Tank Battalion, fought on Iwo Jima until the end of
organized resistance on 16 March and the subsequent mopping up operations for the next month. All elements of the Division were back on Guam by 17 April
1945. The fighting on Iwo Jima would cost the 3rd Marine Division 1,131 killed in action and another 4,438 wounded.

After the return to Guam, the Division began preparing for the invasion of Japan. This however never took place as Japan surrendered in August 1945. The
Division was deactivated on 28 December 1945.

 

US FORCES IN NEW ZEALAND