Greetings from Okinawa

Recon Marines Past and Present,

Iíd like to take this opportunity to greet you and familiarize you with the men and mission of the newly redesignated 3d Reconnaissance Battalion. But before I do that, I would like to thank all the Recon Marines and Sailors who went before me to defend this great nation. The men of this battalion are proud to serve in a unit that has such a distinguished heritage and can only hope that they will honor its former members by upholding the pride and values of those who have gone before us.

Before being redesignated 3d Recon Battalion this unit operated under the designation as 5th Force Recon Battalion. This unique unit was the result of merging 3d Recon Company and 5th Force Recon Company which was stood up on 21December 1998. The reason for the merger was to capitalize on personnel, training and equipment in order to support all the reconnaissance needs of III MEF and 3d Mar Div. With personnel being stationed on Okinawa for only 12 months, both 3d Recon Company and 5th Force Recon Company were suffering from personnel SHORTAGES THAT often resulted in training and maintenance problems. The merger allowed the battalion to build a better-trained and better-maintained reconnaissance unit. The merger also required 5th Force Recon Company to move from Camp Hansen to Camp Schwab. This proved in some ways to be a logistical and administrative challenge.

The consolidation of III MEF/Division Recon companies required building a functional Battalion staff with a communications platoon, supply section, motor pool, paraloft, boathouse, dive locker, and armory. Through all of this operations continued. Operations were conducted in areas such as: Australia, Hawaii, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Mainland Japan. All exercises required coordination between host countries and sister services and were accomplished by the Logistics/Embark sections of this unit.

Presently LtCol King commands 3d Recon Battalion with Maj. Sharrock as the Executive Officer and 1stSgt Bloom as the battalion SgtMaj. The unit is broken up into 3 Companies: Headquarters and Service Company, Alpha Company and Bravo Company. H&S Company is Commanded by 1stLt Harris with 1st Sgt Grant as his right hand man. The Company is broken down into several sections to include: S-1, S-2, S-3, S-4, S-6 (Comm), Amphib section, Dive Section, Paraloft Section, Supply, Armory, Motor Transportation, and Medical. The Recon Companies are broken down into 4 platoons each with Alpha company being lead by Capt York and 1stSgt Ashton and Bravo Company being lead by Capt. Mazzella and 1stSgt Morgan. On 30 June Lt.Col. Daas assumes command of the Battalion and Capt. Swanson will assume command of a company. 1stSgt. Thom is inbound as the company first sergeant.

The unit has been very active with many operations and exercises under its belt. In recent months the battalion has deployed to Thailand, Korea, Guam, Mainland Japan, Philippines, and East Timor. Additionally, numerous on Island operations and training packages were conducted. Some of the training included in these off island excursions include airborne sustainment training, cold water diving operations, demolitionís training and live fire exercises. All training has the focus of putting the Marines in as realistic combat environment as safety allows. of particular note was a combined operation with the 1st ROK Marine Division Special Recon Battalion. That operation included combined live fire and jumps as well as combined parachute operations. Additionally the battalion attended the Korean Mountain warfare course.

3d Reconnaissance Battalion Mission: 3d Reconnaissance Battalion conducts amphibious and ground reconnaissance operations, surveillance, battlespace shaping, and limited scale raids in support of the III Marine Expeditionary Force, 3d Marine Division, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and other Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTF'S) or a Combined/Joint Task Force.

Presently, Capt. White and GySgt. Sessions has the Force Reconnaissance Platoon with 31st MEU. Lt. Brown and SSgt (GySgt select) Martinez provide the R&S platoon. On 1 July Capt Galvin and GySgt Elder take over as the Force Reconnaissance Platoon and Capt Howard and SSgt (GySgt select) Decessari take the reins for R&S.

Overall our focus for training is Amphibious Reconnaissance. It is the one thing that we must master. Inherent in this skill is communications, patrolling, and controlling supporting arms. We must understand the requirements for amphibious operations including hydrography, beach requirements, and CLZs. Integral to this is, insertion means including surface swim, parachute, HRST, dive, and boat operations. The key to success is conducting all operations as a team under tactical conditions.

Another key focus is Command and Control that allows our Platoon Headquarters to coordinate team actions and RAOs forward while the Battalion staff and Company Staffs build proficiency in ROC operations and support of the forward platoons/teams.

Status: presently we have six full platoons. We are using a five man team concept with our goal being six man teams when HQMC is able to source the 5th and 6th member of the force reconnaissance teams. Additionally we have a nine man detachment attached to landing force carat which will conduct operations over the next 3 months in the Pacific. Finally we have a Basic Reconnaissance Course training platoon of 11 men who will graduate on 30 June. We hope to build a 7th platoon this summer and reach our full t/o of 8 platoons by next summer.

The future goal for reconnaissance in III MEF/ 3d Marine Division is a separate Force Reconnaissance Company for III MEF and the Reconnaissance Battalion in support of 3d Marine Division. With the many peacetime and operational commitments we hope this happens as quickly as possible but realize sourcing our requirement is tied to Marine Corps end-strength.

Lt. Col Douglas M. King - Commanding

18 June 2000