History of 1st Battalion, 12th Marines

The Mission of the 12th Marine Regiment is:

To provide close and continuous fire support by neutralizing, destroying, or suppressing targets which threaten the success of the supported unit.

This is accomplished by performing the following functions:

Provide timely, close, accurate fire support.

Provide depth to combat (Long Range Fire).

Provide counter fire.


In August 1953, the 12th Marines sailed from San Diego for Yokohama, Japan where it was eventually stationed at Camp McNair, Japan.  For three years, Japan was the battalion's home, although it frequently left the islands for training maneuvers.  In February 1956, the battalion departed Japan for exercises on Iwo Jima; at the conclusion of these exercises the entire regiment moved to Okinawa where it was based until it joined the expeditionary forces entering Vietnam in March 1965.

In Vietnam the history of the 1st Battalion parallels that of the 12th Marines of providing artillery support to the III Marine Amphibious Force.

The first units of 1/12 landed in the Republic of Vietnam in early March 1965.  Battery F was the first to arrive when it landed at Da Nang on 8 March with BLT 3/9.  Two days later BLT 1/3 arrived at Da Nang; with it was Battery A.  The initial missions of the batteries were to aid in the defense of the airfield at Da Nang and to support the units of the BLTs.  As the rest of the battalion arrived, 1/12 began to initiate fire missions in support of South Vietnamese army operations in the area.

The first major operations of the war that the 1st Battalion participated in were Operation STARLITE in Augusts 1965 and Operation HARVEST MOON which took place in late 1965.  For its part in Operation STARLITE, the battalion was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.  The 1st Battalion, 12th Marines was often involved in supporting numerous Marine infantry search and destroy missions such as Operation ORANGE which took place in the spring of 1966.  In this operation 1/12 supported the 3d Marines in the area of Thoung Duc Tan.

After its entry into Vietnam the personnel of the battalion were not only engaged in supporting combat missions but also busily engaged in civic action projects.  These activities included the repair of buildings -- especially schools -- and the distribution of food, clothes, soap, and toys.

By the end of 1966 units of the battalion were stationed in various locations in the northern sector of South Vietnam, including Da Nang, Cam Lo, Phy Bai, Khe Sanh, and Con Thein.  However, by the summer of 1967 most battalion units were located in Camp Carroll.  Most of the batteries were relocated there after their involvement in Operation PRAIRIE during the spring.

The next big operation for the battalion was KINGFISHER which commenced in the summer of 1967 and terminated on 31 October, 1967.  It was immediately followed by LANCASTER which included the furnishing of support once again to the 3d Marines.  With the ending of the operation in January, 1968, LANCASTER II was begun.  In this engagement 1/12 furnished support to the 4th Marines.

The battalion is still located in Vietnam and is presently engaged in providing artillery support to Marine Infantry units.




Historical Branch
G-3 Division
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps
12 May, 1969






Chronology History