ARABIAN SEA --
Marines and sailors gathered aboard USS New Orleans March 11 to celebrate the birthday of a battalion one year and seven decades old.
The Camp Pendleton-, Calif., based 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, turned 71 during a regularly scheduled deployment as the infantry component of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
“Legacy is what connects us as a Marine Corps,” said battalion commander Lt. Col. Fridrik Fridriksson in a ceremony speech. “As we look at this birthday, think about the men who served before us … Look back at our history and draw from it to make us better.”
Since its inception in 1941, the battalion has fought in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. More recently, the battalion served three tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and five tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sgt. Alex M. Piasecki said of his grandfather who served with the battalion in Vietnam, “It’s an honor to uphold the traditions that he helped maintain. I am humbled and proud to be a part of this milestone and celebrate the birthday of this historic battalion.”
Piasecki, a 27-year-old Tomball, Texas, native, serves with a platoon of amphibious assault vehicles that augments one of the battalion’s rifle companies.
The battalion deployed in November 2011, reinforced by a range of ground-combat attachments to form Battalion Landing Team 3/1.
The 11th MEU is deployed as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force. The group is providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet area of responsibility.