Organized just two months after the United States declared war on Germany, the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment originally consisted of four companies. Departing for France in mid-June of 1917, the unit fought in a host of battles including Bellau Woods, Chateua-Thierry, Meuse-Argonne, St. Michiel, and Soissons, to name a few of the most notable. For its courage under fire, the French government awarded its members with the Croix de Guerre and the Fourragère, the unit award of the Croix de Guerre.

During World War II, the battalion was deployed to the Pacific Theater, where it fought at Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester (New Britain in New Guinea), Pelelius, and Okinawa, winning three Presidential Unit Citations. In the Korean War, the battalion helped turn back the North Korean forces at the Battle of the Pusan Perimeter, was part of the landing forces during the amphibious assault at Inchon, and served as the vanguard that led the Marines breakout from the Chosin Reservoir in late November and early December 1950. It was during the Korean War the battalion adopted the nickname “Darkhorse,” a nod to the call sign of its commander Colonel Robert Taplett.

The battalion continued its tradition of unswerving courage under fire during the Vietnam War. In 1966, it was deployed along with the 3rd Marine Division as part of Operation Hastings, designed to clear the Demilitarized Zone of encroaching North Vietnamese troops, and in 1968 helped U.S. and South Vietnamese forces defeat NVA and Viet Cong troops during the Battle of Hue in 1968. During this period, the unit adopted the nickname “Consummate Professionals,” and used the phrase on their unofficial unit patch.

The outbreak of the First Gulf War saw the unit deploy with the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade in support of Operation Desert Storm, and in 2003 it returned to the region to take part in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the first of several deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the Global War on Terrorism. It was during this period that the “Darkhorse” moniker was revised and added to the informal unit patch.
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About us

As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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