By Buddy Blouin

Changes are coming for the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) as tensions rise. The 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment has a history of defending American interests all over the world. Now, the U.S. military is realigning the force to meet current and future readiness needs. Tensions refuse to settle throughout the Pacific region and this historic fighting force is being tasked with being prepared for potential conflicts. The goal is to have the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment fully prepared by fiscal year (FY) 2025.

A Brief History of the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment

The 3rd Marine Regiment has been called to serve many times throughout the years. Though originally part of the 1st Provisional Brigade, there have been many conflicts in which the unit has served. This includes both before and during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

As a part of Task Force Taro, 3rd Marines fought in the Middle East in the 1990s. Then, as a part of the response to the Global War on Terror, the unit fought in the region once again, this time in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While it’s safe to say that things are still a bit more tense than many would like in the Middle East, a focus remains on what is happening in Asia. Because of this, the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment is changing things up to better prepare for potential warfare in the Pacific.

A Continued Focus on the Pacific

You don’t have to look far if you’re looking for points of contention in the Pacific for the United States. Tensions continue to rise as the end of 2023 bringing renewed concerns surrounding China’s interest in reuniting with Taiwan.

Starting off 2024 on the wrong foot would be North Korea as the nation also renewed its threats to fight the United States. Beyond threatening to “annihilate” the U.S., North Korea also declared that it would no longer reunite with the southern part of the peninsula and plans to spend the year launching new spy satellites.

China’s well-documented naval push in Southeast Asia and beyond is also a point of concern, as is the intrusion of fishermen from China into the economic zones of other countries.

This is not only a concern for the many Americans who call nearby states and territories home but also for the more than 100,000 troops stationed in Asia. Additionally, any conflict could easily spread and affect billions of lives encompassing many other nations such as South Korea and Japan.

Defending the Pacific isn’t just a national interest for America but an international one for preserving world peace. The persistent threats throughout the region are exactly why such moves, such as the redesignation into the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment, are imperative to our nation’s current and future security.

How the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment Combats Emerging Threats

2024 is promising to be a busy time for the Marine Corps, as the force is prioritizing the development of the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment to counter potential threats in the Pacific.

Intending to achieve full operational readiness by FY 2025, the redesignation of the 3rd Marine Regiment to the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment has continued to unfold since it began in March 2022. The unit is based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

However, when the final Marine Littoral Regiment for the Pacific launches in 2025, its base will be Guam according to most experts. This organization is providing each unit with the specific firepower and strategies needed to combat rivals, specifically, China.

This means regiments having the Navy-Marine Corps expeditionary ship interdiction system, NMESIS, the unmanned aerial MQ-9 Reaper system, the AN/TPS 80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar(G/ATOR) system, and a light amphibious warship (LAW).

The 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment and others will have around 1,800 to 2,000 Marines and Sailors in each. There are many uses for such units and with the equipment they are gearing up with, everything from attacking and securing islands to recon and much more is all on the table.

Creating chokepoints is a key way the units can operate. During the 2022 Rim of the Pacific exercise, the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment was able to protect the Navy’s fleet using sophisticated technology.

This aligns with the other tactics and technologies available to the regiment. Marines are able to use mobile outposts that are effective in engaging enemy forces. The 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment and 3rd Marine Division were able to defend all three of their objectives using such tactics during training.




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