ITEM CO. 3/3

3rd Bn (Reinf.) 3rd Marines formed Battalion Landing Team 3/3. BLT 3/3 and Marine Air Group 13 including the Black Sheep Squadron and the Death Angels Squadron became part of Brig. Gen. James P. Riseley's 1st Marine Provisional Air-Ground Task Force. The 3rd Bn (Reinf.) includes artillery, tank, shore party, motor transport, engineer, service, ordinance, medical and signal units. We boarded The USS CAVALIER (APA 37) 23 Jan., 1953, departed San Diego on 25 Jan., 1953, arrived Pearl Harbor 31 Jan., 1953 and went to MCAS Kaneohe, Oahu, T.H. to continue training.

MCAS Kaneohe was a beautiful base, on the ocean, and was like paradise after dusty, hot Camp Pendleton. and this was the first time that Item Company was billeted in a wooden barracks instead of six man tents. Our company office was in the Barracks and the Property Room was across the street in the Kitchen of an old married quarters. We immediately started our infantry training; weapons training, live firing, drynet training, obstacle course, and marching, etc. Our next phase of training was at Bellows Field, a former airbase, located nearby, and at Kahuku where we could work on our mapping and company sized tactics. We generally went to Honolulu on Liberty. The ride up and down the Kaneohe side of the Pali was interesting to say the least, some lemo drivers had to stop and back up to make the hairpin turns in the road.

16 May, 1953, BLT 3/3 had a major Armed Forces Day parade down Kapiolani Blvd. in Honolulu. We paraded with full combat gear. It was the first major parade held in Hawaii with Marine ground units since the end of the war, and the crowds were HUGE!. The Armed Forces Day celebration included live firing at Ala Miana park. We fired rifles, machine guns, mortars, and rocket launchers (bazookas) out into the water. The Death Angels and the Back Sheep Squadrons sweep across the city of Honolulu during the parade and they put on a demonstration on close air support at Ala Miana park.

22 May, 1953, embarked (HOW & ITEM Companies, 11 officers and 403 enlisted men) and sailed aboard USS CALVERT (APA 32) at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, T.H. and arrived and disembarked at Hilo, T.H. on 23 May, 1953. Disembarking at Hilo where we were greeted by large crowds for many of the Hawaiians in our battalion were from that island. We trained and conducted live firing at Kahuka Ridge, a training area for the Hawaiian National Guard preparing for a forthcoming amphibious landing with air cover, on the island of Maui.

8 June, 1953 we aboard the USS CALVERT (APA 32) from the beach at Hilo, T.H. and we sailed for Maui, T.H. on 11 June, 1953. This was the first time that we left from the beach and embarked off shore. We struck our camp early in the AM and moved down to Hilo where we sat on the beach until about half a day and then embarked onto the USS CALVERT. While we were om the beach, a man from the Salvation Army and two children drove up in a station wagon and they had a big box of cookies and a cooler of Koolaid in the back end. We lined up and they ran out of cookies and Koolaid so they left but they returned with more cookies and Koolaid. I don't remember how many trips they made but when we left the beach, they had cookies and Koolaid to pass out.

On 13 June 1953, we made a landing near Makua, Oahu, TH, we landed and returned to the Calvert that day.

On 14 June 1953, we were transferred to the USS FLOYD COUNTY (LST 762) or the USS HAMILTON COUNTY (LST 802) and we made a landing BLTLEX 53F in am-tracks at Maalaea Bay, Maui. The amtrack that I was in came out the door at full speed and it went under water and travels about 25 feet. Fortunately it came back up. We landed between the towns of Wailei and Keawakapu with air support from Marine Air Group 13, the Black Sheep and the Death Angels Squadrons, and a Naval task group consisting of destroyers, transports, LST's, LSD's, and other types of amphibious shipping. The landing was filmed and later used in the movie The Cain Mutiny. The assault included a very dry and thirsty forced march across Maui as part of our training. On 17 June 1953, we re-boarded The USS CALVERT (APA 32) at Maui, T.H.; had one day of liberty on Kahului, Maui, T.H. and returned to Pearl Harbor, Oahu, T.H. arriving on 19 June, 1953.

We boarded the USS TORTUGU, LSD 26 and sailed on 23 June, 1953, we arrived San Diego, CA. on 30 June, 1953. Then we returned to the 25 area (back to the tents) at Camp Pendleton. On 13 Aug., 1953 we embarked aboard USNS Marine Serpent (T-AP 202) at San Diego, CA. bound for Camp Fuji Japan, we arrived and disembarked at Yokohama, Japan on 29 Aug. 1953.

Contact ITEM Co 3rd MARINES 1951-54
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