A Glance at III MEF History
III MEF was established as I Marine Amphibious Corps on Oct. 1, 1942. It was renamed III Amphibious Corps, April 15, 1944, and contributed to noteworthy military campaigns, such as the Solomon Islands campaign, the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign, and the Battle of Okinawa, during World War II.
In September 1945, III AC redeployed to Tientsin, China, and supported the occupation of Northern China before being deactivated June 10, 1946.
III AC was reactivated on May 6, 1965 in Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, and redesignated III Marine Amphibious Force on May 7, 1965. III MAF, which consisted of 1st Marine Division, 3rd Marine Division and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, operated in Quang Tri, Thua Thien, Quang Nam, Quang Tin, and Quang Ngai from May 1965 to April 1971 during the Vietnam War.
III MAF was redesignated as III Marine Expeditionary Force on Feb. 5, 1988 and has since supported military operations throughout the world. In the Middle East, III MEF supported Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Provide Comfort, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. III MEF elements also played a vital role in Operation Sea Angel, in Bangladesh, from May-June 1991; Operation Fiery Vigil, in the Philippines, during June 1991; and Operation Restore Hope and Operation Continue Hope, in Somalia, from December 1992 to March 1994.
Today, III MEF supports a wide range of military operations, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. III MEF provided HADR assistance during Super Typhoon Megi in the Philippines during 2010; earthquake-relief efforts in Japan during March 2011; Operation Tomodachi, a tsunami-relief effort in Japan during May of the same year; flood-relief efforts in Thailand during October-November 2011; typhoon-relief efforts in the Philippines during December 2012 and November 2013; earthquake-relief efforts in Nepal during 2015 and in Kumamoto, Japan, in 2016.
III MEF, currently headquartered in Okinawa, Japan, maintains a forward presence in support of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the U.S. and Japan, and other regional allies of the U.S. III MEF also conducts combined operations and training throughout the region in support of the National Security Strategy for Theater Security Cooperation.
III MEF subordinate units include the 3rd Marine Division, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group.