View Full Version : 3rd TBS carries Pacifics weight 61 years plus

12-12-03, 09:52 AM
Submitted by: MCB Camp Butler
Story Identification Number: 2003121214625
Story by Lance Cpl. Chris Korhonen

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Japan -- For more than 61 years, one unit has been responsible for moving Marines and their gear in the Pacific: 3rd Transportation Support Battalion.

Activated on September 16, 1942 at Camp Elliot, San Diego, Calif., 3rd TSB now works at moving supplies and equipment for the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) in the Pacific Theater.

According to Gunnery Sgt. Todd M. Thompson, staff-noncommissioned officer in charge, Engineering Platoon, Support Company, the unit was created as a shore party battalion.

"Once Marines and equipment hit the beaches, the Marines of the shore party helped give a sense of direction to where the equipment, rounds, food and personnel had to go," said Thompson.

The unit was deployed to Guadalcanal in 1943 and participated in World War II campaigns including the Northern Solomon's, Cape Torokina (Bougainville), Guam and Iwo Jima.
After World War II the unit was relocated to Camp Pendleton, Calif. and deactivated on December 24, 1945.

Reactivated in March 1952 as the 3rd Shore Party Battalion, the unit was relocated to Camp McGill, Japan in August 1953. The unit moved to Okinawa in October 1957 where it has been ever since.

Besides the name and location changes of the unit, the basic job of moving equipment and supplies is nearly the same, but some things have changed over the years.

"Our mission has changed," Thompson said. "When 9th Motors and 3rd Landing Support Battalion merged to create 3rd TSB in 1999, there was a major change in the role of the battalion. It shifted more from landing support to motor transportation/landing support."

Thompson added that the gear and the equipment has changed too, and that is something to be expected.

"Everything changes with time and it's something you have to stay on top of. Fifteen years ago we weren't using a computer, now you can't live without a computer. It's the same thing with the gear. The gear we had 10 to 15 years ago wouldn't be too good for today's mission and what we have to do here."

"The focus then was more of logistics, more supply related," Thompson added. "Everybody came to (3rd TSB) for help. We channeled (supplies) in and out. Now our shift is more towards the motor transportation aspect. We still have the same mission, but it has been doubled, even quadrupled by picking up another battalion and merging the two battalions into one. We still have the same amount of missions that need to be executed. Now everything is going to one spot instead of two separate units."

According to Cpl. Stephen W. Kesteloot, heavy equipment operator, Engineering Platoon, the mission of 3rd TSB can be summed up in four words.

"We move the MEF," said Kesteloot.