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4th Reconnaissance Battalion

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Active  1 July 1962–present
Garrison/HQ  San Antonio, TX
Type  Marine Division Recon
4th Reconnaissance Battalion
Branch  United States Marine Corps
Part of  Marine Forces Reserve 4th Marine Division
Patron  Major Anthony "Cold Steel" Walker

The 4th Reconnaissance Battalion is a reserve reconnaissance battalion in the United States Marine Corps. It falls under the 4th Marine Division and Marine Forces Reserve.



The battalion has broken ground in Marseilles, Illinois for a new Reserve Training Center which will be ready by 2010.


Between 1943–1945 during World War II the unit was designated Company D (Scout), 4th Tank Battalion of 4th Marine Division.

The unit was officially constituted in San Antonio, TX on 28 August 1948, as Company "C" of 20th Infantry Battalion. Since that time San Antonio area Marines have served variously as the 7th Rifle Company, 14th Infantry Battalion.

  • The 4th Reconnaissance Battalion designated on 1 July 1962.
  • On 27 November 1990 the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion activated Company "D" in Albuquerque, NM, in support of Operation Desert Shield.
  • In December 1990, Company "D" deployed to Saudi Arabia and eventually participated in the Operation Desert Storm.
  • Company "B", in Billings, MT was activated on 22 February 1991 and deployed to MCB Camp Pendleton, CA
  • The "San Antonio" companies of the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion were activated on 11 March 1991 and deployed to MCB Camp Pendleton, CA and MCB Camp Lejeune, NC.
  • World War II

    The unit fought in the Battle of Kwajalein, Battle of Saipan, Battle of Tinian and the Battle of Iwo Jima.

    Eniwetok, February–March 1944

    The Planning for the seizure of Eniwetok began when the fighting was still taking place on Kwajalein. The D-Day for Eniwetok was scheduled for 17 February 1944. Eniwetok is made up of forty islets or more and was given the operation codename, DOWNSIDE. The preliminary pre-D-Day amphibious reconnaissance was performed by both Captain Edward Katzenbach's designated 4th Marine Division's Company D (Scout), 4th Tank Battalion, and Captain James Jones's Amphibious Reconnaissance Company of the V Amphibious Corps.

    The landing plan encompassed four phases, on D-Day, three islets in the north of the atoll were to be seized. Two were to be used for artillery bases, Aistu and Rujioru—codenamed CAMELIA and CANNA. Bogen Island, or ZINNIA, lies north of the islet of Engebi (FRAGILE). ZINNIA was tasked to be seized by Katzenbach's 4th Division Scouts while Jones's company was ordered to recon and seize CAMELIA and CANNA. Katzenbach and his scouts fought the heavy surf and fierce 25-knot winds, which instead forced them to land on an island next to ZINNIA. By 0327 on D+1, the scout Marines crossed over to Bogen and declared it secured.

    General Thomas E. Watson, assistant division commander of 4th Marine Division, ordered both the amphib recon and scout companies to continue reconnoitering, seizing and clearing other islands in the atoll, moving south toward the islet of Japtan, or LADYSLIPPER. While VAC Amphib Recon Company were operating on Parry island, or LILAC, in the eastern-side, Katzenbach's Scouts were clearing the islands and coral outcroppings on the western-side of DOWNSIDE. Once Katzenbach reached the larger islet of Rigii (POSY), 20 miles west of LILAC, and were engaged by hostile fire from the Japanese defenders; the scouts killed nine Japanese before declaring POSY secured.

    After the seizure of both Aitsu and Rujioru, artillery emplaced on the two islands and were used in fire support for the occupation landing forces on Engebi, or FRAGILE. General Watson attached the 2nd Separate Tank Company from 22nd Marines and Captains Jones's and Katzenbach's recon and scout companies to the Army 106th Infantry Regiment (less 2nd Battalion) and designated the reinforced unit as 3rd Battalion, 106th Infantry (3/106) as reserve.

    At 0908, the Marines hit the beach for the main assault of 1st and 2nd Battalions of 22nd Marine Regiment. Third Battalion were called in early to follow in trace. At 1230, both the VAC Amphib Recon Company and 4th Division Scout Company were ordered to augmented the 22nd Marines. Jones's company reported to 1st Battalion and Katzenbach's company reported to 2nd Battalion, both landing at 1320. On 23 February 1944, the Eniwetok Atoll was declared secured, closing Operation DOWNSIDE.

    Saipan, June 1944

    Company D (Scout) performed a series of special missions with 2nd Marine Division's scout company, that included a recon detachment with 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment (1/9). Seizing the summit of Mount Tapochau later repulsed a Japanese counterattack on that highest point of Saipan.

    Iwo Jima, February 1945

    Before the operations of Iwo Jima, two officers and twenty enlisted scout-recon Marines from the scout and sniper platoons of 4th and 5th Marine Division and three amphib recon Marines from Company B of VAC Amphib Recon Battalion, FMFPAC were detached to composite together a "provisional amphibious reconnaissance group" made up of recon Marines and four Underwater Demolition Teams (#12, #13, #14 and #15). The reason was to expedite the passage and briefing of raw beach and enemy information to their own respective parent operations (S-3) and intelligence (S-2) staffs. Embarking on USS Blessman (DE-69) the augmented recon and UDT team, along with the four UDTs embarked on high-speed transport ships USS Bull (DE-693), USS Bates (DE-68), and USS Barr (DE-576), and headed to Iwo Jima, arriving just off the eastern beaches of Iwo Jima on the morning of 17 February 1945, two days prior to D-Day (D-2).

    Naval gunfire support commenced from battleships USS Idaho (BB-42), USS Nevada (BB-36) and USS Tennessee (BB-43) and by 1025, Admiral William Blandy ordered the fire-support battleships to retire and clear the approach lanes for the UDT and recon Marines. The UDT and Marines were tasked with taking photographs of the beaches and enemy defenses, if possible. At 1100, the four APDs slowed and dropped the Higgins boats, launching their rubber boats. While they made their preliminary landing toward shore, they immediately encountered enemy fire. Evading fire, they made their way to the beachhead, every one of the twelve landing personnel carriers were either hit or sinking. After completing their photo reconnaissance, they made their way on the remaining landing craft still floatable and returned to the APDs.

    Korean War

    In 1950, with the outbreak of the Korean War the Marine Corps Reserve was activated. San Antonio Marines joined the mobilization via troop train to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California in July 1950.

    Interim years

    February 1991—March 1991, the Marines of 4th Reconnaissance Battalion volunteered for extended active duty in support of three counter-narcotic operations under the control of Joint Task Force Six headquarters in El Paso, TX.

    Operation Iraqi Freedom

    Marines from 4th Reconnaissance Battalion have served multiple combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom supporting active-duty Force Reconnaissance units and Division-level reconnaissance units. In 2003 Delta Company, attached to 1st Recon Battalion, was one of the first Marine Units in many parts of Iraq. The Battalion acted as the Spear head for the 1st Marine Division spawning the book and HBO Show "Generation Kill". Charlie Company augmented 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force in support of Task Force Tarawa. Charlie Company lead reconnaissance efforts through the initial invasion of Iraq, during the Battle of An Nasiriyah, the Jessica Lynch rescue, and initial movements to secure Baghdad and Al-Kut. In 2004, Bravo Company, attached to 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, participated in the Second Battle of Fallujah. In 2005 Headquarters and Service Company augmented 3d Battalion, 25th Marines in Al Anbar. In 2006 and 2007, 4th Reconnaissance Battalion headquarters and platoons operated as an independent command in support of Regimental Combat Team 7 in Iraq's Al Anbar Province. Detachment 4th Force Reconnaissance Company 4th Marine Division

    Previous Address of Company "C" 4th RECON BN 4601 Cocoa Avenue Reno, Nevada 89506-1298

    Unit Mission


    The primary mission of the force reconnaissance company is to conduct pre-assault and deep post-assault reconnaissance operations in support of a landing force and its subordinate elements.

    Unit History

    4th Special Infantry Company 15 August 1952 – 30 June 1962

    49th Rifle Company 1 July 1962 – 31 January 1967

    Company "I", 23rd Marines 1 February 1967 – 30 September 1971

    Company "C", 4th Reconnaissance Battalion 1 October 1971 – 31 December 1982

    Det. 4th Force Reconnaissance Company 1 January 1983 – present History of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in Reno The Reno Marine Reserve Unit was activated as the 49th Special Infantry Company, United States Maine Corps Reserve on 15 August 1952, with Captain Albert L Simson as the first Commanding Officer. The Honorable Charles H. Russell, Governor of the state of Nevada, officiated at the activation ceremony and proclaimed a Marine Corps Reserve Week for the State of Nevada. In March 1953, the first formal inspection of the unit was held and on 13 June of that year, with thirty Marines in attendance, the first annual field training was held at the Marine Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. During the remainder of the 1950s, the unit participated in field training exercises at Camp Pendleton, Landing Force Training Command, Coronado and Marine Corps Base, and Twenty-nine Palms, California. Home state training was conducted throughout the regions surrounding Reno and at Marine Barracks Hawthorne, Nevada.

    Beginning in 1956 Cold Weather and Mountain Warfare Training were held each year at Bridgeport, California and survival training was conducted at Stead Air Force Base, Nevada in 1960-61.

    To conform with the reorganization of the Marine Corps Reserve, this unit was redesignated as the 49th Rifle Company, FMF, United States Marine Corps Reserve on 1 July 1962. During its young life, the Reno unit has participated in training exercises "Whiplash", "Pikepole" and "Inferno" and has supported the underprivileged boys summer outing at Camp High Sierra in Bridgeport, California.

    A further update of Reserve reorganization, caused the unit to be redesignated as Company "I", 2nd Marines, on 1 February 1967. From that date until 1 October 1971, Company "I" grew rapidly and focused on training for its ultimate goal of mobilization.

    On 1 October 1971, restructure of the Marine Reserve again caused a change in Reno. The unit was redesignated as Company "C", 4th Reconnaissance Battalion. As their newly acquired reconnaissance mission coincided nicely with the terrain and environment, the Reno Marines set about to accomplish individual and small unit Reconnaissance Training to include: Mountain Warfare, Helicopter Rappelling, Swimming, Amphibious Reconnaissance and the opportunity for Parachuting and Scuba diving. In August 1972, the unit relocated from its original drill center on Evans Avenue near the University of Nevada, Reno to its present location at 4601 Cocoa Avenue on the former Stead AFB north of town.

    Continuing on with their reconnaissance training, Co. C, 4th Reconnaissance Bn, performed numerous training missions in both in and outside the United States throughout the 1970s. Unit members participated in cold weather exercises in Alaska in 1974. Also that year they were called upon to assist in making a recruiting film, demonstrating, both cliff and helicopter rappelling, helocasting, small boat operations and patrolling techniques. The highlight of the 1970s was the participation in NATO Exercise BOLD GUARD, 1978 in West Germany.

    On 1 January 1983, the most recent chapter in the history of the Reno Marines began with redesignation, as Detachment, 4th Force Reconnaissance Company. As part of a reserve Force Reconnaissance Company headquartered in Hawaii, the training of the marines in this unit only intensified. Newer challenges and opportunities were made available and the unit rose to them.

    During the 1980s Marines from Detachment 4th Force Reconnaissance Company participated in large scale amphibious exercises such as SOLID SHIELD, 1986 and KERNEL-BLITZ, 1989 and in numerous smaller operations both locally and abroad. Honing their diving skills took Reno Marines to Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Lake Tahoe and Key West, Florida. In 1985, a parachute team from the unit took 1st place in the International Parachute Competition sponsored by the Rhode Island National Guard. During this decade, Marines from the unit also participated in cold weather exercises in Norway and jungle operations in the Philippines.

    Starting in 1986, the Reno Marines began their association with the Reno Air Races. This event, held annually every September attracts people from around the world. The Marines of Detachment 4th Force Reconnaissance Company conduct both static line and free-fall parachute operations at the military capabilities demonstration that opens each day's events. This event is a crowd-pleaser and sets tone for the day's racing events.

    The intensive reconnaissance training of the 1980s finally paid off in 1990 when on 13 November, 37 of the detachment's Marines were activated to serve in OPERATION DESERT SHIELD/STORM. These Marines were sent to MCB Camp Pendleton to further hone their reconnaissance skills and then were attached to the 5th MEB in support of the liberation of Kuwait. Landing in Saudi Arabia shortly after the start of the ground campaign, the Reno Marines moved into the newly freed country Kuwait and conducted battle damage assessment. The remaining Marines in Reno continued to train in anticipation of being activated in support of the war.

    Redeploying back with 5th MEB, the Reno Marines participated in Operation SEA ANGEL in the country of Bangladesh. This operation provided humanitarian relief after a large typhoon devastated the country.

    Finally in July 1991, the Detachment was reunited when the 37 Marines returned home. With an experience cadre of Persian Gulf veterans, training went into high gear for the remainder of the 1990s. The Marines of Detachment 4th Force Reconnaissance Company continued to focus on advanced reconnaissance training utilizing the newest equipment. Diver's underwent the LAR 5 transition course and military free-fall (HALO/HAHO) parachuting missions were undertaken.

    The continuing mission in support of the active duty forces found the Reno Marines conducting training with the U.S. Army, U. S. Marines, Dutch, French and British Royal Marines both at home and abroad. Smaller unit deployments became more frequent with Marines supporting active duty forces in Operation BALAKITAN in the Philippines and COBRA GOLD exercises with the Royal Thai Marines. Integration of training with the active duty forces, particularly 1st Force Reconnaissance Company became more and more common.

    Locally, Marines of Detachment 4th Force Reconnaissance Company assisted in flood relief operations in Western Nevada and Northern California during the winter and spring of 1997. The long-running Toys-for-Tots campaign run by the unit provides Christmas presents for thousand of local children.

    As Detachment 4th Force Reconnaissance Company approaches the new century, it continues to maintain its high standard of training and professionalism. The Marines of the unit stand ready to serve their Corps, community and country.


    4th Reconnaissance Battalion Wikipedia

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