First Composite Radio Company

Fleet Marine Force Pacific

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   1st Composite Radio Company has a storied past which begins in World War ll. Due to the    varied names assigned over the years, this narrative will refer to 1st Radio as “The Unit”.

In January, 1962, 42 Marines from 1st Composite Radio Company, FMF, designated as Sub Unit #1, were the first U.S. Marines to participate in the ongoing build-up which was to evolve into the Vietnam War. Map of South Pacific

On June 16, 1943, the unit was first activated at Linda Vista Camp, Camp Elliott, San Diego, CA as 2nd Radio Intelligence Platoon, Signal Company, Amphibious Corps, Pacific Fleet. In 1943 and 1944, the unit served at Guadalcanal; Noumea, New Caledonia and Peleliu in the Western Pacific.

In October, 1944, the unit was re-designated as 2nd Separate Radio Intelligence Platoon. Between November, 1944 and January, 1945, the unit relocated to Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, then on March 21, 1945 was deactivated. On June 9, 1945, the unit was reactivated as 2nd Separate Intelligence Platoon, Headquarters Company, Force Signal Battalion, Fleet Marine Force (FMF), attached to Pacific Fleet Radio Unit #128. Again, on September 28, 1945, the unit was once again deactivated. 

Map of Hawaii The unit remained deactivated until September 16, 1958 at which time it was reactivated at Camp Smith, Territory of Hawaii, as 1st Radio Company, assigned to FMF, Pacific. In June, 1959, 1st Radio Company relocated to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS), Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. On September 8, 1959, the unit was re-designated as 1st Composite Radio Company. Due to the influx of manpower, it was re-designated as 1st Radio Company on September 17, 1963 and again as 1st Radio Battalion on July 14, 1964.

 1st Composite Radio Formation Photograph

 

As previously stated, in January 1962, by order of then Secretary of Defense McNamara, 1st Composite Radio Company deployed a detachment of Marines, identified as Sub Unit #1, to Pleiku, South Vietnam. Pleiku is located in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam (SVN) known militarily as II Corps. Established as a four month rotational (training) effort and being attached to the U.S. Army Security Group’s 3rd Radio Research Unit (3rd RRU) based at Davis Station, Saigon, SVN, the detachment’s mission was to gather information on the movements, disposition and assist in developing the intensions of North Vietnam and Viet Cong military organizations in support of the 3rd RRU and U.S. forces in Vietnam. The unit was billeted at an Army of Vietnam’s base which also housed U.S. Military Army Advisory and Assistance Group.

The third detachment of the Marines sent to Pleiku saw a few members assigned directly to the 3rd RRU, Saigon to perform vital airborne tactical support in locating enemy units in the immediate area. Together, the combined work of this 3rd detachment’s deployment to Vietnam not only lifted the threat of terminating continued deployments in support of the 3rd RRU, it raised production to a level of production that warranted the Secretary of the Army, on May 14, 1963, to award those Marines in support of the 3rd RRU between January and December 1962, the U.S. Army Meritorious Unit Citation. This outstanding support remained vital to U.S. forces efforts through the evacuation of Saigon in 1967.

 

Map of Vietnam

Sub Unit 1

 


The fourth detachment of Marines relocated from Pleiku to Phu Bai in l Corps, approximately 8 miles south of the old Imperial City of Hue, in the northern part of Vietnam. Sub Units continued to be sent to SVN until the entire Battalion was deployed at a later date.
(Continued)

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