With the first part of this motto engraved in their insignia, the 1st Battalion 2nd Marines is a battalion-level infantry unit composed of infantry Marines and support personnel. This Infantry Battalion is one of the basic tactical units of the US Marine Corps, designed to accomplish its mission to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and close combat.
Consisting of approximately 900 Marines and sailors, the main role of the 1st Battalion 2nd Marines is set upon Offense, Defense and Sustainment, including the capacity for Amphibious Operations.
The 1st Battalion 2nd Marines central mission is to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver or repel the enemy's assault with fire and close combat.
The 1st Battalion 2nd Marines was activated for the first time on January 1, 1933 in Haiti, where it spent the next year and a half, until its deactivation in 1934.
In June 1942 the battalion was reactivated and deployed to the Pacific Theatre during World War II. During the bloody "island hopping" campaign, the 1st Battalion 2nd Marines became the first Marines ashore in the Battle of Guadalcanal, in addition to its involvement in the battles of Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, and the bloody battle of Okinawa.
After the surrender signed by the Japanese Empire on September 2, 1945 (previously announced by the Emperor on August 15), and the official ending of World War II, the 1st Battalion 2nd Marines spent a brief period on occupation duty in Japan, before returning to Camp Lejeune in November 1947.
In the summer of 2006, the battalion completed their third tour in Iraq, while in March 2007 the battalion concluded its 4th combat deployment, operated in Kahn ar Bagdadi, Ar Rutbah, Albu Hyatt and Anah, located in Al Anbar province. From July 2008 through February 2009 the battalion deployed to Al Habbaniyah in Al Anbar province. The battalion also spent a portion of its 5th deployment to Iraq in Sinjar, located in the Ninawa province.
In March 2010 the 1st Battalion 2nd Marines deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, operating in Now Zad, Salaam Bazaar, Karimanda, Kunjak, Musa Qal'eh, Allahu Akbar, and the Musa Qal'eh Wadi down to Sangin. During this deployment, the 1st Battalion 2nd Marines suffered heavy losses, but dealt a devastating blow to the enemy. 1/2 was able to push out a large portion of the Taliban in their Area of Operations (AO) and double the size of the area that they were responsible for. For their exceptional actions, 1st Battalion 2nd Marines men were awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation. The battalion returned to the United States in September 2010 (relieved by 1st Battalion 8th Marines).
In April 2014, the 1st Battalion 2nd Marines deployed one more time to Afghanistan. It's mission consisted of patrolling the surrounding area of the Bastion-Leatherneck complex to ensure the safety of coalition forces operating on the bases, until full security responsibility of the area was transferred to the Afghan National Security Forces in October of 2014. The 1st Battalion 2nd Marines was the , flying out on helicopters hours after control of the base was transferred to ANSF.