Sixth Marine Division
Official Website
USMC Structure

29th Mar-3-H. Charlie Company. L-4-15. What the heck do these mean? If you have trouble understanding Marine Corps organizational units and terminology, you are not alone. Here is our attempt to help...

      ☆Unit Definitions       ☆Phonetic Alphabet

Marine Ground Units and Their Designations

The Divisions and their regiments (at the end of the Okinawa Campaign) were as follows:

First Marine Division
     1st Marine Regiment (Infantry)
     5th Marine Regiment (Infantry)
     7th Marine Regiment (Infantry)
     11th Marine Regiment (Artillery)

These are abbreviated this way (there are other ways):

If we add in the three battalions in each infantry regiment:



If we add in the infantry companies (@1 June 1945):



The companies also had a Headquarters Platoon. The battalions had a Headquarters Company. The infantry regiments had a Headquarters and Service Company.

The artillery regiment had four battalions.

Headquarters and Service Battery
American Red Cross

First Battalion
     H&S-1-11 (Battery)
     A-1-11 (Battery)

Second Battalion
     H&S -2-11

Third Battalion
     H&S 3-11

Fourth Battalion

The Divisions had a Headquarters Battalion. Above the divisions was a corps. There were two fighting corps at the time. Third Corps consisted of First Division, Second Division and Sixth Division. Fifth Corps included Third Division, Fourth Division and Fifth Division. There were also some specialized units within the corps. Above corps and corps troops was Fleet Marine Force. Force also had some other special units.

Second Marine Division
     2nd Marine Regiment
     5th Marine Regiment
     7th Marine Regiment
     10th Marine Regiment

Third Marine Division
     3rd Marine Regiment
     9th Marine Regiment
     21st Marine Regiment
     12th Marine Regiment

Fourth Marine Division
     23rd Marine Regiment
     24th Marine Regiment
     25th Marine Regiment
     14th Marine Regiment

Fifth Marine Regiment
     26th Marne Regiment
     27th Marine Regiment
     28th Marine Regiment
     13th Marine Regiment

Sixth Marine Division
     4th Marine Regiment
     22nd Marine Regiment
     29th Marine Regiment
     15th Marine Regiment

A breakdown of a division's other units follows. We are using the Sixth Division's "Station List" as of 1 June, 1945 as an example. There may be minor differences between divisions.

Division Headquarters
     Division Headquarters
     General Staff
     Special Staff
     Headquarters Battalion
           Headquarters Company
           Military Police Company
           Reconnaissance Company
           Signal Company

     Service Troops
           Service Battalion

     Motor Transport Battalion
     Medical Battalion
     Tank Battalion
     Engineer Battalion
     Pioneer Battalion

There is a matter of confusion that often presents a barrier to civilians and Marines. We'll try to clear this up. There were no Marine divisions until the World War II buildup began. With the exception of the first World War's Second Marine Brigade, and possibly a provisional brigade or two here and there, the largest Marine units prior to World War II were regiments, referred to (for example) as the Fifth Marines or the Sixth Marines. If you ask a Marine about the Sixth Marines he will think you are referring to the regiment, which is in the Second Division. If you wish to know about the Sixth Marine Division you need to say so.

We will give you a complete breakdown of all the units, complete with officers at the time, in the Sixth Marine Division as soon as we have completed producing it. It is in the works and will be linked to this page. We also need to note that much of this information was provided by Sam Petriello, L-4-15.

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The Alphabet Expressed Another Way

    Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, Easy, Fox, George, How, Item, Jig, King, Love, Mike, Nan, Oboe, Peter, Queen, Roger, Sail/Sugar, Tare, Uncle, Victor, William, X-Ray.
    Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.
On this site we use the phonetic alphabet that was current in the American armed forces during World War II. It wasn't changed until 1957 with the advent of NATO and its multiplicity of languages. The phonetic alphabet is important because of its general usage.

Instead of "Company C," for example, a Marine of the '40s asked about his unit would likely say, "Charlie Company." Then he might add his battalion, regiment and division if in the infantry. He might refer to his battery instead of company if an artilleryman. There are other units in a division with Charley companies. The Sixth Division had at least nine.

There is one in each infantry regiment and another (battery) in the artillery regiment, motor transport, medical, tank, engineer and pioneer battalions. There are just as many As and Bs. The fall off begins with D and ends with a lone M in the artillery's 4th Battalion.

The origin of the phonetic alphabet was in civilian or military radio transmissions. There were several American versions before World War II. Wikipedia has a couple of sites dealing with the subject. There are others. Among the best is provided by SACO (Sino American Cooperative Association). This group of sailors, soldiers and Marines (US Naval Group China Veterans) that operated there during the war provided weather reports for our forces in the Pacific.

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