Operation Opium (i)

This was the US transfer of the 3rd Marines from the continental USA to Samoa for onward transmission to the South Pacific combat area (September 1942).

The 3rd Marines had been reactivated on 16 June at New River, North Carolina, and reached US Samoa on 14 September to become part of the 2nd Marine Brigade. The regiment reached New Zealand on 23 May 1943 as part of Major General Charles D. Barrett’s 3rd Marine Division, and later fought on Bougainville in the Solomon islands group in ‘Cherryblossom’ and on Guam in the Mariana islands group in ‘Forager’.