HONOLULU (KHON2) — After 80 years of service, the Marine Corps will deactivate the Hawaii-based Island Warriors of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment that fought in Bougainville, Guam, the Republic of Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

A ceremony will be held at Dewey Square on Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Friday, Jan. 21.

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“This deactivation brings up understandable feelings of fierce pride and loss in all who have served in the battalion,” Lt. Gen. James W. Bierman, commander of III Marine Expeditionary Force, wrote in a memo last week. “For a number of veterans, and many currently serving, the entirety of their service was in 2/3.”

Lt. Bierman called the unit “one of the finest and most storied battalions currently in the Marine Corps.”

The deactivation is part of a Corps-wide redesign under Force Design 2030, as 3rd Marine Regiment becomes 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment, the Corps’ first such unit.

In a statement, Capt Kevin J. Smith, 3rd Marines COMMSTRAT OIC, said:

“The transformation of the MLR calls for the deactivation of certain units and capabilities in order to modernize the force for the future fight. The MLR, integrated with naval forces, will contribute to sea control and sea denial within actively-contested maritime spaces.”

“All of us are first and foremost United States Marines, but it is still hard to say goodbye to a unit that has so completely defined the experience of being a Marine. Take solace in the fact that the proud and positive memories and the strong relationships will endure.”

Lt. Gen. James W. Bierman, commander of III Marine Expeditionary Force

The battalion was first activated in 1942, then deactivated in 1945, only to return to duty a short six years later for over seven decades.

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“There is every likelihood that we have not seen the last of 2/3; it may be the page is only being turned on the latest chapter,” Lt. Bierman said in his memo. “If at some time in the future Corps and Nation again call, the proud colors and streamers of 2/3 will once again be uncased.”