The story of this unit begins on February 16, 1942 when it was officially activated as the First Marine Raider Battalion. The raiders were created by an order by president Franklin D. Roosevelt after he had received proposals to create an elite unit that was to be the American counterpart to the British Commandos by Colonel William Donovan and Major Evans Carlson. The name "Marine Commandos" was proposed by the commanding general of the second Marine Division, however this was rejected by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Major General Thomas Holcomb. Major General Holcomb redesignated the First Battalion Fifth Marines as the First Separate Battalion, and later created the Second Separate Battalion. The debate over the creation of the "commando" units ended when the new commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Chester Nimitz requested these type of special operations units to help raid lightly defended islands that the Japanese were in control of. Since the units would be "raiding" these islands, the Commandant selected the term "Raiders" for them and activated the First Marine Raider Battalion on February 16th , 1942.
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