HONOLULU - You hear of the Marines in the Pacific, and you might think of the Battle of Iwo Jima, but the Battle of Bougainville is another story.

On Marine Corps Base Hawaii Wednesday, it  was all about military fanfare, and a salute to tradition and ceremony for Bougainville Day.
It marks a battle and coming of age for the 3rd Marine Regiment in the Solomon Islands.

"We go back to World War II and 1943 and that is when the marines  of this regiment and division crossed the beachhead at Bougainville," said Maj.Gen. Craig Timberlake.

The mission was to take back control of airfields from the Japanese.

Some of the bloodiest battles took place during the 52-day long campaign.  In the spotlight, the fighting spirit of the marines as they battled the surf under enemy fire, and then endured jungle warfare.  It ended with mission accomplished. 

"Battles like Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Tarawa get more splash, but Bougainville was instrumental in that it unhinged Japanese air defenses in that  area and we were able to accelerate our combat  operations in the Southern Pacific Campaign," said Col. Michael Styskal.

A Hilo native helped with the honors of re-dedicating the World War II victory streamers marking the unit's battles and heroism in action.

"It's awesome to be a part of a unit with an illustrious history, and to come back and be a part of something great," said Sgt. Anthony Briski.

"Today it is about honoring that heritage, honoring that linage. It's picking a day for these young marines and sailors to connect with their history .Their history is on the Battle of Bougainville when this regiment first fought and goes forward. It goes forward with Afghanistan and where the nation calls  anywhere else in the country, or the world this regiment will go," said Styskal.

In a nod to preservation of history, the unit also accepted a gift of a drum from the US Naval Order of San Francisco. It dates to the early days of the unit's presence in the Bay area.

It's a symbolic gesture to the fighting spirit, and history that matters to the Corps and the 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, now home in Hawaii.