LtCol Geoffry Hollopeter, Former Commander of 3/5 Dark Horse Battalion, Passes at 43

 In Military, Veterans

LtCol Geoffry Hollopeter, the recently retired commander of the 3/5 (3rd Battalion, 5th Marines under the 1st Marine Division), passed away Friday night at the age of 43. Though the circumstances of his death are unclear at this time, his former troops wished to honor his memory and service. He leaves behind a wife and 4 children in Oceanside, California.

The 3/5 is also known as the “Dark Horse Battalion.” LtCol Hollopeter assumed command of the battalion in February, 2018.

His Marine Corps bio reads in part:

His service in the Operating Forces includes: LAV Crewman for 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (1996–1997); Platoon Commander, Executive Officer, and 81mm Mortar Platoon Commander for 1st Battalion, 3d Marines (2002–2005); Company Commander and Operations Officer for 3d Battalion, 4th Marines (2009–2012); Executive Officer for 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (2016); Current Operations Officer for the 1st Marine Division (2017); Commanding Officer for 3d Battalion, 5th Marines (2018–present).

He has deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines via the Unit Deployment Program (2003), Operation Iraqi Freedom via the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (2004-2005), Operation Enduring Freedom (2009-2010 and 2011), and a 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit western Pacific patrol (2019).

His service outside the Operating Forces includes: Company Executive Officer, Company Commanding Officer, and Operations Officer for Marine Combat Training Battalion, School of Infantry West (2005 – 2008); Commanding Officer for Recruiting Station Indianapolis (2012 – 2015).

LtCol Geoffry Hollopeter was a well loved commander. We know that by the number of messages we’ve received today.

Here are some of them:

“I’m a marine in 3/5 and unfortunately we got some news last night that our recently retired BC passed away from complications from a sinus infection. He left behind a family and 4 kids who are most definitely struggling right now… His name is Lt Col Hollopeter, dude was a badass and an irreplaceable leader. I highly encourage looking up his service record online it’s something else. …I was hoping you could help get the word out there that we’re here for his family during this shit storm that’s going on. There’s been no official release since this info is only a few hours old but I think letting the family know That it’s not just Darkhorse that feels for them but all of us.”


“Our unit’s old BC, he had just relinquished command of 3/5 no more than a month ago, and unfortunately at the age of 43 passed away. He was an amazing leader who was never out of touch with the enlisted (he was prior enlisted) I’ve no idea what happened, he’d go on nco runs with us and always leave us smoked but the word is the man passed away due to heart attack, I want to ensure he isn’t forgotten so soon.”


“Because Good Men should be remembered, and Marines live forever in memory. I want everyone to know Lieutenant Colonel Geoffry M. Hollopeter, the prior commanding officer of 3rd Battalion 5th Marines.  A man of many words, skills, and experiences. Enlisted  at the age of 18 serving as an LAV crewman, outperforming his way to the top, LAV platoon commander, 81mm Mortar Platoon commander, XO, CO, Ops O, and the Battalion Commander of 3/5. Even as a bright eyed robot private, LtCol Hollopeter never failed to respect every Man. He never belittled, and reminded us of our purpose even when we’d be “starring up at that bulkhead on ship” or at that damn LPOP. The importance of being men before Marines, and being a family. A true leader of Marines, A Marine of the old breed, Dark Horse actual. Prayers to his family after this unexpected catastrophe, he is survived by his Wife, four children, and the thousands of Marines who have served under him. Till Valhalla Sir. Semper Fi.”

LtCol Geoffry Hollopeter was an avid runner, taking the time to participate in the Laguna Hills Half Marathon with former 3/5 commander LtCol Jason Morris in 2018.

His cause of death is unclear at this time. Whether a “sinus infection” or a “heart attack,” those who served under him will always honor his command ability. A message was left with the 1st Marine Division’s media officer for more information. If there is a response, we will update this article.

***In September of 2010, the 3/5 under the command of LtCol Jason Morris, a battle with the Taliban in Sangin Province saw 25 Marines killed, and 200 injured, 36 of whom lost limbs. It was the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit in Afghanistan.

Featured photos: US Marine Corps


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Showing 23 comments
  • Josephine Ferguson

    Rest Easy Sir ! Thank you for serving & making our world a better place! Semper Fi

  • Sheldon

    Rest easy SIR we got your watch!

  • Karen Levin

    We are absolutely devastated. May prayers to family, friends and those in 3/5.

  • Ben King

    I served with Geoff in 1/3. We deployed together and shared many good times. One of the best Marines I ever knew. – Ben King, FAC/Air Officer, 1/3 Lava Dogs

  • Paul R.Condry

    I had the honor and privilege to work with Geoff while he was Commander at Recruiting Station Indianapolis. One of the finest men and warriors I have ever encountered. Rest in peace, my friend…Semper Fidelis

  • Willie Ellerbrock

    SEMPER Fi Sir. Rest easy until we meet again in Valhalla.

  • Beth Robertson

    God bless to family and friends. Thank you all for your sacrifices and continued service and sharing of your loved ones. Your service and sacrifices have not gone unnoticed, they are greatly appreciated!
    Continuing to pray for all of you daily, actively serving or inactive.

  • Jason J

    Geoff will be missed. A true warrior and friend. S/f, Brother.

  • Mike Wallace

    Carry on Devil Dog! Your next duty station is the best one you can have. Prayers for the family. Semper Fi!

  • GYSGT Larson

    Outstanding young man and Marine. I was his AMOI at UW Wisconsin. Prayers to his family and the brothers that served with him. Just an outstanding individual. Semper Fi
    The Gunny

  • Sgt T.K. Shimon

    All of us Marines that served in 3rdBatt %thMar (1959-1961) always remember our Battalion Commanders. LtCol Hollopeter joined the illustrious list of officers that commanded the Best Battalion in the 1stMarDiv. God Bless LtCol Hoolopeter. Condolences to his family.

  • Laura Megofna

    Rest in peace, Sir. Condolences to his family 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

  • Dominic Bennett

    Till Valhalla Sir. We have the watch

  • Cheryl Hanhenkamp

    R.I.P. Sir. Love and peace to his family.❤️

  • Sgt Keown

    Served with Geoff when he was in Bravo company Viking as a enlisted Marine. Awesome guy you will me missed. But not forgotten Semper Fi .

  • Roger Randall

    I am a retired marine and never served with Geoff. Wish I had. Sounds like he is well respected by his family and marines who served with him. Rest In Peace sir. Valhalla awaits us all. A retired first sergeant salutes you. God is with you now.

  • CDR 'Voodoo' G

    Ready to Fight. Ready to kill. Ready to die, but never will.

    …nor will he, ever.

    RIP, my friend.

    -CDR ‘Voodoo’ G

  • Reply

    I am saddened to hear of this untimely loss. I met Geoffrey when he was about 8years od at his Dad’s house. His dad, Jim Hollopeter and I served together at Kaneohe bay as 1/Lt’s in VMFA-235. I was best man at his father and mother’s wedding, Geoffrey’s mother is the former Chris Riddell. My condolences to the family and Semper Fi, Marine.

  • Kenneth Myers

    I myself have never served in any military. I have so much respect for ALL WHO HAVE. To his kids…as a father I can tell you one of your pops biggest fears was leaving you kids. Your dad was a hero to all of us here in the US. With respect and many thanx, God bless you, Kenney myers

  • Christopher Vanderbeek

    Rest easy sir.. I know you are in heaven as we have already been to Hell… Semper Fi

  • John Dubail

    Rest easy Sir Marines do not die for our memory lives forever Semper Fi Til Valhalla

    • Linda Courtice

      Sounds like Covid 19.Presents as a sinus infection. Coronavirus receptors found in heart, lungs, are selectively attacked by Virus. Die from acute respiratory distress and/or sudden cardiac death with or without elevated cardiac enzymes. Also responsible for kidney failure and GI symptoms. Researchers now looking for Coronavirus receptors in gut and kidneys. CAN DISGUISE

  • Timothy Robert Neagle Sr.

    I’m really sorry to hear this.🕊🕊🕊

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