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