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Old 12-28-2020, 01:02 PM
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Post New in 2021: The final year for Marine tankers

New in 2021: The final year for Marine tankers
By: Todd South - Marine Times News - 12-28-20

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Older photo:
A Marine with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, receives orders over the radio before conducting breaching exercises aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Dec. 8, 2014. (Lance Cpl. Preston McDonald/Marine Corps)

The year 2021 will go down as the year that the Marine Corps ditched its tank Marines.

Though the official decision came down in March 2020 from Maine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger, and the tanks rolled away on train cars from 1st Tank Battalion, 2nd Tank Battalion, and 4th Tank Battalion this past summer, the tankers themselves are still in uniform and their units remain at least for a few more months.

The first to go was A Company, 4th Tank Battalion, in July when the unit cased its colors. Then C Company deactivated in August.

So, following the announcement, an estimated 800 Marines in a tank-related military occupational specialty were given the option to swap jobs or, if they had 15 years retire early. Then, in December, the Corps posted an official administrative message that allowed enlisted and officer tank MOS holders to end their contracts one year early.

Shortly after the C Company deactivation, 39 of its approximately 80 members transferred from the Marine Corps Reserve to the Idaho Army National Guard, most to continue on in tank jobs.
Alt. posting on this subject: The Corps is axing all of its tank battalions and cutting grunt units.
By: Shawn Snow - March 23

U.S. Marines with the Combined Arms Company in Bulgaria and members of the Norwegian Army drifted their 126,000 pound M1A1 Abrams tanks around an ice track as part of their pre-exercise training in Rena, Norway, Feb. 18, 2016. (Marine Corps)
Goodbye tank battalions and bridging companies, the Corps is making hefty cuts as the Marines plan to make a lighter and faster force to fight across the Pacific to confront a rising China.

As part of Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger’s plan to redesign the force to confront China and other peer adversaries by 2030, the Marines are axing all three of its tank battalions, and chucking out all law enforcement battalions and bridging companies, according to a news release from Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

The Corps is also cutting the number of grunt battalions from 24 to 21, artillery cannon batteries from 21 to five and amphibious vehicle companies from six to four, according to the release. Aviation is taking a hit too, the Marines plan to cut back on MV-22 Osprey, attack and heavy lift squadrons.

The Marines also plan to reduce the number of primary authorized F-35B and F-35C fifth generation stealth fighters per squadron from 16 to 10, according to MCCDC.

The Corps says overall, it expects a reduction of 12,000 personnel across the force over the next 10 years.

It’s unknown how cuts to the number of grunt battalions will impact the Corps’ experimentation with the 12-Marine and 15-Marine rifle squad configuration. The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit was the first Marine unit to deploy and experiment with a 15-Marine squad model.

But the Corps says it wants its future infantry smaller.

State of the Marine Corps: Inside the Corps’ warplans to sink ships
Sinking ships is not something the Marine Corps has done since World War II — but it's thinking about it now.

Shawn Snow - Get the Marine Corps Times Daily News Roundup
Don't miss the top Marine Corps stories, delivered each afternoon

“Infantry battalions will be smaller to support naval expeditionary warfare” and designed to support a fighting concept known as Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations — which will see Marines decentralized and distributed across the Pacific on Islands or floating barge bases.

The changes, expected to take place over the course of the next 10 years, were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

As the Corp divests of legacy equipment and units, the Marines say they plan to invest in long-range precision fires, reconnaissance and unmanned systems.

The Corps wants to double the number of unmanned squadrons and “austere lethal unmanned air and ground systems, enhancing our ability to sense and strike,” MCCDC said in the release.

“The Marine Corps is not optimized to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy,” MCCDC said in the news release. “Our force design initiatives are designed to create and maintain a competitive edge against tireless and continuously changing peer adversaries.”

The Marines says it wants a “300 percent increase in rocket artillery capacity” with anti-ship missiles. The Corps is eyeing a remotely operated rocket artillery HIMARS launcher that uses the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle paired with the Naval Strike Missile to sink ships at sea.

Defense News reported the Navy requested $64 million for fiscal year 20201 for a program that pairs anti-ship missiles with existing vehicles known as the Ground-based Anti-ship Missile and Remotely Operated Ground Unit Expeditionary (ROGUE) Fires Vehicle.

Some grunt battalions will shift: 1st Battalion, 8th Marines will realign to 2d Marines, and 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines will fall under 6th Marines, MCCDC detailed. The Corps is also deactivating 8th Marine Regiment Headquarters Company and 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines.

A number of aviation and rotary wing squadrons are deactivating to include: Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 264, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 and Marine Wing Support Groups 27 and 37, MCCDC said in the release.

The Corps is also canceling the activation of a rocket artillery or HIMARS unit known as 5th Battalion, 10th Marines and folding the group and existing batteries under the 10th Marine Regiment.

The top Marine kicked off his force redesign initiative in the summer of 2019 to build a Corps capable of fighting and supporting the Navy in the Indo-Pacific area of operations and to confront rising peer adversaries across the globe.

“Moving forward, we will continue to judiciously evaluate, wargame, experiment, and refine our force design, improving service capabilities and lethality for deterrence, competition, and conflict,” MCCDC said in the release.

About Shawn Snow is a Senior Reporter for Marine Corps Times & a Marine Corps veteran.

1st thread continues here:

War games from 2018 and 2019 helped Berger and top Marine leaders pull the trigger on ditching tanks and other major force redesign efforts. Those include reducing the size of the Corps by 12,000 Marines in the next decade, increasing training, reducing conventional artillery in favor of rocket systems and pushing funding to more advanced weapons systems.

Former Marine tank mechanic and 2nd Tank Battalion member Sgt. James Webb also held billets as a driver, rigger and vehicle commander with deployments to Greece, Kuwait and Jordan, he said in a statement.

Begging in October, he started on-the-job training at the Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, headquarters building, running the Marine Mart.

He offered advice to fellow former tankers, and any Marine looking for a change.

“Don’t base your whole Marine Corps experience on your MOS, on your one duty station, or on one enlistment,” Webb said. “Don’t give up. There are so many MOSs that people don’t know about. Do research and find the one that clicks for you.”

The 2nd Tank Battalion is undergoing steps for formal deactivation, which is scheduled for sometime in mid-2021, 2nd Marine Division spokesman 1st Lt. Dan Linfante told Marine Corps Times.

The 1st Tank Battalion is planning its deactivation ceremony for summer 2021, officials with 1st Marine Division said in October.

Fourth Tank Battalion is expected to also be fully deactivated by the end of fiscal year 2021, which concludes at the end of September.

Third Tank Battalion was deactivated in the early 1990s following the Persian Gulf War.

This is an excerpt from “21 Things Marines Need To Know For 2021,” in the January print edition of Marine Corps Times.

About this writer: Todd Smith: Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.


Personal note: Not sure why the Marines are phasing out the tank battalions? Is it just the Marine Corp. only? Don't know why? Army will remain
on post - maybe we were overly supplied and we didn't need that many tank divisions at that site?


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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