MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Marines and Sailors from 2d Tank Battalion (2d Tanks), 2d Marine Division (2d MARDIV), conducted a deactivation ceremony on May 5, 2021, signifying the end of 2d Tanks’ service in the United States Marine Corps.
The divestment of the highly successful armor battalion is another step toward 2d MARDIV’s optimization for future conflicts against peer threats in accordance with the 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps’ Planning Guidance and Force Design (FD) 2030. The Marine Corps-wide initiative outlines that future ground combat will likely not require kinetic direct-fire weapons provided by tracked armor and emphasizes the need for future Marine air-ground task forces to quickly maneuver across vastly-dispersed littoral and maritime terrain.
Lt. Col. Matthew Dowden, commanding officer of 2d Tanks, briefly described his experience leading the famed armor battalion and what is sure to be seen as the lasting legacy of Marine Corps armor.
“The Marines and sailors of 2d Tank Battalion have been honored to fight alongside Soldiers, Sailors, and their fellow Marines in every clime and place since 1941. The sacrifices of 2d Tanks are memorialized in the lives of infantry troops saved by a dirty, grease-covered tanker – sacrifices that were reciprocated by their coveted infantry brethren on countless occasions.” Dowden continued, “Since 1941, the Marine armor-infantry symbiotic relationship has wreaked havoc on enemy forces who have fought 2d Marine Division. An even more lethal team will exist in the Marine Corps’ future, via the platforms and systems presently being pursued for implementation, in accordance with Force Design 2030. I am truly honored and humbled to have been a part of tanks, as 2d Tanks last commander, and to represent our warrior breed at the deactivation of this storied and accomplished battalion – rarely seen, yet menacingly present when called upon.”
Force Design 2030 broadly details the approach the Marine Corps will take in order to be better prepared for future conflicts. General David H. Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps, expressed in the document, “We will build one force – optimized for naval expeditionary warfare in contested spaces, purpose-built to facilitate sea denial and assured access in support of the U.S. Navy Fleets.” He continued, “While the future force we are developing is different in terms of structure and capabilities, it is consistent with our historical roots as Fleet Marine Forces and directly supports our Title 10 responsibility to seize and defend advanced naval bases, and (to) perform all such duties as directed by the President.”
After being activated on December 20, 1941, at Camp Elliott, San Diego, Calif., 2d Tanks was directly involved with military operations spanning from every 2d MARDIV action in the island-hopping campaign of World War II, to interventions in Lebanon, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the invasion of Grenada, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Second Marine Division proudly recognizes the impactful, significant, and lasting accomplishments of those Marines and Sailors who’ve contributed to the legacy of the battalion over the past 80 years, and especially those who served during the most recent periods of conflict.
“The capabilities, platforms, and units which are being divested served the Corps honorably and with valor in previous fights,” said Berger in his FD 2030 mandate. He concluded, “The force design effort does not imply that (our divested units) are not of value. Rather, this effort confronts the reality that in a future threat-informed fight, other capabilities will be more useful to the maritime and joint mission.”
Please see the resources below for more information on the legacy of 2d Tank Battalion:
The complete Force Design 2030 document is available at the below hyperlink: