Until The Corps Calls Upon Them Again
by U.S. Marine Corps II MEF Information Group
October 25, 2020
It is argued that the U.S. Marine Corps is the most aggressive and esteemed military organization on the planet.
While its aggression is renowned for inciting fear into the hearts of America’s adversaries, the Marine Corps is lesser known for how it prepares to achieve that goal, fight after fight, victory after victory.
The answer is aggressively restructuring itself internally for the next potential adversary. But still, why should it restructure itself? Better yet, how?
Earlier this year in March 2020, Gen. David H. Berger, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, implemented Force Design 2030. The report redirects the Marine Corps’ mission focus from countering violent extremists in the Middle East to great power/peer-level competition, with special emphasis on the Indo-Pacific region.
According to Berger, in order to do this the Marine Corps needs to be leaner, more versatile and in full partnership with the Navy while in theater. This will require the force to deactivate units, decrease personnel and also modify existing units by 2030.
Of all the units that have been deactivated on October 21, 2020 ... it was the 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group’s turn to retire their colors. The battalion is expected to deactivate on December 17, 2020 in order to fulfill the Force Design 2030 plan.
October 21, 2020 - From left to right, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bradley Baiotto, the sergeant major of II Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group (II MIG), Col. Brian Russell, the commanding officer of II MIG, Lt. Col. Thomas Turner, the commanding officer of 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion, II MIG, and Sgt. Maj. Thomas Viotti, the sergeant major of 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion, after the 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion deactivation ceremony at Camp Lejeune, NC. The battalion is expected to deactivate by December 17, 2020, in order to fulfill the commandants Force Design 2030. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Stephen Campbell)
But the question still remains, why deactivate units?
Because Marines are Marines, that’s why. They pride themselves in overcoming and adapting to any situation or threat, and now the force is focused on overcoming any potential adversary in the Indo-Pacific region. Law enforcement battalions simply do not fit into the force’s modern mission.
Although the battalion is deactivating, it isn’t the first time this has happened. History has shown that the Marine Corps may need them again in the future.
The battalion was first established in 1945, and deactivated in 1946. The reason why military police were first structured into battalions during WWII was because the Provost Marshal of the Far East Command realized that transporting prisoners of war through a theater wasn’t a logistically feasible option. Hence forth the 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion.
It was reactivated once again on Oct. 1, 2001, following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and was deactivated on April 5, 2006. During that time, elements of the battalion participated in Operation Enduring Freedom from 2001 to 2002, and Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2005.
Since its most recent activation on June 26, 2012, the battalion has executed missions across the range of military operations including Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Spartan Shield, and the 22nd, 24th and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit missions. Other exercises and operations include exercise African Lion, Exercise Eager Lion, Exercise Rolling Thunder, Black Sea Rotational Force mission, and nuclear submarine refuel/defuel security operations.
The battalion’s role during these events in history included limited detention/correction, patrol/incident response operations, route regulations/enforcement, police advising and training our foreign counterparts, military working dog operations, and more.
As previously mentioned, history has shown that deactivating this battalion may not be permanent. If the Marine Corps’ mission requires the battalion in the future, the Marines will be ready. They were there when the Corps needed them during WWII, they were there during the war on terror, and they will be there if the Corps calls upon them again.
This may not be the end of their story, but the end of a chapter in their story.
“Take a look at our lineage, and just know that we’ll be ready when the time comes,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Thomas Turner, the commanding officer of 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion. “We are not a legacy battalion, but a battalion with a great legacy. For one final time, Guardian Six out.”
Honors awarded to the battalion include the Navy Commendation Streamer Iraq 2005-2006, American Campaign Streamer, WWII Victory Streamer, National Defense Service Streamer, Afghanistan Campaign Streamer with one bronze star in lieu of second award, Iraq Campaign Streamer with two bronze stars in lieu of third award, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Streamer.
Although it is only 2020 and the Marine Corps still has 10 years to fulfill the rest of Force Design 2030, the force is already making progress in its design efforts.
Just as the Marine Corps is aggressive toward restructuring itself, the organization will be aggressive toward America’s adversaries if the American way of life is threatened.
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