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Iron Horse Going Dark: Deactivation of C Company 2d Tank Battalion

By Lance Cpl. Brian Bolin Jr. | 2nd Marine Division | July 31, 2020

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U.S. Marines with Company C, 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, commemorated their history and said final goodbyes to M1A1 Abrams tanks that served them at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, July 24, 2020. After 78 years of service, Company C is the first company in 2nd Tank Battalion to deactivate as part of the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ plan for a modern force.

“This is a somber day for many,” said Capt. John Fergeson, commanding officer of Company C. “Not only for tankers, but for many of my fellow warfighters as well,” Although it is sad to see our tanks go away I know that the rest of the Marine Corps is getting top-notch Marine tankers as they are reassigned.”

In accordance with Marine Corps Force Design 2030, 2nd Tank Battalion is being deactivated to optimize the Marine Corps’ ability to conduct naval expeditionary warfare. Company C is the first company in 2nd Tank Battalion to deactivate. This moment, although bittersweet to many, is the next step in the transition of the Marine Corps into a lighter, more reactive force.

“We must divest of legacy capabilities that do not meet our future requirements, regardless of their past efficacy,” noted Gen. David H. Berger, 38th commandant of the Marine Corps. “There is no piece of equipment or major defense program that defines us.”

Berger said the new force design is his main priority and that it will secure the Marine Corps’ spot as the world’s premiere warfighting institution. As 2nd Tank Battalion continues the process of disbanding, hopes for a future for tanks prevails among tankers.

“As I look back on the storied history of C Company, I imagine a machine gunner with an M4 Sherman tank on their flank, mutually engaging a pill box during the Battle of Tarawa,” said Fergerson. “Moving closer towards the present day, I know that there are many infantry Marines that are thankful that they had the armor-protected fire of the M1A1’s from 2nd Tank Battalion.”

 

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