MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines, sailors, family and friends of 2nd Tank Battalion witnessed the deactivation of the battalion’s beloved Charlie Company at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, March 4.
Charlie Company, activated in 1941, has taken part in some of the America’s largest battles to include World War II (Tarawa, Saipan), The Vietnam War, Operations Desert Storm and Shield, and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Fallujah).
“Charlie Company participated in the most intense urban fighting that the Marine Corps has ever seen,” said Lt. Col. Robert J. Bodisch, the battalion commander. “Charlie Company was also the very first tank company in the Marine Corps to see combat back in August of 1942 in the Guadalcanal campaign. There is a lot of great history in the company and I am going to miss that history as we fold the guidon.”
The company is known throughout the tanks community as one with a rich history of being constantly deployed forward.
“This company has probably been the busiest company in the battalion for the past two years. Just last summer one of their platoons returned from a deployment with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit,” said Bodisch, who was also a Charlie Co. commander from June 2004 to Aug. 2005. “Last month another platoon returned from the Black Sea Rotational Force. And currently the third platoon is deployed in Norway and upon their return from that they will be going on the next rotation of BSRF. So even as we deactivate Charlie Company we still have pieces of this company deployed.”
In the past two years the ‘Masters of the Iron Horse’ have not only deactivated Charlie Co. but also had to deactivate Delta Company, and the unit’s mechanized infantry platoons, due to the Marine Corps force reduction implemented by the former Commandant, retired Gen. James Amos.
“So for the future of the battalion, we will have a lot less tanks, going from 58 to a total of 30 tanks. So we are going to have to learn to leverage a dwindling amount of combat power as best as we can and provide the Marine infantrymen with what they need for tank support,” Bodisch said. “We will mitigate the loss of the combat power by working even more closely and integrating with the rest of the division in order to replace some of that combat power in the form of light armored vehicles, mechanized infantry, and with help from 4th Tank Battalion in the reserves.”
Bodisch does have one message for the Marines and sailors of Charlie Company in response to the deactivation.
“To the Marines of Charlie Company, I know there is a lot of pride and a strong sense of mission accomplishment in this company, but you will be reintegrated and spread throughout the battalion and you will be even busier than you have been because the burden will now shift to the remaining two tank companies.”