Photo Information

U.S. Marines with 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion, 2d Marine Division, participate in a live fire and maneuver drill during the Scout School course on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Nov. 5, 2023. The 2d LAR Scout School is a 28-day course focusing on basic individual skills and core competencies, live fire training, advanced skills, and team-to-squad level events. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cara CastaƱeda)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Cara Castaneda

Beyond the Basics: Breeding the Future of Light Armored Reconnaissance

6 Jun 2024 | Capt. William Reckley PEO Land Systems

In the May 2022 update to Force Design, the Commandant of the Marine Corps states to “start with 2d LAR,” when initiating the transition of LAR battalions to mobile reconnaissance battalions, aligning with the November 2021 brief to the Marine Corps Ground Board.

As outlined in Force Design, 2d LAR has become an asset to U.S. numbered fleets, the joint force, and allied nations and partners through the development of a Light Mobile Reconnaissance company (LMRC). Over the course of three years of training and deployments, 2d LAR has developed new warfighting doctrine to demonstrate and prove concepts of a Stand-in Force (SIF) and Reconnaissance Counter-Reconnaissance (RXR) in support of European Command (EUCOM). The commanding officer of 2d LAR attributes the success of these concepts to the boldness of the Marines, Sailors, and Civilians who make up his unit.

Lt. Col. Charles E. Miller, the commanding officer of 2d LAR, states, “the power of young Marines has enabled the LMRC all along. The LMRC is derived almost entirely of Marines in their first term, who have just taken the initiative to figure these things out, make things happen, and refuse to fail.”

LMRC is employed as a company of young Marines and Sailors, trained to sense and make sense of information, demonstrating relevancy in the investment of the light armored reconnaissance force. The current Marines not only stay ready at the individual level but also recognize that working as a team to maintain material readiness for their companies and the battalion is crucial to mission success in the future.

The operators and maintainers of the battalion’s assets dedicate extensive time and effort to maintain the vehicle support required for continuous training, ongoing MEU and LMRC deployments and any future task they may face.

Maj. Zachary White, the battalion operations officer, engages with Marines on the line during monthly inspections, stating that, “the LAR company is the BLT/MEU commander surface option and there is a lot of capability in the LAR company. This is why readiness and maintenance are so ingrained into a LAR company. Operators and maintainers alike are bred with a different sense of ownership.” When new modifications and initiatives are employed, the individual Marine gets the opportunity to share trends across both the battalion and the community.

2d LAR has built and validated capabilities with the LMRC that will continue to shape the organization that is purpose built to enhance security and provide critical information for commanders. 2d LAR will continue to support the 6th Fleet area of operations in multi-domain awareness with integration among both the naval and joint distributed operations.

“The scope of the battalion’s work, the command arrangements, and the emphasis on reconnaissance in multiple domains will be how the LAR battalions form to become mobile reconnaissance battalions,” states Lt. Col. Miller. “To see it come to fruition in a meaningful, contributing manner to Naval Forces Europe, Sixth Fleet and Marine Forces Europe, is an example of what you’ll see in the future. It’s very exciting to be a part of LAR these days.”

2d LAR’s mission is to conduct reconnaissance; security and economy of force operations; and, within its capabilities, limited offensive or defensive operations that exploit the unit’s mobility and firepower in support of the ground combat element (GCE). The LAR battalion may function as an independent maneuver element or as an element of a larger unit such as a regimental combat team, or its subordinate companies may support other tactical units in the GCE.