Marine infantry regiment linked to Banana Wars deactivates as part of force reorganization

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Hundreds of Marines have been assigned to new units after their famed regiment was deactivated as the Corps pursues a force-wide reorganization.

The North Carolina-based 8th Marine Regiment was deactivated last week. The regiment’s history dates back to 1917, with its last activation lasting over 70 years.

Over the past seven decades, the 8th Marines have operated in Lebanon, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Cuba, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan, among others. The regiment also participated in the Banana Wars in the early 1900s and major campaigns of World War II.

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The deactivation is part of a 10-year reorganization plan as the Marine Corps prepares to meet future threats. The service reduced its number of infantry regimental headquarters from eight to seven, and dropped from two dozen active grunt battalions to 21.

Maj. Gen. Frank Donovan, commanding general of the 2nd Marine Division, said the deactivation of the 8th Marines meant a transition for the Marine Corps.

“Losing a regiment, we lose some flexibility,” Donovan said, according to a Marine Corps press release about the deactivation ceremony. “But the reality is that we passed on some of that talent and ability to our other regiments as well.”

About 200 Marines and sailors were affected by the headquarters deactivation, said Second Lieutenant Paul Ortiz, spokesman for the 2nd Marine Division.

“The future of each of these Marines and Sailors depends heavily on their own career path,” he said, adding that most personnel have been reassigned to other units in North Carolina or elsewhere in the Corps. of the Marines.

Others, Ortiz said, have reached their active duty end dates and are leaving the Marine Corps.

Two of the infantry battalions that were under the 8th Marines moved to new regiments of the 2nd Marine Division. Members of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, currently serving as the battalion landing team for the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, will now report to the 6th Marine Regiment, according to the Marine Corps. Members of 2/8 were reassigned to the 2nd Marines.

The last remaining battalion, 3/8, will be deactivated following the unit’s deployment to Okinawa, Japan.

There are approximately 900 Marines and sailors with this battalion. Ortiz said it would be inappropriate to go into detail about 3/8’s future deactivation because there are “operational security considerations when talking about future operations related to our force structure.”

sergeant. Major Keith Hoge, 8th Chief of the Marines, said at last week’s deactivation ceremony that he hoped members of the regiment, past and present, were proud of their accomplishments. Marines moving into new units “can take the fighting spirit of the 8th Marine Regiment with them and continue to do good things in the Marine Corps,” he said.

Several other Marine Corps units were deactivated as part of Force Design 2030. Combat Logistics Regiment 25, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and CLR-15, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., were both deactivated. deactivated in July. The CLR-35 in Japan was deactivated in May and the California-based Bridge Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion closed in June.

Several tank battalions have also shut down as the Marine Corps disposes of vehicles.

This is at least the fourth time the 8th Marine Regiment has been disabled, according to his lineage.

— Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

Related: Marine Corps begins shutdown of all tank battalions

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