The Marine Corps deactivated one of its legendary infantry regiments on Thursday as the Corps moves forward with force design changes.
The 8th Marine Regiment was founded on October 9, 1917, in Quantico, Virginia, as part of the nation’s preparation for World War I.
The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General David Berger, released his force design plan in early 2020, which included a total force reduction of 12,000 Marines by 2030, the elimination of all battalions from tanks and the “divestiture” of three infantry battalions and a regimental headquarters.
The cuts are intended to free up more money for new investments like long-range missiles and light armored reconnaissance, which will better prepare the Marine Corps for the future battlefield.
A smaller, faster, and more mobile Marine Corps will fight in a distributed fashion across the littorals of the future battlefield, acting as a skirmish line for the joint force, in Berger’s vision.
Although the cuts mean fewer Navy infantry units, the Marine Corps intends to ensure every unit is fully equipped, Navy spokesman Maj. Joshua Benson said. to the Marine Corps Times in November.
Disabling is not new to the 8th Marines. The unit has been disabled a total of four times in its history.
The first took place only two years after the unit was created for the First World War.
Although the Marines were never sent to France, the regiment’s Marines were used to defend oil fields and shipyards, until the first deactivation in 1919, according to the unit’s history page.
The unit was then reactivated in 1920 and sent to fight in Haiti as part of the Banana Wars, according to the unit’s history.
Deactivated a second time in 1925, the unit was reformed in 1940 in San Diego. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the unit became the first Marine regiment to be sent to the Pacific, fighting in the Samoa Islands before participating in Guadalcanal.
Disabled for a short time in 1949, the unit was brought back again in 1950. Since its activation, the unit has played a role in Marine Corps history, most notably when the unit deployed to Beirut In the 1980’s.
In October 1983, Marines with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines were based at Beirut Airport when a truck loaded with explosives blew up their barracks, killing a total of 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers.
“Whether it’s combat, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, or here (in the continental United States), whatever the mission, we have always risen to the occasion, and Marines are better at it, and they can take it with them to their next unit,” Sgt. Maj. Keith Hoge said in a statement from the 2nd Marine Division.
On Thursday, the most recent deactivation occurred with the siege item store closing.
“Today’s deactivation of the 8th Marines signifies a transition, the transition of a legendary regiment that has functioned so well since 1917,” Maj. Gen. Frank Donovan, commander of the 2nd Marine Division, said in a statement. statement issued by the Marine Corps. “It’s just a natural transition that we go through as we contract or expand the Marine Corps in certain places and locations, either by skill or by geographic location, which is the design of the force.”
Although the headquarters element was closed on Thursday, the regiment’s three battalions are still active.
In November, the 1/8 was sent to the 6th Marines, earning them the right to wear the French Fourrege, Marine Corps Times reported. The battalion is currently deployed as part of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Previously, 2/8 had been “organized into tasks within the 2nd Marines and 3/8 is currently deployed to Okinawa, Japan as part of the Unit Deployment Program, a statement from the 2nd Marine Division said. .
When 3/8 returns to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the unit will be deactivated, a statement from the unit said.
“I hope we have made them proud, those of the past and those who have now left the (regiment) for other battalions and units. They can take the fighting spirit of the 8th Marine Regiment with them and continue to do good things in the Marine Corps,” Hoge said in the statement.