The world at large is changing, and changing rapidly. We are in an exponential technological pattern at this point, having gone from horse-drawn carriages to self driving cars in a little over a century.
In the digital world, things are growing even faster, as we now communicate instantly and seamlessly around the globe. It was only 35 years ago that we were still mailing letters to one another as our only means of written communication.
And, yes, the inevitability of innovation is unescapable, even for the US Marines.
Marines with 1st Tank Battalion recently watched the last of their unit’s tanks depart Twentynine Palms, California. Photos taken of the event show Marines surrounding an oversized flatbed as the tanks were loaded up onto the vehicle and driven away.
Less than two weeks later, Alpha Company, 4th Tank Battalion, held a deactivation ceremony at Camp Pendleton, California. The unit is the first of several companies with 4th Tanks facing deactivations this summer, Maj. Roger Hollenbeck, a spokesman for Marine Forces Reserve, said.
But why the change?
The changes are part of an aggressive plan the Marine Corps’ top general set in place earlier this year called Force Design 2030. The plan, leaders say, will set Marines up for future fights, defending ships while at sea and operating in hotly contested spots near the shore.
To be ready for those missions, Commandant Gen. David Berger said the Marine Corps must get smaller to get better. That includes cutting all tank battalions and getting rid of the vehicles.
“Remember that our tanks were just weapon systems,” Capt. Mark Rothrock, commander of Alpha Company, 4th Tank Battalion said when the unit deactivated on Friday. “[Tanks are] a damn fine weapon system, but nonetheless, just equipment. You individual Marines were always the key to the company’s success.
The move has fomented some speculation online as to what the Marines see for their future combat missions, with commenters on the above-cited article suggesting that this would return the Marines to a navally-focused fighting force. When you take a look at the two most fearsome enemies the US could face, China and Russia, only one has a coastline worthy of military attention.
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