2nd Reconnaissance Battalion (United States Marine Corps)
|2nd Reconnaissance Battalion|
|Active||December 1, 1950 – present|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Type||Special Operations Capable|
|Part of||2nd Marine Division
II Marine Expeditionary Force
|Garrison/HQ||Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune|
|Motto||"Swift, Silent, Deadly"|
|Engagements||Operation Iraqi Freedom|
|LtCol. Daniel M. O'Connor|
The 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion (2nd Recon) is a reconnaissance battalion in the United States Marine Corps. Located at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina the battalion falls under the command of the 2nd Marine Division and the II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF).
2nd Recon is a battalion specializing in reconnaissance and surveillance. The Marines of this battalion are also trained in close quarters battle (CQB) tactics and other special missions. Recon Marines are sent to various schools to learn various special skills including but not limited to: Scout Sniper school, Jump school, Military Free Fall school, Combatant Dive school, Ranger school, various civilian run schools (i.e. McMillian sniper school), and other Department of Defense (DOD) and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) sponsored schools.
Conduct ground and amphibious reconnaissance and surveillance and other operations as directed in support of the 2d Marine Division. Provide reconnaissance forces to meet II MEF reconnaissance requirements.
- Headquarters and Services Company
- Alpha Company
- Bravo Company
- Charlie Company
- Force Reconnaissance Company
When the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions were created in 1941, each had a Scout Company 7 officers and 132 NCOs and enlisted men divided into a headquarters unit and three platoons. The unit had M3 Scout Cars and a motorcycle platoon.
The billet for the formation of an Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion on the East Coast happened in 1949. The Battalion was officially activated 1 December 1950 at a tent camp area of LeJeune which was later moved to Stone Bay Camp. The Battalion was commanded by Major Regan Fuller.
World War II
Tarawa, November 1943
Prior to D-Day of November 10, no prior preliminary pre-D-Day reconnaissance was performed prior to their landing except the submarine periscope photography performed by Capt. James Jones, of VAC Amphib Recon Company aboard the USS Nautilus (SS-168). The Marine recon units of 2nd Marine Division participated in seizure and occupation of Tarawa operation.
A Scout-Sniper Platoon of 2nd Marine Regiment led by 1st Lieutenant William D. Hawkins were the first unit to land on Betio in the Tarawa Atoll, the site of a strategically important airfield. He was tasked in securing the island ramp on one of the two long piers extending into the lagoon. Hawkins and his recon-scout platoon raced ahead of the first wave in two Higgins Boats and landed on the pier. He charged up the ramp with his scouts but were taken under heavy machine gun fire. Since there were petrol drums at the end of the pier in the line of enemy fire, he sent most of his Marines back down the ramp then proceeded with only five men, four scouts and one combat engineer with a flamethrower. Once they burned and had blown up every hiding place left on the pier, they withdrew to the boat.
Hawkins then commandeered three LVTs and transferred his men from both LCVPs to these for the trip to shore where they joined their regiment for the rest of the battle. Lt. Hawkins was later killed during this action and was posthumously received the Medal of Honor. Another Scout-Sniper Platoon from 8th Marines assisted in the main assault landing on D-Day.
The Company D (Scouts), 2nd Tank Battalion worked extensively in the seizure and occupation of other islands in the Tarawa Atoll. Other than Betio, it included Eita and many unnamed islets between Betio and Bairiki. The adjacent atolls of Abaiang, Marakei and Maiana were landed for inspection of fortifications, supplies or recent occupancy.
Saipan, June 1944
The 2nd Marine Division's scout company performed a series of special missions with 4th Marine Division's scout company, that included a recon detachment with 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment (1/9). Seizing the summit of Mount Tapochau later repulsed a Japanese counterattack on that highest point of Saipan. Both Admiral Richmond K. Turner and General Holland M. Smith declared Saipan secured on July 9, 1944.
- Elements participated in the intervention in the Dominican Republic, April–June 1965.
- Elements participated as part of the multinational peacekeeping force in Lebanon, August 1982-February 1984.
- Elements participated in the landing on Grenada-Carriacou, October–November 1983.
- Elements participated in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Southwest Asia, December 1990-April 1991.
- Redesignated April 18, 1994 as Reconnaissance Company, Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division.
- Reconnaissance Company and Force Reconnaissance Company, 2nd Marine Division, combined October 1, 1996 to form Reconnaissance Battalion (Provisional), 2nd Marine Division
- Redesignated January 1, 1998 as 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion
Global War on Terror
- Participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq, March–May 2003.
- Elements participated in Operation Secure Tomorrow, Haiti, March–July 2004
- Participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq, October 2004-April 2005
- Participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq, March–October 2006
- Participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq, October 2007-May 2008
- Elements participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, May 2009-December 2009
- Participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, November 2010-June 2011
- Elements participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, May 2012-December 2012
Navy Unit Commendation (OEF Deployment)
A fanciful depiction of the battalion was featured as the main unit in the 1986 movie Heartbreak Ridge starring Clint Eastwood. The film depicts the battalion's involvement in Operation Urgent Fury, the invasion of Grenada.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion (United States).|
- p. 5 Melson, Charles D. & Hannon, Paul Marine Recon 1940-90 Osprey Publishing
- Joseph H. Alexander, Across the Reef: The Marine Assault on Tarawa. Historical monographs. (Wash., D.C.:History and Museums Div., HQMC 1993)
- Bruce F. Meyers, Swift, Silent, and Deadly: Marine Amphibious Reconnaissance in the Pacific, 1942-1945, (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2004).
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.