2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion
|This article is outdated. (May 2014)|
|2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion|
2nd LAR's emblem
|Active||1985 – present|
|Branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Type||Light armored reconnaissance battalion|
|Role||Screen in advance of maneuver units|
|Part of||2nd Marine Division
II Marine Expeditionary Force
|Garrison/HQ||Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune|
|Motto||"Victory to the Bold"|
|Engagements||Operation Desert Storm
Operation Iraqi Freedom
* 2003 invasion of Iraq
* Operation Vigilant Resolve
Operation Enduring Freedom
LtCol Anthony J. BangoSgtMaj Kenneth Bohn
2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion is a fast and mobilized armored terrestrial reconnaissance battalion of the United States Marine Corps. Their primary weapon system is the 8-wheeled LAV-25 and they fall under the command of the 2nd Marine Division and II Marine Expeditionary Force. The unit is based out of the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The current mission statement of the battalion is: To perform combined arms reconnaissance and security missions in support of the Ground Combat Element (GCE) of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). Its 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. To date, the unit has lost 28 Marines/Sailors during combat operations.
An LAV platoon consists of 4 vehicles usually divided into Alpha section and Bravo section. The platoon commander will control one section and also be the vehicle commander (VC) of one of the LAV's and the platoon sergeant will control the other section as well as be VC as well.
A crew consists of a driver, usually the least senior (0313, the MOS designation for LAV Crewman), a VC and the gunner. The gunner operates the main gun, the M242 Bushmaster chaingun. The VC makes target acquisition changes and helps the gunner make adjustments. The remaining crew consists of Scouts (0311). The LAV can hold as many as 6 scouts, but in most cases there are only 3-4 in the back. There is also 1 corpsman per platoon.
The first Light Armored Vehicle unit to be activated was Second LAV Battalion at Camp Lejuene, NC, during May 1985 and it began receiving its first LAVs in June 1984. The battalion underwent several name changes to include Light Armored Infantry in 1988 before settling in 1994 on Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion. This was done to better reflect the capabilities, mission, and purpose of the LAV equipped battalions.
The battalion has been known by various call signs over the years. At inception, the battalion was known as "Wolfpack". In the late '80s the call sign was briefly changed to “Dragoon” but was reverted to "Wolfpack" before deploying in support of Operation Desert Shield. When the battalion deployed in 2002, the call sign was changed to "Barbarians" because 3rd LAR BN was also known by the call sign "Wolfpack". During combat operations in March 2003, enemy transmissions were intercepted by Radio Battalion that referred to the unit as "the destroyers". RCT-1 re-designated the battalion as “Destroyer” and is still the current call sign of the battalion. When the battalion deployed in September 2006, again the call sign had to be changed do to a conflict in call signs. An army unit already in theater was using "Destroyer". For the duration of the deployment, the battalion was known as "Mountaineer". The name was chosen because the battalion commander at the time, LtCol Renforth, was a fan of the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Operation Just Cause
Operation Just Cause in Panama during 1989 was the first time LAVs were involved in combat operations. As US troops invaded the country to arrest the dictator President Manuel Noriega to justice for drug trafficking. LAV Companies from 2D LAV BN started deploying to Panama in 1988 and conducted freedom of movement exercises throughout the country and demonstrated their amphibious capability by swimming the Panama Canal. During Operation Just Cause LAVs demonstrated their versatility to supporting Special Operations Forces, blocking major highways, and securing important objectives. The first casualty for the battalion also occurred 20 December 1989 when Cpl Garreth Isaak was killed in action. He was awarded the Silver Star (Posthumously).
Gulf War and the 1990s
The attack order assigned the 2d LAI Battalion to screen the division's front and flanks on the Kuwaiti side of the berm, starting on G minus 3, 21 February. The battalion was to "attempt to identify any gaps in the obstacle belt and locate an alternate breach site for Tiger Brigade in the Northwest." This last task was especially important should the division's main breach effort fail or be held up by the enemy. An alternate breach site would permit the Tiger Brigade to move its heavy armored power around the division's flank and help to pull the remainder of the division through. Although this was not needed in the end, it was an important contingency to anticipate.
The 2d LAR Battalion sought contact and reported information on enemy troops, activities, and equipment. Operating almost continuously under antitank, rocket, and indirect fire, the battalion's companies engaged enemy troops, artillery, and tanks on at least 17 occasions, using organic antitank weapons, artillery fire from the 10th Marines, and close air support. During these three days, the battalion accounted for numerous enemy KIA, the destruction of 12 enemy tanks, a further 35 tanks with air strikes, and the capture of 120 EPWs.
During June 1999 elements of 2d LAR Battalion attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit-Special Operations Capable (MEUSOC) spearheaded the introduction of US Peacekeepers to Kosovo as part of Operation Joint Guardian.
Global War on Terror
Operation Iraqi Freedom
During early 2003 all three active duty LAR Battalions and the one Reserve Battalion were mobilized and deployed to Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom. LAR Battalions accompanied all the Regimental Combat Teams into action and elements of 1st LAR attached to RCT-5 were among the very first ground combat units into Iraq. Lieutenant General Conway, the MEF Commander, opted to orchestrate the war forward using a pair of LAV-C2s for command and control. LAVs from 2d LAR, attached to Task Force Tarawa, broke through the city of Al Nasiriyah after stiff Fedayeen resistance was encountered. Once in Baghdad, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd LAR Battalions were reorganized into Task Force Tripoli to continue the attack north and capture Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. Along the way elements of 3d LAR Battalion rescued the American Prisoners of War from the Iraqis. Operation Iraqi Freedom marked the longest inland penetration by US Marine Forces ever, and no units went further and faster than the LAR Battalions, again proving their incredible versatility and capability.
Since Operation Iraqi Freedom began the battalion has completed four 7-month deployments. They participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Delta Co. returned from February to September 2004 and Alpha Co. from September 2004 to March 2005 and then Charlie Co. returned from March to October 2005 to patrol in the southwestern portion of Al Anbar Province. Let it be noted also that during the time in 2005 the formation of Echo Company was created for a brief period of time. For their 3rd deployment, 2nd LAR returned to a split Area of operations in Iraq in September 2006 and remained there until returning to MCB Camp Lejeune in April 2007. Stationed at Camp Korean Village was C. Company along with half of H&S Company. Combat Outpost Rawah had Alpha, Delta, and the other half of H&S Co stationed there. During the last deployment the battalion had four Marines killed in action. The unit is currently stationed in theater in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Operation Enduring Freedom
A detachment from the battalion will deploy to Afghanistan in the spring of 2009 as part of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. They will be part of the 17,000 troop increase announced by President Obama in mid-February.
The battalion has been awarded the following battle streamers:
- "LAV History". Marine Corps Training and Education Command. USMC. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Friel, Lucian. "‘Destroyers’ mark end of 3rd OIF deployment". Marine Corps News. USMC. Archived from the original on 10 April 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
- 2nd LAR embarks to Anbar province of Iraq 5th Time
- Hlad, Jennifer (9 March 2008). "2/8, other Lejeune units to deploy with 2nd MEB". www.enctoday.com. Archived from the original on 14 March 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
- Page, Susan (16 February 2009). "Obama OKs adding Afghanistan forces". USA Today. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
- Shanker, Thom; Oppel Jr., Richard A. (3 July 2009). "In Tactical Shift, Troops Will Stay and Hold Ground in Afghanistan". NY Times. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- Sheppard, Ben (3 July 2009). "US Marines battle on in Afghanistan". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
- "Operation Khanjar restores government control in Khan Neshin". ABC. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2009.[dead link]
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.