4th Tank Battalion
On 21 July 2020 the US Marine Corps 4th Tank Battalion A Company held a disestablishing ceremony in Camp Pendleton, California. This was the US Marine Corps "saying goodbye to the tanks." After the U.S. Marine Corps commander General Berg pushed the Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 plan, the original three battalion-sized Marine Corps combat vehicle units will be completely abolished; 4 Tank Battalion A Company is the first unit to be disorganized. It is expected that by the end of 2021, the battalion headquarters, 6 tank companies, and reconnaissance platoon will all be disorganized. Existing tanks may be sold to the army and foreign forces. Under the mission of General Berg to create a "lighter transoceanic projected force", the "2030 Force Design" intends to abolish all tank battalions, military police battalions, bridge companies, and many other land and air units within 10 years.
The Fourth Tank Battalion is stationed at the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center adjacent to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, California. Comprised of citizen Marines, 4th Tank Battalion employs Marines one weekend per month and two weeks during the summer. These dedicated individuals balance civilian careers with service to our country and Corps, benefiting themselves and the community in which they live. They come from not only the local area, but from all over the United States, joined by one common bond - They are United States Marines. Local activities include community support such as Toys for Tots, Family Day Demonstrations, The Rolling Readers, Partners in Education, Community Drug Awareness Programs, and support for the Miramar Air Show.
The 4th Tank Battalion is one of two reserve tank battalions in the Marine Corps and has companies spread across the Western United States. Fourth Tank Battalion companies are located in San Diego, California; Yakima, Washington; Boise, Idaho; Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; and Amarillo, Texas. In past years, the battalion has supported Marine Reserve units from across the continental United States in many major operations.
The unit mission is to provide armored combat power for the Marine Division in the amphibious assault and subsequent operations ashore utilizing maneuver, armor protected firepower and shock effect to close with and destroy the enemy. The Battalion is also tasked to organize, train, and equip individual Marines and combat ready tank companies to augment and reinforce the active duty component when required to serve as part of the Total Force of the United States. 4th Tank Battalion is a self sustaining, autonomous unit capable of performing all the tasks of the regular force.
The history of the 4th Tank Battalion is an active one and personifies the role of the Marine Corps Reserve. First formed in World War II, it was composed, with the exception of 2 officers, entirely of Reservists. It was the first unit to capture Japanese mandated territory in the Pacific. It participated in the Kwajalein campaign, Saipan, and the battalion's last major operation in World War II was the taking of Iwo Jima.
Late in 1946, a group of World War II veterans began meeting at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on a volunteer basis. This became the formation of the first organized Marine Corps Reserve unit in San Diego. The unit was officially designated as the 11th Tank Battalion in 1947 and became home for a headquarters and a tank company.
In July, 1950, the unit was activated for the Korean Conflict. Those members with sufficient experience as tankers formed the nucleus of B Company, 1st Tank Battalion, at Camp Pendleton. San Diego reservists served with distinction with this unit, participating in the landings at Inchon and Wonsan, fighting to Hagaru-Ri and Koto-Ri. B Company remained in Korea until the armistice. The 4th Tank Battalion motto is "53 days." When Marine reservists were activated for the Korean Conflict, it was just 53 days until they participated in their first combat action, the landing at Inchon in September 1950.
In May 1952, the unit was reactivated in San Diego, now bearing the name 1st Tank Battalion, and headquartered at MCRD. In 1958, the battalion was transferred to Camp Elliot as a more appropriate location for tank operations. In July 1963, the battalion was redesignated as 4th Tank Battalion, Force Troops, Fleet Marine Force, USMCR.
Between November 1990 and January 1991, 4th Tank Battalion was mobilized in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Elements of the battalion were "in country" and combat ready within 32 days of activation. During the Gulf War mobilization, the 4th Tank Battalion, a United States Marine Corps Reserve unit in the 4th Marine Division, successfully transitioned from the M-60 to the M1-A1 Main Battle Tank in just 45 days. The battalion trained, shot and qualified, then deployed to the Gulf where it fought alongside its active Marine Corps counterparts. Indeed, one of its companies knocked out 35 of 36 Iraqi tanks in less than five minutes.
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