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8th Marine Regiment re-established

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 10/15/2003

Story by Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.(Oct. 15, 2003) -- Haiti, Samoa, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, Okinawa, Cuba, Beirut, Grenada, Kuwait and Iraq. These are battlefields around the world where Marines have fought and died, but more, they are all battlefields the 8th Marine Regiment has fought to conquer. The 8th Marine Regimental Headquarters was re-established during a ceremony here Oct. 9 after standing down from supporting the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism).

"The re-establishment of 8th Marines' headquarters is very important for 2nd Marine Division," said Col. Mark Gurganus, the commanding officer of 8th Marine Regiment and native of Wilmington, N.C. "We're giving the division it's third regimental headquarters back and we are re-assigning our three infantry battalions back to 8th Marine Headquarters."

The ceremony started at 5 p.m. with the posting of the colors. After posting of the colors, Gurganus relinquished the microphone to Lt. Gen. Henry P. Osman, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force. Osman stated, "The incredible success of 8th Marines (can be attributed) to their regimental headquarters. I'm honored to be here today to celebrate this event with you all."

Osman introduced the guest of honor, retired Col. J.B. Beavers, commanding officer, 8th Marine Regiment, from 1993-1995. Beavers concluded the speech by saying, "I'd like to thank 8th Marines for what they gave me, for what they've done in the past, and for what I know they'll do in the future."

The ceremony concluded with the colors being retired, and guests and families meeting in the regimental headquarters for refreshments.

"This is not only a special day for 2nd Marine Division, it's also a special day for 8th Marines. October 9 is when we were established in 1917," said Gurganus.

Since that day, 8th Marine Regiment has proved itself again and again in every fight its been called to. Most recently, 8th Marines was assigned to the 4th MEB (AT), to fight terrorism around the world. Recently, the funds were allocated to permanently establish the 4th MEB (AT), so the 8th Marine Regiment was returned to its former place within 2nd Marine Division.

"It's hard to start a regiment from the ground up. We have to get all our Marines and gear from the other regiments they were sent to," said Sgt. Maj. Lawrence A. Rosenfeld, the sergeant major of 8th Marines and a native of Bogot, N.J. "Our job is to be combat ready if called on to deploy. With the re-establishment of our headquarters to pull it all together, we're ready to do that."

Forming a new regimental headquarters brings with it many unforeseen problems. Where most units have a certain way of doing things, a newly formed regimental headquarters has to learn the ropes as they go.

"It'll take a little while before we get a set way of doing things. Once we do, we'll run just like any other regimental headquarters," said Cpl. Robert J. Flores, personnel and administration clerk with the headquarters and a native of Corpus Christi, Texas. "It'll be interesting to see how it all goes when we're starting from scratch."

Starting from scratch is something every element of the headquarters company is experiencing. From military gear to office supplies, everything has to be acquired to do the job a normal infantry headquarters company does.

"Where other people have phones, fax machines, and televisions, we have to acquire all of that stuff and do the normal tasks we do as a supply office," said Cpl. Eric B. Reeves, supply and administration chief for 8th Marines supply. The Winters, Texas, native continued, "The hardest part of getting this place to run is getting all your ducks in a row and keeping them there. Once we get something set up. It seems some part of it wants to fall apart. Acquiring all of our required gear and keeping everything running is stressful, but we're getting it done."

Pulling it all back together and getting it running again is just a small step in bringing the regiment to its full war fighting capability. Training is continuous even after the battalion is running smoothly.

"Our goal now is to get re-focused on war fighting as a regimental headquarters, to renew our knowledge of tactics and procedures, and to provide our commanding general with a fully operational regiment ready to deploy if needed," said Gurganus. "We've done that, and now we can continue to add to the long and rich history of the 8th Marine Regiment."

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