MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
U.S. Marines with Fox Company, 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, held a deactivation ceremony on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune at Stone Bay, North Carolina, Aug. 25, 2020.
The company is one of six companies in the battalion that is deactivating. The company, activated in June 2006, conducted its inaugural gunnery qualification in Yakima, Washington, in August 2009.
Between 2010 and 2012, Fox Co. participated in Operation African Lion, a joint exercise in Morocco, and then it was sent to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, California to assist with training infantry battalions deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2017 and 2018, F Co. sent Marines to the Republic of Korea to train alongside the Korean Marines.
Members of the company also trained in strategic mobilization exercises and conducted a limited technical inspection on various vehicles that were to be used in Operation Agile Spirit.
“Throughout its history, Fox Company has supported the larger Marine Corps effort with individual augments in both past and ongoing operations, both inside and outside of the continental United States,” said Capt. Nathaniel Simms, the company commander of Fox Co., 4th Tank Bn. “From the humid pine swamps of Camp Lejeune, to the deserts of Africa and Twenty-Nine Palms, to the snow-covered forests and plains of Michigan, to the mountains of Yakima and Korea and the fjords of Norway, Fox Company proudly served as part of the largest Marine Corps tank battalion, training for the time she might be called to deliver armor-protected firepower in defense of liberty and freedom.”
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, released the Marine Corps Force Design 2030 in March 2020, stating that tanks would be divested in order to allow the Marine Corps to prioritize its naval partnership. Berger wrote in the report, “We must transform our traditional models for organizing, training and equipping the force to meet new desired ends, and do so in full partnership with the Navy.”
According to Berger, the divestment of tanks is due to sufficient evidence that concludes that the capabilities, despite the long and honorable history in the wars of the past, is operationally unsuitable for the Marine Corps’ highest-priority challenges in the future.
“The divestment of tanks is allowing the Marine Corps to invest in newer capabilities and assets that will support the commandants vision for how we are going to fight in the future,” said Lt. Col. Michael D. O’Quin, the commanding officer of 4th Tank Bn.
According to Simms, several opportunities will be made available for Marines in the unit to choose a different career path or continue with the career they have currently.
“Tankers and tank mechanics have several options available to them now that the battalions are deactivating, the Marines can lateral move to different MOS’, they can inter-service transfer to a different branch of service or they can drop to the inactive ready reserves if they are finished with their contract,” Simms said. “The non-tanker MOSs will be able to do an inter-unit transfer to continue on in their MOS.”
Since 4th Tank Battalion’s activation in 1943, the unit has served in every war the Marine Corps has fought, including the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The battalions’ motto “53 Days” was adopted to recognize their contributions to the landing at Inchon, Korea, when they arrived just 53 days after being activated. The dedication and expertise of the Marines attached to 4th Tank Bn has aided in the Marine Corps’ ongoing reputation of being the world’s best fighting force.
“I cannot begin to describe the honor it has been to serve as your company commander, and to lead the Marines of one of the finest tank companies in the Marine Corps,” Simms said. “You have served faithfully, making your country and the Corps proud. Fair winds and following seas. Semper Fidelis.”