MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- In just five years, the Marines assigned with 2nd Intelligence Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, have accomplished much in supporting Marine Corps force projection across the globe. Marines from this unit are scattered throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Bosnia, Cuba and the Horn of Africa, performing their duties in support of our operations abroad.
Last April, 2nd Intel celebrated five years of its transformation from a company to a battalion and recognized its role and sacrifices in providing the intelligence resources needed for the Marine Corps’ mission accomplishments throughout the world.
“We are a new battalion,” said Lt. Col. Phil D. Gentile, the commanding officer for 2nd Intel, of his unit’s greenness compared to other grizzled units in the Corps. “Our long-standing traditions are growing as we move forward.”
Those traditions and the history of the battalion are now being forged by the vital intelligence and battlefield information needed by the Marine Corps for the Global War on Terrorism and with the war in Iraq. These intelligence Marines sent out for the fight are involved in providing the vital information needed by analyzing the weather and terrain needed for battle and the imagery and human interaction of the enemy.
“Our battalion consistently pushes around 150 deployed [overseas],” said Master Sgt. Mark A. Carter, the operations chief for the battalion.
“We have people in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Guantanamo [Cuba], Iraq and in the Horn of Africa,” the Orlando, Fla., native said. “We are the most deployed battalion on base.”
The commanding officer of 2nd Intel spoke proudly of the unit’s Marines and their commitments abroad to the Marine Corps in general and the II MEF in particular.
“Nearly every place II MEF goes, we have a detachment that goes out with them,” said Gentile, originally a native of Hillsborough, N.J. “We were the core of intelligence support for Task Force Tarawa during Operation Iraqi Freedom,” he said.
Gunnery Sgt. Douglas W. Gullickson is a Marine assigned to 2nd Intelligence as the headquarters company first sergeant and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. With the exception of time spent with other units during deployment, the Littlestown, Pa., native has been with the unit since its days as a company more than six years ago.
“I was part of Task Force Tarawa with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade from January 2003 until May 2003,” he said.
Gullickson described one of the more known events Marines from 2nd Intel took part in during the push into Iraq last year and the information it received from a member of the local population.
“We provided intelligence support for [the rescue of] Jessica Lynch,” Gullickson said. “From one Iraqi, we helped in making out the information needed [for the rescue].”
He affirmed the continuous stretches of deployment away from home the unit’s Marines face.
“If you are looking to come to Intelligence Battalion, be expected to deploy,” Gullickson said. “It’s not for those who wish to stay here.”
Despite the personal sacrifices of the men being away from home, their job as Marine intelligence specialists with 2nd Intel remains on the frontlines of our wars.
“Intelligence drives operations,” said Carter. “Intelligence is the key to success on the battlefield.”