2d Force Recon re-assigned to II MEF

27 Jun 2002 | Sgt. Joshua S. Higgins

2d Force Reconnaissance Company finally went home July 9 after approximately six years serving the division.

The company left 2nd Marine Division and became a II Marine Expeditionary Force asset once again after a ceremony at the 2d Force Service Support Group amphitheatre here.

The re-assignment ceremony came after Gen. James L. Jones, commandant of the Marine Corps, stated in a Marine Administrative message he intends to "fix recon."

According to Lt. Col. Raymond E. Coia, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion commanding officer, force recon has been going through changes in the last 10 years, some good and some bad. He said the re-assignment is part of the last stages of getting things back in order.

"This (re-assignment) gives the MEF commander an asset under his control to employ into deep battle," said Coia.

Coia explained before this change, the II MEF commander had to request force reconnaissance from 2nd Marine Division; now he can go straight to the unit commander and direct tasks to support the entire Marine Air Ground Task Force.

Gunnery Sgt. William K. Schanz, a platoon sergeant with 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, said he hopes the change will help bring back the traditional role of force recon.

"Many times our mission doesn't fall within division's training scenarios, so it is difficult for us to train properly," said Schanz. "Under MEF there is more income for our budget, which should allow us more training opportunities and flexibility."

Their mission, Schanz said, will essentially stay the same, but in the past few years under division, their role has been much like that of the regular reconnaissance companies here. He said though both 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company and other reconnaissance companies are designed to collect intelligence, their capabilities vastly differ.

"Force recon is more structured and equipped to go deeper into enemy territory. The other companies do not have that insert ability," he said. "With division we have been incorporated into the other companies' platoons and our capabilities haven't been used the same as if we were with MEF."

Schanz said other Marines within the company share his bright outlook on the change.  He said unit moral picked up since learning of the re-assignment, and everyone looked forward to the change with great anticipation.

Lt. Col. James E. Reilly III, a former member of 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, assumed command of the unit. His senior enlisted member is Sgt. Maj. William H. Bly.