‘Marines make excellent soldiers’: Over half a Marine tank company just joined the Army National Guard

| September 26, 2020

Marines still in MARPAT uniforms being sworn into the Army National Guard

Since the Marine Corps has axed their tanks, those Marines are looking for (going to channel Jeff LPH 3 here for a second) greener pastures with the Army.

Over three-dozen former Marine Corps tank company members became soldiers last weekend, after their prior unit disbanded under a broader plan to redesign the service for more agile naval warfare.

The Marines, dressed in that service’s digital camouflage, gathered Sunday at Gowen Field airport in Boise, Idaho, where they raised their right hands and became Idaho Army National Guardsmen, an online photo and caption showed.

All 39 of those transferring were reservists who’d served in Company C, 4th Tank Battalion, which disbanded a month earlier, the Idaho Army National Guard said in a statement. Ten more from the company joined other states’ National Guard units, it said. A tank company typically has about 80 Marines.

Brig. Gen. Farin Schwartz, commander of the Idaho Army National Guard said, “Marines make excellent Soldiers. They each have the potential to make an immediate impact to their new unit and have already proven to be successful in the military.”

I’ve worked with a lot of Marines. They’re usually great to work with, once you learn to use small words around them.

Thanks to ninja for finding this one. More at the source; Stars and Stripes

Category: Army, Defense cuts, Marine Corps, Marines

Comments (45)

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  1. 2banana says:

    Does the Idaho Nstional Guard have tanks and tank units?

    If not, why not just join another Marine Corps unit.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      They do. The US Army typically has combat arms formations in the Guard, and support in the Reserves

      The Marines are also downsizing, so likely they had to find a new home.

      And I suppose “it would take to long to train up new tankers, so don’t bother” might factor in someone’s planning, somewhere.

      Kinda like the Jackasses that ordered the end of F-22 procurement and the destruction of the F-22 tooling. We would have to start completely from scratch to make new ones, or even do major rebuilds.

      I wonder who put -that- “good idea” in someone’s ear.

      • Hondo says:

        The US Army typically has combat arms formations in the Guard, and support in the Reserves

        Yep – one of the post-Vietnam “improvements” to the Army’s force structure. The thought at the time was to prevent another “piecemeal” stealthy escalation of a conflict by the POTUS (like LBJ did in Vietnam during 1965 and early 1966) by making any such escalation require mobilization of a significant fraction of the RC, thus getting Congressional notice.

        Truth be told, that works pretty well for a short, large conflict like Desert Storm (or, potentially, the Korean peninsula). But as we’ve found over the last 15 years or so, it doesn’t work too well when you have a protracted lower-level conflict that still requires support and/or augmentation with combat forces from the RC. It royally screws with some of those RC units and personnel.

        • SteeleyI says:

          That is by design.

          The nation cannot go to protracted war without the reserve component, so the burden does not fall on the active force alone. Small communities across the nation will also feel the impact.

          The President has to notify Congress about any use of force, but Congress must approve any mobilization of the Guard and Reserves to serve overseas. This essentially makes up for the fact that we don’t declare war (whatever ‘war’ is) any more.

          • Hondo says:

            I know its by design. I said as much in my previous comment.

            Source for the “Congress must approve any mobilization of the Guard and Reserves to serve overseas” statement, please? Because I don’t thing that’s correct.

            Last time I checked, the SECDEF can mobilize a significant chunk (I think the number is either 150k or 250k) of the RC for contingency operations on his order alone or a relatively short period of time; the POTUS can order a much larger mobilization of the RC for a longer period on his authority alone (1M is the figure that sticks in mind). I don’t think that the Federal law giving those two individuals that authority contains any geographic restrictions on where those troops may be deployed ISO contingency operations. Congressional authority is required for full mobilization.

            Hell, given the text of the War Powers Resolution it’s not even clear that Congressional approval is required for troops to be ordered into a hostile-fire situation. The WPR appears to give the POTUS a 60 day window to do that on Presidential order alone. After 60 days, either Congressional approval is required or the troops must be withdrawn within 30 days – at least in theory. That was ignored by the previous Administration during “Odyssey Dawn”, but Congress never called out the Previous Occupant, 1600 Penn Ave, Wash DC on it.

      • USMC Steve says:

        Our mentally challenged commandant not only got rid of tanks, most of our arty, and a bunch of air assets, but he got rid of like 18,000 Marines as well. This prick is going to be a bigger disaster than that airwinger we had running things a while back.

    • Hondo says:

      Geographic reasons would be my guess.

      There aren’t all that many USMCR units out there. There may not be another USMCR unit within reasonable commuting distance, leaving members of the disbanded unit little choice but to change services if they wish to continue in the RC.

      • steeleyI says:

        There will soon be no USMC tank units, so if you want to drive the world’s most powerful tank/death machine, at 50MPH+ across the desert whilst dealing destruction from the 120mm main gun you gotta be a Soldier.

        • Hondo says:

          When an RC unit disbands or reorganizes, changing MOS is often necessary if an individual wants to remain in the RC. Unlike active duty, the RC doesn’t in general PCS personnel other than those serving on active duty for full-time manning purposes (AGR/TAR programs).

          Most RC members depend primarily on their civilian employment for their livelihood and simply aren’t going to move to stay in the Reserves. They’ll either (1) move to another RC unit in their current geographical area, changing MOS (or even services) if necessary and qualified, or (2) leave the RC.

          • rgr769 says:

            Yes, I changed from a Utah NG unit to an Army reserve unit when I moved to another state to attend law school.

    • Claw says:

      Yes, they do. The IDNG 116th is an Armored Brigade Combat Regiment with Abrams, Bradleys, Paladins, etc.

      Can’t exactly say for sure now in this time and age/force structure, but the 116th at one time was the Roundout Brigade to the 4th ID down on Carson.

  2. Sapper3307 says:

    Smaller and less lethal with every stroke of the pen.

  3. 5th/77th FA says:

    Glad the Marines found themselves a new Home. I have concerns that all of this downsizing is going to bite us square in the ass one day. The Marines would not of had this fire power available to them if it hadn’t been found, at some point in time, that they needed it.

    The other good news for these Former Marines, now Army Soldiers, is they will have a decent football team to cheer for! GABN!!! 😆 😆

    • UpNorth says:

      There’s something floating around, about refusing to learn from history and repeating it. As you said, at some point in history, the Marines found out they needed tanks.
      Why get rid of the firepower?

      • David says:

        “The Marines only land and briefly hold until relieved by the Army”… another of the canards like “the Air Force will bomb all resistance away from the air” and “all future wars will be push-button so why learn combat arms skills”. At some point the Marines found armored short-range pinpoint projectile delivery systems to be useful; one would think their necessity could arise again.

        • 11B-Mailclerk says:

          Is that need precision cannon, for “kick in the door”, best answered by an Abrams non-swim or an amphib 120mm assault gun?

          What if the Army had the “heavy” role including beach follow-on delivery? Like a beachable assault RoRo vehicle carrier for tanks and APCs? If the Navy had an “assault pier” like we used one-shot for Overlord?

          Less parochial. More team.

          • SteeleyI says:

            There are a lot of misperceptions about the roles of the services, in particular Army vs Marine Corps. The roles of the services are laid out plainly in law (Title 10, US Code).

            The Marines are not, never have been, and never will be the ‘assault force’, and the Army is not, never has been, and never will be the ‘defensive/occupation/mop-up force’.

            We always fight as a Joint force under our Combatant Commanders. These commanders select the best force for the job from the forces available.

            The Marines have the Gator Navy to lean on for amphibious operations, but the Army also has an extensive watercraft program, to include a variety of amphibs. There is also JLOTS- Joint Logistics Over the Shore, which is floating causeways and lighterage craft that allow the Joint Force to move from ship to shore.

            THe problem we will all face is enemy Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2AD) systems that are going to make all of the above incredibly risky. Again, look at the Brits in the Falklands war. We will have to fight our way in and provide an AMD umbrella over the force the entire time.

    • steeleyI says:

      The Marines really depend more on CAS than tanks for firepower. They don’t really conduct what the Army would call Combined Arms maneuver- they’ve only done it twice, once in Desert Storm and once in OIF I.

      In both cases, they had to be heavily augmented by the Army In Desert Storm, the Tiger Brigade augmenting the Marines provided almost more tanks than there were in the entire Marine Corps at the time (to include the Reserve), and definitely more M-1s since the Marines were still using mostly M60A3s- several of which were destroyed or damaged.

      Marine doctrine at the time typically held the supporting tank companies in reserve. Infantry and artillery had very limited mobility, whereas an Army heavy brigade (we now call them Armored Brigade Combat Teams) is entirely mounted, and both the Artillery and Infantry are in fast, survivable armored vehicles that could provide mutual support to the tanks.

      • USMC Steve says:

        That is odd. I don’t remember any doggies with us in Task Force Ripper.

        I do remember the Marine Corps supply system keeping a whole bunch of them fed for a while, when the Army neglected to send a proper supply chain with all the troops they flooded into theater before Desert Storm started up.

        And we have done combined arms since WW2, On any number of islands in the Pacific. We also did it in Korea, from August of 1950 on to the end of the war. Not so much in Vietnam, at least not with our armor. With the notable exception of Hue City.

        • SteeleyI says:

          I said what the Army would consider Combined Arms. An Army ABCT can maneuver tanks, BFVs, and artillery at full speed (with Apache support and CAS from our Air Force and Navy friends).

          The Tiger Brigade from the 2nd Armored Division was attached to the 2nd Marine Division. It included two tank battalions, a mech infantry battalion, and a self propelled 155 battalion. In fact, 2nd Tank was OPCON to the Tiger Brigade for the battle. This was written by a Marine and has some interesting insights as to the differences and similarities between the units:


          As far as logistics, the Army provides the bulk of theater sustainment on the ground. In fact, if you read the paper, the Marines were absolutely overwhelmed by the size, space required, speed, and logistical requirements to sustain a single Army brigade.

          If you think about it, this single brigade had as many armored fighting vehicles and almost as many tanks as the entire Marine Corps at the time. That is true to this day- a single Army ABCT has more tanks than the entire Marine Corps, and there are 11 ABCTs in the Army.

  4. ninja says:

    Well, this is gonna get interesting…

    “Marines Weigh Closing Parris Island and San Diego to Open New Coed Boot Camp”


    “The Marine Corps is considering a plan in which it could close its two existing boot camp locations and funnel all recruits to a new base where men and women would train together.”

    “Marine entry-level training is a long way off from being able to meet a congressional mandate to make its East and West coast training bases both able to support gender-integrated training in the coming years, the Corps’ top general said on Thursday.”

    “That is leading the service to study the option of opening a third training base in a new location to which all new recruits would ship, rather than spending cash on construction projects at aging training bases.”

    “Both the Marine Corps’ recruit training depots have storied pasts — particularly Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina, which was first used by Marines in the 1890s.”

    “But with a new law bearing down on the service to make both locations support coed training — within five years at Parris Island and eight at San Diego — the Marine Corps is exploring different options…”

    “The Marine Corps hasn’t yet identified a state where the new boot camp location might be located… In assessing the possible change though, they’re considering a lot more than just the need for coed squad bays and other facility changes to support gender-integrated boot camp.”

    “Gender integration at Marine Corps Recruit Training remains a top priority,” the plan submitted to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services states. “The outcome the Marine Corps desires for gender integration is for every male recruit to train alongside a female recruit within the same company.”

    “The move is likely to face pushback from members of Congress interested in keeping the bases — along with their associated workforces — in their states.”

    “It’s too early to say whether a new boot camp site would mean the Marine Corps would get rid of its two coastal-area bases. Closing military bases can take years, but the real estate in California and South Carolina could prove valuable.”

    “Ultimately, the decision could come down to cost.”

    “The bean counters usually [decide] these things”..

    • KoB says:

      If the Female Marine Recruits are gonna look like this one pictured I will join today. Co-Ed Squad Bays? Will give a whole new meaning to bunk mates. And hot bunking!

      I’ll report to the JAG LT Col for non-judicial punishment. MAM, YES MAM! gabn/rtr/hbtd


    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Co-ed squad bays??? Do these people live in the real world? How many guys would turn up pregnant within about three weeks, anyway???

      I would no more sleep in the same room as my brother because he snores like a Mack truck and farts at will.

      Co-ed sqad bays…. gackkkkk!

  5. Graybeard says:

    Move the bean counters to the FOPs.

    Funding problems will find better resolution.

  6. OlafTheTanker says:

    Company C, 4th Tank Battalion was already located in Gowan Field ID, same place as the Guard unit they transferred over to is located.

    If they were smart, they’d sign over all the equipment with some paint brushes as well.

    But this IS the military we are talking about…

    My old unit 8/40 Armor attached to the 63rd ARCOM was one of the last Army Combat Arms Reserve units that was in the process of up-training to M-1’s only to have them taken away almost immediately after they arrived thanks to Gramm–Rudman

    I’m glad these guys had the opportunity to stay doing what they love and not also be turned into truck drivers.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I have to run another tanker video for you tanker guys & gals, don’t I? (Guilt trip!) Okay, I’ll hunt around.

    • The Stranger says:

      Wait, the Army “acquiring” Marine equipment? Wouldn’t THAT be ironic…

      • rgr769 says:

        Hey, that happened to my Ranger company in the Viet of the Nam. When we moved into Camp Reasoner, we inherited all sorts of stuff from the 1st Recon Bn., including K-bars, an array of AK-47’s, camo jungle fatigues, assorted gear, and even a 60mm mortar. They gave us all the stuff they didn’t want transport to Okinawa, especially weapons they weren’t supposed to have, like a .50 cal tank machine gun.

  7. Bob Drennan says:

    Next week- Crayon shortage in Idaho…

    • OlafTheTanker says:

      Still the same usage, just coming out of a different budget.

      Hell, since they will be Army Tankers now, maybe they will learn to like freeze-dried coffee grounds from MRE’s as a lip-dip instead.

  8. Poetrooper says:

    “Brig. Gen. Farin Schwartz, commander of the Idaho Army National Guard said, “Marines make excellent Soldiers.”

    But it’s a stiff learning curve…


  9. Bill R. says:

    It appears to me the law of unintended consequences has struck the Marine Corps. The commandant may want some downsizing but from what I’ve read, he wants to turn tankers into riflemen.

    • OlafTheTanker says:

      Reminds me of the story I heard many years ago.

      A kid joins the Army but is told that due to budget cuts, how soldiers fight has been changed.

      He is trained on the proficient use of sticks, finger guns and rocks.

      When an enemy is far away, he is to throw a rock and yell “BOOM-ETY-BOOM-BOOM_BOOM”

      When they are closer he is to point finger guns and yell “BANG-ETY-BANG-BANG-BANG”

      When the enemy is within hitting distance, point his stick and yell “STAB-ETY-STAB-STAB-STAB”

      He trains for months with these three techniques, feeling like an idiot but thinks as long as he’s getting paid and no chance of actually getting shot at, it’s fine.

      Then one day, ALERT!

      War is here, all troops are gathered up in trucks and shipped off into the woods to prepare for an invasion, they dig foxholes to wait in, and wait.

      Days go by, then here and there a few enemy show up, others in his group, throw rocks “BOOM-ETY-BOOM-BOOM_BOOM”
      Enemies drop dead.

      Point their finger guns – “BANG-ETY-BANG-BANG-BANG”
      Enemies drop dead left and right.

      And occasionally need to deal with enemies that were able to sneak up and get too close “STAB-ETY-STAB-STAB-STAB”

      They too drop dead.

      He is amazed it is working, enemies are dropping like flies, so he joins in with the attack, until he spies 3 enemies walking towards him slowly in a wedge formation, chugging their arms back and forth like locomotives.

      He tosses a rock at them- “BOOM-ETY-BOOM-BOOM_BOOM” – it bounces off of the lead enemy. Nothing.

      Points his finger-guns repeatedly yelling in a panic – “BANG-ETY-BANG_BANG_BANG”

      And just about as he is going to pick up his stick, the last thing he hears as all 3 of them run over him and kill him is them chanting in unison…


  10. Club Manager, USA Retired says:

    Did this switch raise the combined IQ of both branches? The tankers are going to stick out walking around an Army installation with two road guards and someone to count Candace. Can Army guard soldiers fill those roles?

  11. Prior Service says:

    Wise choice! As a tanker, I, too, would gladly change services to stay on my tank. (Sadly, I don’t actually have a tank anymore….)

  12. SteeleyI says:

    The Marines are divesting themselves of all tank units and most if not all cannon artillery.

    Their new operating concept does not call for that type of maneuver warfare. That said, the Marine Corps never had many tanks to begin with, and the M1 was not really the tank they needed as much as the only tank we had.

    Combined Arms 101: You can’t fully capitalize on any one arm without the support of the other two.

    Marine infantry is essentially light infantry unless mounted in AAVs, which are slow, under gunned, lightly armored, waaaaaaay too big to avoid detection, and can’t keep up with tanks nor survive when they do. Marine tube artillery is towed, and can’t keep up with either.

    I’m sure these Marines will do fine once they learn how armor formations were meant to operate;-)

    • USMC Steve says:

      I seriously doubt any of us will live to see armor used as the Army wants to use it. The war in Europe is long over. Unless we fight Russia, who is queer for armored formations, or perhaps the Red Chinese, I doubt Armor for us will be anything much more than mobile direct fire arty.

      • KoB says:

        “…Armor…mobile direct fire arty.”

        BAM! USMC has taken what I have been preaching for YEARS to heart. Proves again, that Marines ARE NOT the crayon gnawing dummies you squids and airedales are trying to make my Devil Dogs out to be.

        It all boils down the the Combat Arms are Artillery! ALL OF IT!!!

        Infantry = Person Portable, Shoulder Fire Artillery!

        Armor = Tracked or Wheeled Mobile Artillery!

        Navy = Floating Artillery!

        Air Farce oops Force = Aerial Artillery Platforms!

        Thus endeth the lessons.

      • SteeleyI says:

        Let’s hope not. Of course, the second the Army divests itself of ABCTs the Russians will roll right across the border and occupy Poland and the Baltics without firing a shot.

        This is why the Marine’s plan makes perfect sense in light of the operating environment and their future operating concept. The Expeditionary Advance Base Concept calls for the Marines to do missions very similar to the Marine Defense Battalions from the early days of WWII.

        The Army is doing something similar with Multi Domain Operations. The Multi Domain Task Forces emphasize long range precision fires, air defense, and cyber/EW/Space capabilities more so than maneuver capabilities.

  13. ninja says:

    Marine Corps…

    A Few Good Men…

  14. Cameron says:

    This sounds like a mistake to me. I remember reading on Wikipedia how the army began relying on light infantry divisions, because of the success in Panama, but had to go back to regular mechanized infantry because the light infantry lacked the hitting power. And chances are, the Marines will likely take some time to build back up again. Especially the air wings as that training takes time to do. I think General Berger is thinking too much like a Recon Marine (which is his background). I sure hope this doesn’t come back to bite us in the ass, and God forbid if it does, Berger is the one that should be forced to pay for it.