- The Washington Times - Monday, February 1, 2021

The 8th Marine Regiment fought its way across the Pacific in World War II, storming the beaches on islands like Saipan and Tinian, and decades later battled insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the storied regiment based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., couldn’t survive cuts called for in order to reshape the Marine Corps into what officials say is a “more efficient, maritime-centric operation force.”

The regiment‘s colors were formally rolled up and put away last week during a ceremony at Camp Lejeune. It joins a growing list of other units based there that have recently been deactivated, officials said.

The regiment has been deactivated three times since it was established in 1917. It was last reactivated in 1950 and remained active until last week. 

“It’s just a natural transition that we go through as we contract or expand the Marine Corps in certain locations and places, either by skillset or by geographical location, that fits with force design,” said Maj. Gen. Frank Donovan, commander of the 2nd Marine Division. “Losing a regiment, we lose some flexibility. But the reality is we also spread some of that talent and that capability to our other regiments.”

The Marine Corps will reallocate the revenue in order to incorporate long-range precision fires and refocus on integration with the Navy, in accordance with its roots as a naval expeditionary force.

“The force design effort does not imply that [deactivated units] are not of value,” Gen. David Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps, noted in his original order. “Rather, this effort confronts the reality that in a future threat-informed fight, other capabilities will be more useful to the maritime and joint mission.”

Even with the deactivation of the regiment, two of its infantry battalions will join other units in the Marine Corps. The move will allow the service to modernize and prepare for a fight against a peer competitor, said Col. John Rochford, commander of the 8th Marine Regiment.

“The past six months have been the most impactful for me,” he said.

Going forward, the troops from the deactivated regiment will either move to other units, be assigned new military career fields or opt to transition out of the Marine Corps, officials said.

“They can take with them the 8th Marine Regiment‘s fighting spirit and go on and do good things in the Marine Corps,” said Keith D. Hoge, the regiment‘s sergeant major. “I hope that we’ve made them proud.”

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