View Full Version : The 'Ready Battalion' lands on Okinawa

10-10-03, 07:01 AM
The 'Ready Battalion' lands on Okinawa
Submitted by: MCB Camp Butler
Story Identification Number: 2003101204715
Story by Cpl. Ryan D. Libbert

CAMP SCHWAB, Okinawa, Japan (10/02/2003) -- More than 800 Marines from 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment arrived Okinawa the first two weeks of September from Camp Lejeune, N.C. to serve as the newest infantry battalion assigned to the 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.

The battalion replaced 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment as the UDP East battalion on Camp Schwab. The battalion is deployed to Okinawa to boost the forces needed on the foreign shores of East Asia explained Lt. Col. Andy L. Solgere, battalion commanding officer.

"We are here to be a part of the ground combat element of III Marine Expeditionary Force, the 4th Marine Regiment," Solgere said.

Scheduled for a seven-month deployment here, the battalion plans to sustain its skills in warfighting by training in the tropical environment offered by Okinawa and the surrounding regions.

"For training purposes we have the standard UDP package planned out," Solgere admitted. "The Jungle Warfare Training Center will be a part of it, as well as the Central Training Area adjacent to Camp Schwab."

The battalion received the nickname "The Ready Battalion" years ago by always answering any call put before them. The battalion is still living up to that name by deploying here 80 days after returning home from service in the Middle East.

"We were originally slated to conduct a combined arms exercise in February, but it was cancelled due to Operation Iraqi Freedom," Solgere commented. "We were one of the last battalions to arrive there as we prepared for contingency in Kuwait. Since we were one of the first to leave the Middle East, our scheduled UDP tour was bumped from June 2004 to Sept. 2003."

The battalion is ready to start training and operating within III Marine Expeditionary Force's area of operations.

"The environment is quite different here than what we've been operating in for the past few months," said Sgt. Maj. Tim M. McCurry, battalion sergeant major. "The jungles of this tropical island will be taken advantage of as well as the hills, heat and bugs."

Beyond the training, Marines from the battalion are also eager to experience the unique Okinawan way of life. The battalion chaplain is already planning community relations events so the Marines of 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment can experience the culture first-hand.

For Marines new to the fleet, a chance to deploy to Okinawa for seven months from Camp Lejeune is an adventure worth taking advantage of according to Pfc. Joe D. Fitzgerald, battalion legal services specialist, Headquarters and Service Company.

"I've been looking forward for a chance to go overseas since I've been in the Corps," Fitzgerald said after being assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines short of two months. "The weather is interesting. I like the heat. Plus I like the fact that this is a secluded island, it's not very commercialized."


Marines from 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, now assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division prepare to deploy to Camp Fuji via the High Speed Vessel for Exercise Forest Light. The battalion is currently serving seven months with 4th Marines under the Unit Deployment Program.
Photo by: Cpl. Ryan D. Libbert