The Combat Assault Battalion, or CAB, has unfurled its unit flag in nearly every clime and place, from the battlefields of World War II, to Korea, to Iraq.
But the storied unit officially shut its doors on Oct. 12.
Headquartered out of Camp Schwab on Okinawa, Japan, CAB provided the Corps with amphibious assault, light armored reconnaissance and combat engineer support.
It is a mission that has spanned nearly 76 years, but as the Corps continues to modernize its force for a near-peer fight, elements of CAB are being reallocated and realigned across the Corps.
"As the Marine Corps continues to modernize the force it seeks to achieve additional warfighting capabilities and optimize the existing ones,” Lt. Col. Jacob Q. Robinson, the commander of CAB, told Marine Corps Times in an email.
“The deactivation of CAB has and will realign engineer, Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR), and AAV [Assault Amphibious Vehicle] capabilities across the Marine Corps with the preponderance of the capabilities remaining in the III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), specifically 3d Marine Division,” he added.
Part of the reason for the unit’s demise is the Corps’ push to replace its legacy fleet of tracked AAVs with BAE’S new eight-wheeled Amphibious Combat Vehicle.
And recently, the Corps put the final death knell in the more than 40-year-old AAV vehicle when it scrapped survivability upgrades meant to keep the old amphibious beast rolling until 2035.
The decision was made to “better align programs with the National Defense Strategy and congressional guidance to reduce investment in legacy programs and focus buying power on modernization, the Marine Corps made the decision to divest the AAV SU program [AAV Survivability Upgrade program],” Manny Pacheco, a Marine spokesman, told Defense News.
Pacheco further told Defense News that the AAV doesn’t “meet the needs of modern Marine amphibious forcible entry operations,” even with upgrades, the vehicle would be inadequate.
“The introduction of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle in the near future will provide a more modern, survivable, and reliable upgrade to the current Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) and will eventually replace all AAV personnel variants,” Robinson said.
The Corps expects a total number of nearly 704 ACVs.
“Marine Corps Force 2025 is a strategy the Marine Corps is working towards that provides additional operational capabilities to fight in future combat environments,” Robinson said in a command release. “Allocations from the Combat Assault Battalion was relocated to other units as an evolutionary process. I like to describe it as creative destruction.”
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.