CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — The Marines and sailors of 5th Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division disbanded, after the battalion’s deactivation, June 1.
The artillery battalion played a significant role in the Marine Corps and the history of America and her armed forces since 1942, the year after the unit’s activation, where they fired the first offensive artillery rounds in World War II at Guadalcanal.
They developed and defended their war dog reputation in the battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Guam and Iwo Jima. More recently, they have been involved in Operations Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
“It has been hard for us all to watch the battalion be shut down,” Lt. Col. Walker Field said, the last commanding officer of the battalion. “A lot of hard work has gone into divesting equipment, transferring facilities and arranging personnel moves to ensure deactivation has been done in a professional manner.”
The battalion, consisting of five battery elements, arranged itself on W.P.T Field aboard the base. Field headed the ceremony and highlighted the unit’s proud history and expressed, on behalf of the battalion, the pride of having served in 5/10 and the sorrow of having to deactivate the unit.
“It has truly been an honor to share the final chapter of 5/10's legacy with so many talented Marines and sailors,” Field said. “The deactivation has been bittersweet for the Marines and sailors of the battalion.”
The battalion, affectionately nicknamed the “Five and Dime Battalion” after the branch of Woolworth stores, cleared its personnel June 7, six days after the deactivation. The Marines and sailors from the battalion will be transferred to a sister battalion to await their permanent change of station or end of active service dates.
“More than 70 percent of first-term Marines exit service after one tour of duty, and, consequently, serve in only one unit,” Field explained. “The kinship established with peers becomes the fabric of lifelong relationships which are framed by the identity of their first unit. It has been hard for us all to watch the battalion be shut down, but particularly tough on first-term Marines.”
The batteries retired their guidons and the battalion cased and retired their colors, concluding the ceremony.
“There has also been a palatable taste of sweet pride in having off-ramped the battalion the right way,” Field said. “The past year has been bittersweet for the men of 5/10.”