March 21, 2013 — CAMP SCHWAB, Japan – Marines take great pride in serving as America’s force in readiness. For the members of Combat Assault Battalion, that pride stands a little stronger perhaps, as they are unique within the Marine Corps.
CAB is the only battalion-sized combat assault unit in the Marine Corps. It provides the 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, with engineers, assault amphibious vehicle support and light armored reconnaissance capabilities, as well as motor transport, heavy-equipment, communications, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense assets.
“CAB is certainly a one-of-a-kind battalion comprised of many arms of the ground combat element,” said Lt. Col. Terry M. Paustenbaugh, the commanding officer of CAB. “We bring a unique and diverse capability to a division that serves across a broad spectrum of operations and exercises. These include numerous theater security cooperation events, as well as deploying platoons and individual augments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.”
The battalion consists of headquarters and service, combat engineer, LAR and AAV companies. Its mission is to conduct and support amphibious operations by landing and transporting surface assault elements and equipment to inland objectives while conducting close-combat engineer support, light armored reconnaissance and limited offensive and defensive operations.
“We focus on our training and readiness at the platoon and company-levels while on Okinawa, so we can ensure mission success when supporting the numerous exercises that take place throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” added Paustenbaugh. “We also do our best to get the battalion to Camp Fuji in order to refine our ability to command and control when the battalion’s forces are aggregated. These efforts paid off when we represented our division during a recent exercise in mainland Japan. It will also serve us well as we turn our focus to the many tasks we have been assigned this spring and summer.”
Other Marine divisions have the same capabilities, but they are organized into various battalions, according to Capt. Scott A. Whipple, the officer in charge of S-3, operations and training, CAB.
“We don’t have the personnel or the space for each element to be its own battalion,” said Whipple. “That is why it is important that we are even more efficient — because of our smaller size and the amount of support we provide 3rd Marine Division.”
The battalion’s Marines participated in several World War II campaigns, continued their fighting legacy during the Korean War at the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir and the Battle of the Pusan Perimeter, and also fought around Da Nang during the Vietnam War.
CAB began its storied history as 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion Feb. 16, 1942, at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., before moving to its current home on Camp Schwab in July of 1969. The battalion was redesignated to its current name Oct. 5, 1994.
“Having been with a lot of different battalions in my career, CAB has definitely been the most unique,” said Master Sgt. Kent L. Corbett, the operations chief for Combat Engineer Company, CAB. “You can see the pride the Marines share being part of a small, close family.”
Given its size, CAB is more operationally agile in supporting the different elements of 3rd Marine Division and III MEF throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and it is capable of executing a broad range of operations with its organic assets and personnel.
“The Marines take pride in knowing that we can provide incredibly diverse capabilities,” said Paustenbaugh. “Whether it is making water, improving roads, detecting improvised explosive devices, assaulting a beach, or conducting light armored reconnaissance — this battalion will get the job done.”
By Pfc. Kasey Peacock | III MEF | March 25, 2013