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Lt. Col. Eric Davis (left), the commanding officer of Combat Logistics Battalion 46, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, and Sgt. Maj. Derrick Smith (right), the CLB-46 sergeant major, case their unit’s colors during a deactivation ceremony aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 22, 2010. The all-reserve battalion, which is made up of 900 Marines from 70 reserve sites spanning across 42 states, was activated for the first time in June 2009 to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Melissa Latty

Last Marine logistics battalion to serve in Iraq deactivates, returns to New Orleans command

24 Mar 2010 | Lance Cpl. Melissa Latty

Marines of Combat Logistics Battalion 46, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, held a deactivation ceremony in which the battalion’s colors were cased and retired, here, March 22.

The battalion was activated for the first time June 2009 to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In addition to providing combat service support during their seven-month deployment, they also worked extensively towards the responsible drawdown of U.S. Marines and their equipment from Iraq.

The all-reserve battalion is made up of about 900 Marines and sailors from 70 different reserve sites spanning across 42 states.

Nearly a year ago, the Marines and sailors of the battalion converged on Camp Lejeune, where they trained and lived together while preparing for the deployment. Unlike most units, the Marines had only a short time to create bonds and form a cohesive unit, which they did while training aboard Lejeune and Twenty-nine Palms, Calif.

“It is fitting that we hold our deactivation ceremony here at Camp Lejeune, as it truly is the crossroads of our battalion,” said Lt. Col. Eric Davis, the commanding officer of CLB-46.  “I’m glad to be back here at what marks the end of a successful deployment.”

The battalion proved their success as the first all-reserve Marine battalion to serve in Iraq and last Marine battalion to leave the country.  During their time in country they conducted more than 800 outside-the-wire missions, helped train the Iraqi soldiers of the 7th Iraqi Army Division, and maintained a safe driving record after traveling over 500,000 miles with no casualties or accidents.

Upon their arrival to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, the Marines were put in charge of extracting more than 7,500 pieces of equipment from the country.  Their dedication to the mission led to a successful drawdown as the last of Marine forces prepared to leave the country after nearly seven years of the service’s contributions to OIF.

Brig. Gen. Juan G. Ayala, the 2nd MLG commanding general, praised the Marines of CLB-46 and their commanders for a job well done.

“Your actions and performance honored the 54 [Marines killed in action] and over 600 [wounded in action] that were suffered by all four MLGs during OIF,” he said.  “You were the last unit, from the last combat logistics regiment, from the last Marine Logistics Group and the last Marine battalion in Iraq - you punched us past the goal line.”

Davis said he doesn’t know whether or not the colors will ever be uncased again, but says the battalion stands ready to join the 2nd MLG on deployments if called upon again in the future.

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