In late September Romeo Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marines, received its first shipments of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS ― a sign of the Corps’ future direction, which will emphasize missiles over traditional cannons.
The Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, based battery has been firing HIMARS since April while participating in Rolling Thunder but has relied on borrowed launchers to complete its mission, 1st Lt. Sydney Murkins told Marine Corps Times in an email.
“These are the first organic HIMARS launchers to 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment,” Murkins said. “This also means that they are the first organic launchers to 10th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, and 2d Marine Expeditionary Force.”
The Corps is reducing the number of tube artillery batteries from 21 down to just five as part of the Force Design 2030, pushed by Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger.
In its place will be a “300 percent” increase in rocket batteries, as the Corps plans for a future fight in the littoral areas around a near peer opponent like Russia or China.
Romeo Battery was the first active-duty HIMARS battery set up since that plan was put in place.
The battery originally was part of 5th Battalion, 10th Marines, but that battalion was deactivated in 2012.
As the Corps moves to more HIMARS batteries, Romeo was reactivated and assigned to 1/10, Murkins said.
The 0811s of Romeo Battery, likely more used to M777s than HIMARS, were sent through a training program to get acquainted with their new guns, Murkins told Marine Corps Times.
The Corps plans to arm HIMARS and possibly other launcher systems with missiles capable of sinking or severely damaging enemy ships.
Marines and those rocket systems will then be spread out on atolls and along friendly shorelines around the future littoral battlefield, Berger envisions.
The Marines, acting as a high-tech naval picket line, will clear up sea lanes to will allow the U.S. Navy, along with the rest of the joint force to ideally move in and deliver a knockout blow to the hypothetical enemy.
Romeo Battery will serve alongside four traditional cannon batteries and the unit’s headquarters battery, Murkins said. An arrangement that may stick around for a while.
“The M777A2 has and will continue to provide indirect fire in support of maneuver; it is not currently planned to be retired from the battalion any time soon,” Murkins added.