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Combat Assault Battalion provides one-of-a-kind support

Printer Friendly VersionPrinter Friendly VersionSend to a FriendSend to a FriendCombat Assault Battalion's motto says it all, "Sui Generis," which is Latin for one of a kind. CAB, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, is the only battalion-sized combat assault unit in the Marine Corps. The battalion provides 3rd MarDiv with engineers, amphibious assault vehicle support and light armored reconnaissance vehicle support as well as motor transport, heavy equipment, communications and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense Marines. "CAB provides the engineers, LARs and AAVs for the entire division," said Lt. Col. Dan Yaroslaski, commanding officer of CAB. "We provide three unique capabilities that the division would not have itself." At 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions, stateside, engineers, LARs and AAVs comprise battalions of their own, he said adding that here CAB does it all. CAB was activated Feb. 16, 1942, at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., as 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion. The Marines of the batallion participated in several World War II campaigns including Guadalcanal, Finschhafen, New Britain, Peleliu and Okinawa. The battalion continued its fighting legacy at the Chosin Reservoir and the Pusan perimeter in the Korean War and in Danang during the Vietnam War. As the 1st Amphibian Assault Battalion during the Vietnam War, CAB Marines conducted operations which earned its Marines the nickname "AmGrunts." AmGrunts were Marines who worked with amphibious assault tractors but also dismounted and carried on missions as infantrymen. "Playing such a unique role in the Marine Corps brings its share of challenges, but we take them on and overcome them every day," Yaroslaski said. The battalion finally found its home on Camp Schwab in July 1969 and after several name changes the battalion was designated CAB Oct. 5, 1994. Made up of a headquarters and service company, a combat engineer company, an LAR company and an AAV company, CAB's 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. "CAB is the only forward-deployed unit that does what we do," said 1st Sgt. Tim Henshaw, acting sergeant major of CAB. "In the past, CAB has even deployed as its own task force," he said. "CAB is an organization that you won't find anywhere else in the Marine Corps," said Gunnery Sgt. Garrett Robinson, an AAV crewman with 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, assigned to CAB through the unit deployment program. "It brings all these different assets into one like no one else can. CAB is a unique blend of military occupational specialties and Marines." The Marines at CAB overcome diversity among themselves and their respective jobs to succeed in their mission, said Staff Sgt. Ericson Ariaga, the CAB training chief and a tank crewman. CAB also plays host to many Marines on the unit deployment program. "There are so many different people from so many different MOSs working together here. Very rarely do you see a tanker and an engineer working together," said Sgt. Robert Stoecker, a CAB combat engineer. "We get to know each other and each others' jobs very well. It's a unique experience working here," he said. Keeping up to par with training standards at a battalion with such a diverse conglomeration of Marines can sometimes be difficult, explained Ariaga. "Training-wise, CAB is very busy. Every Marine has to get trained up on basic Marine skills and also for their job," Ariaga said. "From pistol training to demolitions ranges, we do a little bit of everything." The diverse array of Marines creates familial bonds, said Master Sgt. Joseph Chiaramonte, the CAB logistics chief. "We're a tight knit community here," Chiaramonte said. "We're like one big family."