Echo Co. honors past with Easy designation

3 Jan 2002 | Staff Sgt. Bryan P. Reed

One of the many things that makes the Marine Corps great is the pride Marines take in the Corps' strong tradition and heritage. The Corps has established a standard of excellence based on its history of achievement. A taste for success is continually renewed in individual Marines as their memory of the past drives them to achieve new success.

The Marines Corps is made up of many parts, with each doing its best to fill the biggest pair of combat boots in the world and following the footsteps of the Marines that passed those boots down to them

Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Bn., 2nd Marines is a part of that tradition and heritage, but something has been amiss. Echo Company's original "nom de guerre" during the World War II Battle for Tarawa, was "Easy Company" and the unit's current Marines felt a need to establish a link to that history.

Steps have been taken, however informally, to address this situation. The Marines of the current Echo Company have recently been given the green light by the Battalion Landing Team Commander, Lt. Col. Walter L. Miller Jr., to refer to their company once again, in all but official matters, as Easy Company.

1st Sergeant Ronald P. Andryshak from Goshen, N.Y., spoke about how this came to pass.

"We had a mess night on July first. Our guest of honor was Robert Schultz. He was one of the original Easy Company 2/2 Marines that made the initial landing on Tarawa in 1943," said Andryshak. "During that mess night, Lt. Col. Miller re-designated our unit with that name."

A mess night is a formal night of dining in which Marines get together to celebrate history and tradition and to celebrate the unit's camaraderie and 'esprit de corps."

"We wanted to preserve our heritage and this was one way of doing so," said Andryshak.

Robert Schultz was a 60 mm mortarman for Easy Company when things weren't quite so easy at all. Over the years, "Easy" became "Echo" and something hard has gotten a little easier, at least where the deployment schedule is concerned, as Andryshak points out. "Mr. Schultz was a private and spent two years overseas during WW II, where today our deployment schedule rotates out every six moths.

Marines draw strength from their history, and the new Easy Company was bolstered in recalling its history while competing in a field meet the day after the re-designation. At the event Company "E" claimed victory and took home a sledgehammer as a trophy.

"The sledgehammer has been passed around the battalion four times in the three years that I've been here." "When the BLT commander handed us the trophy he said 'Here you go Easy Company,'" said Andryshak. "It was awesome because since I've been here, the Marines have worked very hard to receive an 'oorah' award. It's definitely an outstanding feeling."

To be able to unofficially refer to themselves, as Easy Company has been a powerful way to remember, take pride in, and draw strength from the company's heritage. And that will no doubt propel the unit to further success.