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2,000 Marines from Southern California deploy to the Middle East as crisis response force

Units from Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Expeditionary Force have deployed to the Middle East, base officials announced on Monday, June 1.

Four elements of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit are now in Kuwait and will operate under U.S. Central Command, which oversee U.S. military in the Middle East. They will operate as a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response-Central Command.

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That means there are units that have both ground, air and logistics capabilities that can respond to a variety of needs in the Middle East.

“At any given moment we may be working with partner nation forces to advance our relationships, assisting the U.S. Department of State in reinforcing an embassy’s security posture, or enhancing naval integration opportunities with the U.S. Navy aboard shipslike the U.S.S. Lewis B. Puller,” said Capt. Joshua Hays, who is with the units in Kuwait.

In all, the deployment includes about 2,000 Marines and sailors. About 200 will make up the task force’s command element, which plans and executes operations during a mission.

They will be joined by another about 1,500 Marines and sailors from the 2nd Battalion/5th Marines, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron-166, and Combat Logistics Detachment-25.

The 13th MEU replaces another Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response.  In January, about 100 of those Marines were dispatched after Iraqi protesters attempted to storm the Baghdad embassy.

That force is heading home and the Marines and sailors who have just arrived have spent hours going over equipment and maintenance.

“It is hot and dusty, and for many, this is either their first deployment or their first deployment to the Middle East and a new experience,” Hays said. “Their pre-deployment training has prepared all of us to be ready and resilient for any situation. We are incredibly proud of their commitment to serve our great nation.”

The deployment was delayed by adjustments made by the Department of Defense Stop Movement Order.

During that delay the units kept training for the mission at Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

All of the Marines and sailors underwent a two-week “Restriction of Movement” period prior to beginning their crisis response mission.


Source: Orange County Register

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