CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Approximately 200 Marines and sailors from 2nd Force Service Support Group departed here Feb. 14 as part of a previously announced deployment of nearly 4,000 Marines to the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility.
The group will join other service members from 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Transportation Support Battalion, 2nd Maintenance Battalion, 8th Engineer Support Battalion and 2nd Military Police Battalion already staged in the area. The units most recently took part in what Gen. Michael W. Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, called the "biggest maritime prepositioning ship offload in history."
The Marines and sailors worked with service members from 1st FSSG, 1st Marine Division and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, all with I Marine Expeditionary Force, to unload gear and equipment vital to anticipated missions. The units worked around the clock, seven days a week, and took only 432 hours to complete the expected 504-hour operation, according to a story by Master Sgt. Bob Beyer, a combat correspondent with I MEF.
Marines with 2nd Marine Division continue to leave the Carolina coast in small groups deploying to the Persian Gulf. Members of the 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion and 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion are joining I MEF, headquartered in Kuwait since late November. The 2nd Division Marines are training with their I MEF counterparts in preparation to assist them with missions during a possible war with Iraq.
Seven ships carrying approximately 7,000 Marines and sailors with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade transited the Suez Canal Feb. 4. The unit is now in Kuwait.
The contingency left Onslow Beach, N.C., early in January with members of 2nd and 8th Marine Regiments, Marine Aircraft Group-29, Combat Service Support Group-222 and many others.
2nd MEB is equipped, configured and trained to operate independently, as a service component, or to lead a joint task force. It provides the II MEF commanding general with the ability to rapidly respond to small-scale contingencies within six hours to influence an area the size of Connecticut and support a small city of 10,000.
A contingency of about 250 Marines and sailors from 2nd Marine Division units, including Headquarters Battalion and 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, is headquartered aboard the USS Mount Whitney and supporting Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. Led by Major Gen. John Sattler, the group left here in November with the principle mission to detect, disrupt and defeat transitional terrorist groups in the region and support coalition partner efforts to deny the opportunity for re-emergence of terrorist networks. Additionally, the force is participating in numerous humanitarian assistance missions throughout the Horn of Africa. The unit recently seized an opportunity to distribute donated used furniture, toys and books to local civilians there. The donations primarily came from U.S. military organizations.
The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit with a group of about 2,200 Marine and Navy personnel was extended on station in the gulf region and could play a role in a war with Iraq. The unit consists of military members from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-263, MEU Service Support Group-24 and Amphibious Squadron-2. Colonel Richard Mills, 24th MEU commander, said he expects the extension to last for six weeks beyond the originally scheduled March 15 return, according to a story by Christian Lowe, Marine Times staff writer.