Cherry Point Marines return home from nine-month deployment

Published: Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 05:10 PM.

The homecoming of the 80 Marines was part of two separate returns of nearly 140 Marines serving with Marine Attack Squadron 231 and Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467, who returned Sunday.

The 26th MEU sailed through the Mediterranean Sea where they conducted port visits to Limassol, Cyprus, Souda Bay, Crete and Corfu, Greece. On April 12, the MEU sailed through the Suez Canal and into the 5th Fleet area of responsibility, which includes the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Arabian Sea, according to a press release.

The MEU served as the U.S. Central Command crisis response force, responsible for a range of contingency planning and operations. In addition, the Marines and sailors teamed up with foreign militaries during Theater Security Cooperation exercises in Oman, Qatar, and Jordan throughout the deployment.

The returning Marines were part of more than 2,200 Marines and sailors assigned to 26th MEU. VMA 231 is of three operational Marine Corps fixed-wing attack squadrons based out of Cherry Point that fly the AV-8B Harrier. The deployment was aboard the ships of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group. The squadron was commanded by Lt. Col. Michael P. Quinto.

Eddie Fitzgerald is a reporter with the Sun Journal.

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