U.S. Marines and Navy sailors with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit are scheduled to leave area bases later this week and begin their scheduled eight-month deployment with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group.
About 2,400 military personnel with the MEU will depart Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point and New River over the next week to deploy to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility, according to a release from the Marine Corps. The MEU will serve as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions.
A MEU is considered America’s 911 force, according to the release. The deployed unit is ready to respond to a variety of crises, from full-scale combat missions to humanitarian assistance.
A MEU consists of command, ground combat, aviation combat and combat logistics personnel, according to the release. The 22nd MEU is made up of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 from New River, reinforced with an AV-8B Harrier detachment from Cherry Point, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment out of Camp Lejeune, which includes various attachments of artillery, reconnaissance, assault amphibious vehicles, and other support units, and Combat Logistics Battalion 22 out of Camp Lejeune. They are deployed on the ships of Amphibious Squadron 6, which includes the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan; the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde; and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall.
The 22nd MEU last deployed from March 2011 to February 2012. During that deployment, the MEU supported combat operations in Libya and participated in numerous training exercises and security cooperation events with partnered countries throughout the Middle East and Djibouti, Africa, according to the release. In the Mediterranean, the MEU participated in liberty port calls in Italy, Romania, Turkey, Greece and Spain.
The 22nd MEU began pre-deployment training, conducting numerous land-based exercises and three at-sea periods with its Navy counterparts, according to the release. Pre-deployment training ended in December with the Composite Training Unit Exercise, which included numerous day and night raid exercises, practicing shipboard operations and large-scale exercises that involved every element of the MEU.