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February 14th, 2013
December 17th, 2012
OFF THE COAST OF CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit has returned to the U.S. after completing nearly nine months deployed as an expeditionary crisis response force with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group.
Approximately 2,300 Marines and Sailors of the 24th MEU will be offloading over the next few days from amphibious assault ships USS Iwo Jima, USS New York and USS Gunston Hall, using Navy hovercrafts at Onslow Beach, by flying in with their own aircraft and by using the Morehead City Port facility.
The 24th MEU left in March to serve throughout the U.S. European, Central and Africa Commands where they participated in a number of exercises, theater security cooperation engagements, and remained on alert for a total of approximately 150 days to respond to a number of crises.
“Our Marines and Sailors have done a fantastic job demonstrating what it means to be a forward-deployed, expeditionary force ready to answer the Nation’s call,” said Col. Frank Donovan, commanding officer, 24th MEU.
Their presence throughout the various operating areas provided decision space for combatant commanders and senior leaders knowing the 24th MEU’s Marine Air Ground Task Force was postured and trained to respond to a variety of missions, said Donovan.
The unit was due home in November but was delayed while serving in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility and remained in an alert status in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Delays and changes in deployment timelines are common for MEUs, with the past two East Coast MEUs also participating in extended deployments.
Even after being extended just as they were supposed to be heading home in November, the Marines and Sailors remained focused and ready, explained Donovan.
“Our young Marines and Sailors were true professionals throughout the entire deployment. After notification of our extension they buckled down and pushed forward. They are truly incredible and I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Donovan.
Even though they missed Thanksgiving the 24th MEU is returning just in time for the rest of the holiday season, which many of their families are thankful for.
“Our families and friends are absolutely amazing. Their support and dedication on the home front allows us to stay focused on the mission and I cannot thank them enough,” said Donovan.
During the extended deployment the Navy-Marine Corps team participated in a variety of missions, with some of the most significant listed below –
The various units of 24th MEU will be returning to Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station New River, and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, which are all in eastern N.C.
The 24th MEU is made up of the following major elements: 24th MEU Command Element; Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; Combat Logistics Battalion 24; Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (Reinforced).
More information about a Marine Expeditionary Unit is below.
To gather more information and imagery/b-roll about these events and more from 24th MEU’s deployment please visit –
If Media are interested in covering offload and homecoming events contact the following:
Points of Contact and RSVP info: Respond to all of the following POC’s listed below –
Capt Robert Shuford – 24th MEU Public Affairs Officer
Capt Binford Strickland – II Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs Officer
2ndLt Joshua Larson – 24th MEU Public Affairs Officer
Background Information on Marine Expeditionary Units
The Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) is the smallest of the MAGTFs and is comprised of about 2,300 Marines and Sailors. The MEU’s major elements are the Command Element (CE), the Ground Combat Element (GCE), the Aviation Combat Element (ACE), and the Logistics Combat Element (LCE).
The CE is comprised of the commanding officer and supporting staff – about 300 Marines and Sailors. It provides the overall command and control essential for effective planning and execution of operations and synchronizes the actions of each element within the MEU. Skill sets falling under the command element include administration, intelligence, operations, logistics and embarkation, communications, legal and public affairs.
The GCE, about 1,200 strong, is built around an infantry battalion and provides the overland combat power and preponderance of the force for the MEU. Assets inherent within the standard infantry battalion include medium and heavy machine guns, mortars, combined anti-armor teams (CAAT) and scout snipers. While assigned to the MEU, the unit is designated as a Battalion Landing Team (BLT), reinforced with light armored reconnaissance vehicles (LAV), tanks, artillery, combat engineers and assault amphibian vehicles (AAV).
The ACE is a composite squadron that provides the MEU medium to heavy lift capability, assault support and close air support (CAS). Its assets include MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, CH-53E Super Stallion heavy lift helicopters, AH-1 Super Cobra helicopter gunships, UH-1 Huey utility helicopters and AV-8B Harrier jump jets. With a force strength of approximately 500, the ACE includes air traffic control, aircraft maintenance/support and aviation logistics/supply capabilities.
The LCE, about 3000 Marines and Sailors strong, provides combat support such as supply; maintenance; transportation; explosive ordnance disposal; military police; water production and distribution; engineering; medical and dental services; fuel storage and distribution; and other services to the deployed MEU. The LCE gives the MEU the ability to support itself without external support in austere expeditionary environments.
These forces deploy aboard three U.S. Navy amphibious assault ships called an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) that allow this expeditionary crisis response force to maneuver as a Navy-Marine Corps team anywhere in the world to project force where needed.
Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/99374/24th-marine-expeditionary-unit-returns-deployment#.UM8FJeQ8CSp#ixzz2FJCUWODpTags: 24th marine expeditionary unit, 24th meu, ABOARD, aircraft, Amphibious, amphibious assault, amphibious assault ship, amphibious assault ships, amphibious ready group, battalion landing team, camp lejeune, capability, central command, combat element, combatant, combination, Command, Commanding, commanding officer, commitment, Communication, Contact, Control, Corps, Expeditionary, FAMILIES, FIGHTING, fire, fleet, formation, friends, fuel, Ground, Gunston, Hall, helicopter, home, info, Intelligence, iron, job, landing, Main, Maine, Mar, March, Marine, marine regiment, marines, MEU, mil, mission, MV, N.C., Naval, naval ship, Navy, New York, News, November, Operations, Osprey, Participate, Port, Post, presence, public, public affairs office, rotor aircraft, sail, sailors, sea, Security, security cooperation, squadron, Station, Strength, support, system, Training, transport, United, United States, USS, uss gunston hall, uss iwo jima, USS New York, World