24th Marine Expeditionary Unit returns from deployment

December 17th, 2012

Filed under: News — admin @ 6:55 am

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 –
- Served as a ready crisis response force capable of missions such as embassy reinforcement, evacuation operations, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance and full-scale combat.
- Participated in Exercise African Lion 12 in Morocco, the largest bilateral training exercise in U.S. Africa Command.
- Participated in Exercise Eager Lion 12 in Jordan, the largest multi-lateral training exercise in U.S. Central Command.
- Participated in bilateral training with French military in Djibouti.
- Initiated Traveling Contact Teams that provided training cadres to support training missions in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda with host nation militaries.
- Established partnerships with Jordanian Marines in southern Jordan that lead to creating an Advanced Force Base where Marines trained with Jordanians in austere, rugged environments.
- Hosted distinguished visitor receptions aboard ship for senior U.S. and foreign civilian and military leaders in Spain, Morocco, Albania, Italy, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
- Sustainment training in Kuwait that consisted of a variety of live-fire ranges with various weapons systems.
- Small unit infantry leader training in the desert mountains of Djibouti.
- This was the first operational deployment for the amphibious assault ship USS New York.

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
Email –
Phone – After 8 a.m. on Dec. 16 – 910-467-3324

Capt Binford Strickland – II Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs Officer
Email –
Phone – 910-451-7200

2ndLt Joshua Larson – 24th MEU Public Affairs Officer
Email –
Sgt. Richard Blumenstein

Background Information on Marine Expeditionary Units
Since its beginning in 1775, the United States Marine Corps has deployed forces aboard U.S. Naval shipping with the ability to move ashore with sufficient sustainability for prolonged operations to respond to a variety of missions, from full-scale combat to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. These forces have been organized into Marine Air Ground Task Forces (MAGTF) – a combination of air, ground, and support assets. MAGTFs are established for specific missions, or in anticipation of a wide range of possible missions. Combining air, ground, and logistic assets maximizes the combat power of each of the war fighting elements.
MAGTFs have long provided the United States with a broad spectrum of crisis response options when U.S. and allied interests have been threatened and in non-combat situations which require instant response. Selective, timely and credible commitment of air-ground units have, on many occasions, helped bring stability to a region and sent signals worldwide to aggressors that the United States is willing to defend its interests, and is able to do so with a significantly powerful force on extremely short notice.

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.

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USS New York Commemorates 9/11 on Maiden Deployment

September 12th, 2012

Filed under: News — admin @ 7:59 am

NNS120911-19. USS New York Commemorates 9/11 on Maiden Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zane Ecklund, USS New York Public Affairs

USS NEW YORK, At Sea (NNS) — USS New York (LPD 21) Sailors and Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) held a remembrance ceremony honoring the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks while on the ship’s maiden deployment, Sept. 11.

Commanding Officer Capt. Jon Kreitz addressed the crew with his remarks about the significance of the events and America’s response to such tragedies.

“Sept. 11 was a day that changed each of us and our lives forever,” said Kreitz. “In the heroism shown that day, we were reminded that we are a great nation, one where ordinary Americans performed extraordinary acts in the face of evil and enemies.”

Other events included a choral rendition of the national anthem, a rifle salute and a reenlistment ceremony. Damage Controlman 2nd Class David Dubis chose the day to continue his military service while honoring the fallen New York firefighters of Department 343. He said the oath of enlistment dressed out in a firefighting ensemble while breathing air from a self-contained breathing apparatus.

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to re-enlist on a ship built with steel from the Twin Towers, and on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks,” said Dubis. “It’s an honor to keep protecting my country against terrorism, and to remember people who gave their lives doing the same job I do.”

The occasion was especially significant for the Sailors and Marines who hail from the state of New York. Staff Sgt. Dela Tsawo of Brooklyn, N.Y., conveyed his appreciation of the significance of New York and her crew’s mission.

“Sept. 11 was a tragedy, but at the same time it was an experience that unfortunately will never be forgotten,” said Tsawo. “Being part of [USS] New York’s history and maiden deployment has been a great honor.”

New York is part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group with the embarked 24th MEU. New York is currently on her maiden deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. The USS New York is the sixth ship named for the state of New York, and the fifth amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio Class. Her motto is “Strength forged through sacrifice. Never forget.”

\"USS New York Commemorates 9/11\"

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24th Marine Expeditionary Unit wraps up Eager Lion 12

June 9th, 2012

Filed under: News — admin @ 7:03 am

AQABA, Jordan – The Gulf of Aqaba was busy again as ships from the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group shared the water and parked pier-side at the Royal Jordanian Naval Base May 28 to June 5.

Seaman David Poole, a deck seaman with the USS New York, provides overwatch as a Navy Landing Craft Air-Cushion (LCAC) carries Marines and equipment from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard USS New York

Although the area around Aqaba is plush with sandy beaches, picturesque sunsets and some of the world’s greatest scuba diving, the USS Iwo Jima, New York and Gunston Hall were not here to pick up tourists. They were here to embark approximately 1,000 Marines of the 2,300-strong 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which assembled at the port after a month of austere living conditions in the Kingdom of Jordan’s interior desert region during Exercise Eager Lion 12.

The 24th MEU arrived in Jordan the first week of May to participate in Eager Lion, the largest exercise in the U.S. Central Command area of operations and worked with a number of nation’s militaries throughout Jordan. The exercise focused on irregular-warfare-themed events designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships of over 19 participating nations and 11,000 personnel.

“Theater security events like Eager Lion give us a chance to get off the ship and use some training space, but more importantly it’s a chance to partner with a nation and share capabilities,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Adams, the executive officer of the 24th MEU. “Jordan is definitely one of our strongest allies in the region so, from that perspective, it’s certainly important to continue to build ties.”

Marines with the combat cargo department assist Alpha Company Marines load their Assault Amphibious Vehicles aboard USS New York after the conclusion of Exercise Eager Lion 12 May 30.

Media headlines around the world continually attempted to tie the exercise to real-world events throughout the Middle East region, focusing on American strategic implications even though the exercise has been in the planning process for three years.

But the 24th MEU Marines concerned themselves with two things; realistic training and strengthening partnerships.

“The Jordanians were great to the Marines. They sat down together during breaks, drank chai with them, and traded stuff back and forth. They actually taught the Marines a lot of Arabic and had good times,” said Staff Sgt. Derek Brossman, the 24th MEU Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense chief. “My Marines have no qualms about working with Jordanians at any given time.”

Indeed, this is a large part of the mission of the North Carolina-based 24th MEU, currently on a scheduled eight-month deployment throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. They travel the world’s seaways as a theater reserve and crisis response force, capable of a wide array of missions from full-scale combat operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

And they can do it all in the same day.

Marines with the combat cargo department assist Alpha Company Marines load their Assault Amphibious Vehicles aboard USS New York

True to form, the Marines took part in a vast range of events during Eager Lion. Some of the first bilateral training, as early as May 8, involved U.S. and Jordanian snipers and reconnaissance Marines firing suppressed rifles and .45 caliber pistols side-by-side. In another scenario, the 24th MEU’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear response team worked hand-in-hand with Jordanian incident response forces during a chemical spill scenario. And one of the MEU’s final missions consisted of evacuating personnel during a simulated noncombatant evacuation operation.

But the Marines didn’t forget to bring plenty of conventional firepower to Jordan as well. The sounds of machine guns, tanks and artillery rattled the earth in the training area around Jabal Petra throughout the month, where Jordanians and Marines from the 24th MEU’s ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, teamed with several different nations including Lebanon, Italy and Saudi Arabia.

Marines with the combat cargo department assist Alpha Company Marines load their Assault Amphibious Vehicles aboard USS New York after the conclusion of Exercise Eager Lion 12 May 30.

“On several occasions, we sent Marines from the battery over to the Jordan artillery unit to cross-train with them,” said 1st Lt. Sean Sullivan, the executive officer of India Battery, BLT 1/2, the artillery attachment from 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment. “The Marines enjoyed working with another military and different weapons than they’re used to. They traded patches and rank insignia and even attached a Jordanian and American flag to an expended mortar tail charge assembly and presented it to them as a gift.”

The MEU also showcased firepower from above as its air combat element from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (Reinforced) flew missions with MV-22 Ospreys, CH-53 Super Stallion helicopters, AH-1W Cobras and UH-1N Hueys. There were even partnered flights where Jordanian and Marine pilots flew next to each other in the skies above the Jordanian desert.

Another highlight of Eager Lion was a consequence management scenario, which not only consisted of Marines and Jordanians, but U.S. soldiers as well.

The purpose was for the Marines to learn how to use the Jordanians equipment, and vice-versa, so that both forces have a better chance at operability in potential future operations, explained Brossman.

As decision makers in the U.S. continue to highlight special operations capabilities, it is only fitting that those 24th MEU Marines designed for special missions were a significant part of the exercise.

Even at the BLT level, reconnaissance Marines used Eager Lion to maintain their own proficiency as well as partner with a new and upcoming reconnaissance unit from the Jordanian 77th Marine Battalion.

Reconnaissance Marines at the BLT level go forward of the unit and break down the battlefield, or area of operations, to send back information like enemy strengths, weaknesses and estimated firepower so that it can be turned into intelligence for the commander, explained Cpl. Jesse Kimble, a reconnaissance scout with BLT 1/2.

“With our Jordanian team, we covered basic equipment use, basic formations and patrols, security of patrols and observation posts. We also discussed hides – how to set them up and take pictures from them using various observation techniques,” he said.

The 24th MEU’s Maritime Raid Force, built around Force Reconnaissance Marines from 2nd Force Reconnaissance Battalion from Camp Lejeune, N.C., played a large role as well as they joined with Jordanians, Italians and Lebanese to talk sniper rifles, fast ropes, ship takedowns, ordnance disposal and even counterintelligence.

In fact, the MRF contains the assets to take on many of the same missions as other, perhaps better known, special operations forces operators from the Army and Navy. The difference is they do it specifically for a task force commander or in this case, the MEU commander, explained Staff Sgt. Zachary Burghart, an MRF team leader.

On top of that, having the 24th MEU and the Iwo Jima ARG nearby allows the Marines the necessary support to sustain indefinitely and provide a quick reaction force should the MRF need more fire in a fight.

Support from the sea and the ability to sustain itself ashore is not only essential to tactical operators like the MRF – it’s essential to any operation and may be the 24th MEU’s most unique capability of all.

While a MEU’s ground and air components are usually highlighted in events such as these, none of it could happen without the hundreds of men and women behind the scenes as part of Combat Logistics Battalion 24, the 24th MEU’s combat logistics element. These Marines, approximately 300 in all, spend most of their time just as tired, dirty and sweaty as any other, and while it’s sometimes easy to forget them, their efforts are not unnoticed by their fellow Marines and sailors in the 24th MEU.

Indeed, a simple list of statistics during Eager Lion proves the importance of this warfighting asset.

The CLB’s Motor Transport Platoon alone drove over 13,000 miles during the month-long exercise, transporting a total of 1,500 Marines and over 2.2 million pounds of cargo. Perhaps more amazing is that its engineer section produced all but a fraction of the entire 24th MEU’s water supply – 65,000 gallons worth! – using their own tactical water purifying equipment.

The 24th MEU commander, Col. Frank Donovan, explained these types of exercises as key to the future success of the MEU if called on to participate in a real-world crisis.

“Executing Eager Lion from the sea gave us the opportunity to maximize our ship-to-objective maneuver, employ expeditionary logistics, and learn from our partnered forces. Our Marines and sailors learned how to work alongside other nation’s militaries and how to fuse our efforts in support of coalition mission accomplishment. We sail better prepared for the missions ahead based on our time spent participating in Eager Lion,” said Donovan.

Eager Lion is currently described as a recurring exercise to increase interoperability and strengthen military-to-military relationships through a joint, whole-of-government, multinational approach to future complex national security challenges. It was the second such event for the 24th MEU who, partnered with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, is currently deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations as a theater reserve and crisis response force.

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The future USS New York LPD-21 under construction at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems’ shipyard in Avondale, LA, will be the fifth amphibious transport dock of the San Antonio class. The ship was named New York after the state and incorporates in its construction steel salvaged from the World Trade Centers. Her ship motto is "Never Forget." "We're very proud that the twisted steel from the WTC towers will soon be used to forge an even stronger national defense," New York Gov. George Pataki spoke in 2002. "The USS New York will soon be defending freedom and combating terrorism around the globe, while also ensuring that the world never forgets the evil attacks of Sept. 11 and the courage and strength New Yorkers showed.” This will be the seventh U.S. ship named New York.

The purpose of this website is to provide information and news about the USS New York (LPD 21) to the general public. All information on this site is considered public information and may be distributed or copied unless otherwise specified. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credits is requested. All logos and trademarks are owned by their respective organizations and used with their courtesy. US Navy US Marines US Coast Guard US Army US Air Force

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