USMC 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Returns From Deployment

 In Americas, Sea, USA, Forces & Capabilities

The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC)’ 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit returned to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, mark­ing the end of a seven-month deploy­ment to the U.S. 2nd, 5th and 6th Fleets with the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group.

While for­ward deployed aboard the ships of the USS Bataan ARG, the 26th MEU served as a crisis-response force for com­bat­ant com­man­ders in the Europe, Africa and Central com­mands. The 26th MEU sup­port­ed oper­a­tions and engage­ments, con­duct­ed the­ater secu­ri­ty coop­er­a­tion activ­i­ties with bilat­er­al part­ners, and exe­cut­ed sus­tain­ment train­ing to ensure the force was pos­tured and pre­pared to respond to crises and con­tin­gen­cies.

“As a ‘cer­tain force in an uncer­tain world’ the 26th MEU was flex­i­ble, resilient and adapt­able while for­ward deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet and 6th Fleet areas of oper­a­tion,” said Col. Trevor Hall, com­mand­ing offi­cer of the 26th MEU. “This deploy­ment pre­sent­ed unique chal­lenges, but the Navy-Marine Corps team pre­vailed and inces­sant­ly pro­vid­ed our fleet com­man­ders with a respon­sive, sea-based Marine Air-Ground Task Force – even during the global novel coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic.”

Having deployed in December 2019, the 26th MEU was one of the few Marine Corps units for­ward deployed during the COVID-19 epi­dem­ic. As sea­ports and air­ports around the globe closed, the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group with embarked 26th MEU adapt­ed and devel­oped cre­ative ways to main­tain its readi­ness.

While oper­at­ing in the Arabian Gulf, the MAGTF exe­cut­ed non-live fire and live-fire train­ing in remote loca­tions in the United Arab Emirates and on unin­hab­it­ed Saudi Arabian islands. This train­ing pre­served the MEU’s readi­ness – while also reduc­ing COVID-19 expo­sure, which allowed the ARGMEU to remain a COVID-free force for the dura­tion of its seven-month deploy­ment.

Providing com­bat­ant and fleet com­man­ders with sea-based avi­a­tion assets allows for ver­sa­til­i­ty and extends the range of the ARGMEU’s combat radius. In U.S. 6th Fleet, the ARGMEU con­duct­ed inter­op­er­abil­i­ty exer­cis­es with region­al part­ners. UH-1Y Venoms and AH-1W Super Cobras assigned to the MEU’s avi­a­tion combat ele­ment par­tic­i­pat­ed in a live-fire train­ing exer­cise in Bize, Albania, and MV-22B Ospreys con­duct­ed deck land­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions aboard the French Navy ship Mistral while oper­at­ing in the Mediterranean Sea.

The 26th MEU is com­prised of Battalion Landing Team 28, Combat Logistics Battalion 26 and Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365. Marines and Sailors assigned to the 26th MEU deployed aboard the flag­ship Wasp-class amphibi­ous assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), the San Antonio-class amphibi­ous trans­port dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) and the Harpers Ferry-class amphibi­ous dock land­ing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51).

“I am tremen­dous­ly proud of what the Sailors and Marines of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit accom­plished during this deploy­ment, during which our team worked tire­less­ly to remain fully mis­sion ready during the unprece­dent­ed chal­lenge of a global pan­dem­ic,” said Capt. Lance Lesher, who served as com­man­der of the ARG through its pre-deploy­ment cycle and deploy­ment until July 12, 2020.

There are more than 4,000 Sailors and Marines across the Bataan ARGMEU of which approx­i­mate­ly 2,000 were a part of the 26th MEU.

ARGMEUs oper­ate con­tin­u­ous­ly across the globe and pro­vide the geo­graph­ic com­bat­ant com­man­ders with a flex­i­ble, crisis-response force. The blue-green team is fully capa­ble of con­duct­ing oper­a­tions across a full spec­trum of con­ven­tion­al, uncon­ven­tion­al and hybrid war­fare.

DefPost source|articles

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