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Col. Joseph Clearfield, the commanding officer of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, thanks the Marines and Sailors of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (Reinforced) for their professionalism and dedication throughout the deployment, March 5, 2018. The 15th MEU is one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units currently in existence in the United States Marine Corps. The MEU's mission is to provide a rapid-response force capable of conducting conventional amphibious and maritime operations from sea, surface or air.

Photo by Master Sgt. Theresa Seng

15th MEU Decomposites, subordinate elements return to parent commands

7 Mar 2018 | Courtesy Story 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

After returning from a seven-month deployment operating in multiple locations around the globe in support of Fleet and combatant commanders, the Marines and Sailors of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit officially decomposited and returned back to their respective parent commands in California and Arizona, March 7, 2018.

In lieu of a ceremony, the 15th MEU commanding officer and sergeant major visited each Major Subordinate Element to personally thank them for all their contributions throughout the successful deployment.

“You are all warriors, and you carried yourselves as true professionals. You set the mark high for follow-on units to emulate," said Col. Joseph Clearfield, commanding officer of the 15th MEU as he addressed the Marines and Sailors of Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. 

The America Amphibious Ready Group and 15th MEU participated in 16 exercises to sustain readiness and worked side by side with the Nations’ partners and allies, which strengthened partnerships and increased combat readiness, amphibious and crisis-response capabilities, and communication between U.S. and partner nation forces. 

"I hope your personal and professional satisfaction is high after this deployment," said Clearfield while speaking to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (Reinforced). "Know that you did it correctly. You're the (3rd Marine Air Wing) squadron of the year, and you know what right looks like. We did what we set out to do, and what we did made a difference in the world. I hope you can keep the ‘lightning in the bottle’ and carry it with you. The command is so proud of you."

During the deployment, more than 4,500 Sailors and Marines of the America ARG and embarked 15th MEU conducted maritime security operations, and multiple military-to-military exchanges with partner nations in support of regional security, stability, and the free flow of maritime commerce in the Indo-Pacific and Middle East regions. The 15th MEU also contributed logistics and aviation support for Operation INHERENT RESOLVE (OIR) in Iraq.

"I asked, at times I demanded, and you all delivered,” said Sgt. Maj. Dennis Campbell, sergeant major of the 15th MEU, as he was speaking to the Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 15. “Keep your chin up and walk with confidence, you are the subject matter experts, take that to your new units.”

Congratulating each MSE for its invaluable dependability and skill sets they provided for the 15th MEU is the final chapter as their Western Pacific 17-2 deployment comes to a close. 

The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit consists of the Command Element; the Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (Reinforced); the Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 1/5; and the Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 15. 
The 15th MEU was embarked aboard the America Amphibious Ready Group. The America ARG consists of Commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 3, the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD 22), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52).

The MEU command element is all that remains after the other elements return to their home units. The command element works as an extension of I Marine Expeditionary Force until it goes composites again and begins preparation for its next deployment.

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