15th MEU returns from 7-month deployment

14 Dec 2015 | Courtesy Story The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Elements of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit will begin returning to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif. and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. throughout the weekend from a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Central Command areas of responsibility. 

While deployed, the MEU participated in more than 15 different theater security cooperation or bi-lateral exercises including combined arms and desert survival training with French forces in Djibouti, the Malaysia-US Amphibious Exercise, Combined Afloat Readiness and Training in Brunei, and more than 12 subject matter expert exchanges with partner nations throughout the Middle East. Notably, those exchanges included the MEU’s Female Engagement Team training with their counterparts in the Qatari Internal Security Forces.

In addition to the TSC exercises, the MEU maintained its combat readiness throughout deployment by executing sustainment training in Kuwait, Djibouti, and Jordan. While executing sustainment training in Kuwait, the MEU was also flying in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. The MEU’s aviation combat element flew 76 sorties and 500 combat flight hours that resulted in 36 strikes against Da’esh positions, equipment, and personnel. In June, the USS Rushmore and embarked Marines rescued a group of Indonesian sailors from a sinking vessel in the Sulawesi Strait.

“The 15th MEU’s success over the last fifteen months, from composite to returning to home port, is due to the discipline, hard work, dedication, and sacrifices of the young men and women who chose to give of themselves for their families, their friends, their fellow Marines and their nation,” said Marine Col. Vance L. Cryer, commanding officer, 15th MEU.

The aviation combat element was also tasked to support two presidential visits, one in Kenya and the other in Manila. During the support to President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya, the MEU was simultaneously executing sustainment training in Djibouti, preparing to send a company of Marines into Jordan, and supporting maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf. All told, the MEU was spread over three continents conducting split operations for much of its time deployed. 

“The ability of the MEU to execute three different mission sets across two different combatant commands hundreds to thousands of miles apart demonstrates the ability of forward deployed naval forces to project power across the range of military operations,” said Cryer. 

The 15th MEU is a forward deployed, flexible, sea-based Marine air-ground task force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations, in order to support the theater requirements of geographic combatant commanders. 

For more information, contact the 15th MEU Public Affairs Office: brian.block@usmc.mil or (760) 846-1320.