Marines Ready for Deployment to Afghanistan
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Mar. 25, 2004 Some 2,200 Marines and sailors of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit will follow long-established plans and deploy shortly to Afghanistan, Joint Staff officials said here today.
The unit, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., left home Feb. 18 and exercised in Albania. The unit will deploy to Afghanistan and aid other coalition forces there to deny sanctuary to terrorists and to capture or kill al Qaeda or Taliban members.
The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit is capable of special operations. It includes the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines; Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 (Reinforced); and Service Support Group 22.
The 22nd MEU currently is aboard the USS Wasp, the USS Whidbey Island and the USS Shreveport in the Persian Gulf.
About 13,000 American service members are in Afghanistan. The Marines from the MEU will join some 2,000 Marines already in the country. Officials would not say how long the deployment will last, but the typical duration for a MEU deployment is six months.