2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade
Task Force Tarawa
In November of 1999, the CG of II MEF activated the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade as a command element. Larger than a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), the MEB is uniquely qualified for sustained combat operations and can project offensive combat power ashore and remain self-sustaining without external support for a period of up to 60 days.
The MEB concept has been around since the 1950s. With service in the Korean War, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the robust and scalable command and control capability and combat effectiveness of the MEB is unquestioned. Eliminated Marine Corps-wide in the early 1990s, a MEB was activated within each MEF as of January 1, 2000.
Scaleable, flexible and lethal across the spectrum of conflict, the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) serves as the Marine Corps and the II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) "middleweight" crises response force of choice in the European and Southern Command Areas of Operation.
Equipped, configured and trained to operate independently, as a service component, or to lead a Joint Task Force, the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade offers unified combatant commanders a wide array of extraordinary options and capabilities. With elements forward deployed as Marine Expeditionary Unit/MEB (Fwd), a 2000-3000 man Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF), the MEB provides the Commanding General II MEF, and the supported CINC, the ability to rapidly respond to small-scale contingencies within 6 hours to influence an area the size of Connecticut and support a small city of 10,000.
Able to rapidly reinforce with the Alert Contingency MAGTF (ACM), or to use the ACM as the lead echelon of the full Brigade, the MEB can grow from a task organized / balanced Air /Ground/Logistics response force of 3,000 up to 20,000 Marines.
Able to deploy by a wide variety of means, to include: Amphibious Shipping, Maritime Pre-positioned Forces, and Strategic Air, or any combination, the 2d MEB can be positioned and ready to fight within 5-14 days. Assuming an austere environment with no infrastructure, ports, railheads, airfields or services, the Marine Brigade is immediately able to conduct forcible entry or sustained combat operations, robust combat service support, Joint Force Enabling and/ or independent operations.
With organic (Rotary and Fixed Wing) Tactical Air capable of operating out of existing air hubs or from Expeditionary Airfields (EAF) established rapidly with organic assets, the Brigade is fully capable of conducting Offensive Air Support (OAS), both deep (DAS) and close (CAS), Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Assault Support, Aerial Reconnaissance, Control of Aircraft and Missiles, and Electronic Countermeasures (ECM).
Self sufficient and interoperable, the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade possesses extraordinary Command and Control, overwhelming combat power and unmatched operational reach. These capabilities afford the Brigade Commander the ability to sustain his force of 20,000 Marines, influence an area the size of West Virginia, and support a city of 30,000-50,000 souls without dependence on host nation support or regional infrastructure. The 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Commanded is ready and able to rapidly respond to any crises, anywhere, anytime.
As a sustainable combined arms team, 2d MEB can make a forcible entry into foreign soil, perform sustained operations, increase combat support functionality, perform independent operations, and is a joint force enabler. Capable of employing as many as 20,000 Marines and Sailors, 2d MEB is assuredly a force to be reckoned with.
In July 2001 Marines of the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade welcomed their new commander, Maj. Gen. John F. Goodman at a ceremony in front of Julian C. Smith Hall here where he took command of the Brigade from Maj. Gen. (select) Robert M. Flanagan. Flanagan was the first commanding general of the 2d MEB when it was activated November 10, 1999. He commanded the 2d MEB's first domestic training exercise in June, 2000, along with the Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division who came to Camp Lejeune to participate in Purple Dragon.
Though the Brigade traces is lineage back to the 2d Marine Brigade that defended American lives and property in Shanghai, China, back in 1937, the 2d MEB is a new creation. Touted as the expeditionary "force of choice" by both the incoming and outgoing commanders, the 2d MEB is a newly-formed Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) that can vary in size from about four thousand to 17,000 Marines and Sailors, depending on the mission requirements.
With more force and firepower than is usually seen assaulting the beaches of Camp Lejeune, the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, led by Maj. Gen. John F. Goodman, thundered ashore in August 2001, hitting Onslow Beach, practicing their ability to assault a hostile shore as part of Exercise Assured Alligator. The 2d MEB was aboard the four U.S. Navy ships of Amphibious Group-2 (PHIBGRU 2) off the coast of Eastern North Carolina and Virginia as part of their training.
Marine infantry battalions from 8th Marine Regiment, along with 3d Battalion, 10th Marines, were brought to the beach in Marine CH-46 and CH-53 helicopters and on air-cushioned landing craft (LCACs) and utility landing craft (LCUs). To support the more than two thousand troops ashore, the 2d MEB's tanks, armored vehicles, bridges, boats and artillery pieces augmented the substantial Marine presence ashore. With landing zones first pounded by over a hundred rounds of simulated naval gunfire and simulated bombs from 40 real-life Marine jet sorties, the regimental landing force stormed the beach in traditional Marine Corps style. I'm extremely proud of what our Marines and Sailors have demonstrated here today, said Goodman. The MEB clearly demonstrated to our allies, and to our enemies as well, that the MEB is indeed America's premier crisis response force. Teaming with the Navy, we've shown how we decisively employ lethal combined arms from the sea.
The MEB's amphibious assault included support from the engineers as bridges were built across the Intracoastal Waterway for mechanized troops to cross over. Squadrons from Marine Aircraft Groups 14, 26 and 31 provided the F/A-18 Hornets, AV-8B Harriers, AH-1 Cobras and UH-1 Hueys that supported the assault by dominating the air. The four ships of PHIBGRU-2 include USS Nashville, USS Oak Hill, USS Trenton and USS Wasp as the headquarters ship. The exercise began Aug. 14 when hostilities were declared against the fictitious country of Korona and the rebel forces working against the 'U.S. friendly' government of Kartuna. The 2d MEB, as the Marine forces of a joint task force, were called in to assist the Kartunan government restore order and democracy. The exercise took place in the training areas of Camp Lejeune. Friday's amphibious assault was the first such evolution since the MEB was disbanded in the early 1990s.
In addition to a mechanized infantry assault in a mock-urban training area, the exercise included live artillery fire and aircraft support from both Marine jets and helicopters. Re-established Nov. 10, 1999, the 2d MEB is a scaleable, task-oriented force that provides a full spectrum of expeditionary combat service and support with anywhere from 4,000 and 16,000 Marines and Sailors.
On January 9, 2003 a report in the Jacksonville Daily News indicated that the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade had received orders to deploy to Kuwait. Increased security precautions at Camp Lejeune began on or around January 6 limiting traffic flows and restricting access to certain portions of the base. Elements of 2 MEBs equipment began departing the facility on or around 9 January headed for Morehead City. Indicators from non-media sources indicate that the MEB is departing on or about January 12.
On Febuary 06, 2003, Marines and sailors manned their posts and battle stations recently when the 7 ships transporting the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade navigated through the Suez Canal as part of the MEB's deployment to Central Command?s area of responsibility. The ships heightened security due to the close proximity to land.
Forces from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2d MEB) conducted a Close Air Support live fire exercise on February 8, 2003 at Godoria Range in Djibouti's northern training area. Nearly 100 troops were ashore, firing close to 120 rounds from 81mm mortars, controlling 30 air strikes from AV-8B Harrier jets dropping bombs and another 20 strikes by the 20mm cannon and rocket pods of AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters and .50 caliber machine guns of UH-1N Huey utility helicopters. Hundreds more personnel supported the exercise from warships in the Gulf of Aden. Aircraft launched ashore from the decks of the USS Kearsarge, Bataan, Saipan, and Ponce enabling 2d MEB and the ships and crews of Amphibious Group-2 to refine command and control processes, procedures for close air support of ground forces, and pilot proficiency and flight deck operations, all in a scenario-driven mission environment.
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