Air Contingency Battalion (ACB)
The Air Contingency Battalion [sometimes incorrectly called an Alert Contingency Battalion], part of the Air Contingency Marine Air Ground Task Force, is a Marine Expeditionary Force asset that stands ready to provide the United States with ground, air, and combat service support capability on a moment's notice in case of a crisis.
On any day, five of the nine infantry battalions of each Marine Division are either forward deployed or preparing to deploy, with three battalions assigned to MEUs. Of the four remaining battalions, one is always assigned the Air Contingency Battalion mission, while the other three pursue an active training program.
Rapid Guardian 02-3 marked the first time the Alert Contingency Battalion has been used as part of an operational rehearsal. Operation Rapid Guardian 02-3 is an operational rehearsal testing the ability of the US component's strategic reserve force to augment NATO's ongoing peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo. The Marine Corps usually supports this tasking with Marines from a deployed Marine Expeditionary Unit normally located in the Mediterranean Sea area, but in this case the Corps sent a company from the Alert Contingency Battalion from Camp Lejeune, NC.
The Marine unit initially deployed to Haiti on 29 February 2004 was probably part of the Air Contingency Battalion. At any given time there is at least one at Camp Lejeune ready to respond on short notice in a matter of hours.
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