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Marine Air Ground Task Force 4 / MAGTF 4

Contingency MAGTF 4-88 was formed for duty in the Arabian Gulf in 1988.

Marine Air Ground Task Force 4, was designed around the same priciple as a MEU, but with different capabilities. Although MAGTF-4 closely resembles a MEU, the difference is that a MEU is a permanent force structure, whereas MAGTFs are created to respond to contingencies. Running a MAGTF is challenging because Marines from different elements must work together to accomplish a common goal.

Marine Air Ground Task Force 4-90 deployed to the Republic of the Philippines to conduct Operation FIERY VIGIL, the evacuation of Clark AFB following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

FOAL EAGLE 98 affirmed the resolve of the US and the Republic of Korea to deter, defend, fight and win against a hostile force. This large-scale combined exercise provided unparalleled training opportunities for the Combined Forces Command components and its supporting forces. FOAL EAGLE 98 offered an array of realistic, challenging training events which enhanced the interoperability between the two nations' forces required to defend the Republic of Korea. The Marine Air Ground Task Force 4 included 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, and elements of the U.S. 12th Marine Regiment. AV-8 Harriers launched from the USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3) in FOAL EAGLE maritime operations.

The flexibility of the Belleau Wood ARG was demonstrated with the November 1998 crisis with Iraq. All four ARG ships had just completed Exercise Foal Eagle off the coast of Korea, and were heading to various port visits for some liberty, when each ship received the call on 06 November 1998 to sail immediately to Okinawa to offload Marine Air Ground Task Force 4 personnel, and onload the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The ships arrived at White Beach on the morning of the 07 November 1998. As each ship secured its last line, the offload of MAGTF 4 equipment, gear, and personnel commenced. The entire offload was completed in approximately 15 hours. Usually it takes anywhere from 36 to 48 hours.

In 1999 Marines from Okinawa came together to create Marine Air Ground Task Force 4 to execute Cobra Gold '99. Exercise Cobra Gold is one of the largest routine, regularly scheduled annual exercises involving U.S. forces in the Pacific Command. The 1999 exercise included Sailors and Marines aboard USS Dubuque (LPD 8), USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), USS Vandegrift (FFG 48), as well as personnel from Commander, Amphibious Group ONE (CPG1), Commander Task Force 72, Naval Special Warfare Unit 1, Marine Air Ground Task Force 4, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit Five, Fleet Coordinating Group out of Yokosuka, Japan, and Mobile Mine Assembly Unit Ten out of Kadena, Japan.

During Cobra Gold '99, MAGTF-4 was the model the Marine Corps uses to demonstrate MAGTF doctrine to the Thai military. A MAGTF consists of four elements: the command element, ground combat element, air combat element and a combat service support element. When needed, these elements come together to respond to real-world crises. At the top of the MAGTF hierarchy is the command element, which serves as the headquarters unit of a MAGTF. The command element is responsible for coordinating the use of ground troops, air support and service support. For Cobra Gold '99 the command element for MAGTF-4 was comprised of the commander and staff of 4th Marines, 3rd MarDiv. with attachments from III MEF. The ground combat element is primarily made up of artillery and infantry Marines. The ground combat element included 3rd Bn., 7th Marines, an infantry unit from Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., and Battery C, 1st Bn., 12th Marines, an artillery unit from Hawaii. They were supported by the aviation combat element, which provides aircraft for troop transport or close air support, and a combat service support element, which provides logistical and service support. The air combat element was formed around Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262, 1st MAW, stationed in Okinawa, Japan. The combat service support element is CSSD-37 and consisted of Marines from 3rd FSSG.

For the first time since 1995, U.S. servicemembers headed to the Republic of the Philippines for a combined/joint exercise known as Balikatan, a Tagalog term meaning "shoulder the load together." Marines with the ground side on Okinawa, Japan, left 11 February 2000 on the USS Fort McHenry to begin their journey to the exercise. Units from Okinawa supporting the effort included 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, deployed as part of the Unit Deployment Program from Hawaii; 5th Force Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division; Combat Service Support Detachment-35, Marine Air Ground Task Force-4; 4th Marine Regiment headquarters; Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-369 and Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-462, both UDP from Camp Pendleton, Calif.; and Combat Assault Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. The MAGTF deployed to the Philippines to conduct bilateral and joint training and improve Republic of the Philippines and United States combined planning, combat readiness and interoperability. More than 2,000 U.S. servicemembers worked with their Filipino counterparts in cross training, humanitarian and civic assistance efforts throughout Luzon and Palawan.




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