US Marine Corps Forces, Europe (MARFOREUR)
US Marine Corps Forces, Europe (MARFOREUR) and Commander, MARFOREUR (COMMARFOREUR), as the US Marine Corps Service component commander for the US European Command (EUCOM) has the mission to command all USMC forces assigned to it; advise the Commander, EUCOM on the proper use of USMC forces; conducts employment/redeployment planning and execution of assigned/attached forces; and accomplish assigned operational missions.
In February 1980, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Chief of Naval Operations signed a Memorandum of Agreement to establish a Marine Corps presence in Europe. On 1 July 1980, the Marine Corps stood up Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force, Europe. The command was initially established as a "designate" command meaning that during peacetime operations the staff would be the nucleus of a larger staff. In the event of an international crises or war, the staff would be manned as a full component headquarters. Commander, US Marine Forces, Atlantic (MARFORLANT) assumed additional responsibility as Commander, Fleet Marine Forces, Europe.
After its creation, the command promptly began to improve the Marine Corps ability to plan and operate in the European Theater, relieving stateside staffs of this demanding duty. The initial staff consisted of 40 Marines and was located in London, England. The command continued to grow and a snapshot in 1989 depicted more than 180 Marines in 45 separate locations in 19 countries throughout the European Theater. These Marines supported US, NATO, or European Commands on Joint, national or unified staffs. They served in billets such as Defense Attaches, Liaison Officers, and United Nations Military Observers. Marines also participated in the Foreign Exchange Program and were students in Foreign Service schools throughout Europe.
During the first decade of its existence, Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force, Europe, supported Marine Corps involvement in Operations Provide Comfort, Just Cause, Provide Promise, and Deny Flight. The command also assisted in transitioning Marines to and from Operations Desert Storm and Restore Hope.
To better fulfill the planning and support requirements to Marine forces operating in the European Theater, it was necessary to move the command from London to Stuttgart, Germany during the summer of 1993. Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force, Europe officially opened in Boeblingen, Germany on 8 November 1993. In February 1994, the command was renamed Headquarters, United States Marine Corps Forces, Europe (MARFOREUR). The Commander, MARFORLANT initially remained in a similar position as before with the additional title of Commander, MARFOREUR. The command had the mission, as the US Marine Corps Service component commander for United States Commander in Chief, European Command (CINCEUCOM), of commanding all USMC forces assigned to CINCEUCOM, advising CINCEUCOM on the proper use of US Marine Corps forces, conducting employment/redeployment planning, and executing of assigned/attached forces.
Headquarters, MARFOREUR was established in the European Command (EUCOM) and a planning liaison element was established with both Central Command (CENTCOM) and Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) to support their respective designated Marine Corps component commanders. Commander, MARFORLANT was additionally titled as Commander, MARFORSOUTH at that time. During peacetime, the designated Marine Corps component commander provided operation and contingency planning support and advice to his respective combatant commanders on Marine Corps-specific matters. When directed, the Marine Corps component commander exercised operational control of forces assigned or attached to the combatant commander. As combatant commands, they were part of the operating forces of the Marine Corps. These security forces included Marine barracks and Marine security force companies in the continental United States and abroad, as well as Marine detachments afloat.
The command subsequently provided support to a multitude of exercises and real-world contingencies. The command supported operations in the Balkan Region including combat operations in Kosovo, as well as during Operation Northern Watch. During the support of the Kosovo campaign, beginning in 1999, the command reached its full manning level and lost its designate title. The command remained fully staffed even as the mission in Kosovo evolved.
Instability in the African region required repeated executions of non-combatant evacuation operations, in which the command had a planning role. The command also supported many Partnership for Peace exercises involving nations of the former Soviet Union.
In response to the events of 11 September 2001, the command fully supported the United States' efforts in the war against terrorism. The command supported Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
On 1 October 2008, stood up the Marine Corps Forces, Africa (MARFORAF) as a service component command to the newly established United States Africa Command (AFRICOM). Prior to the establishment, MARFORAF Marines, whose headquarters was then based in Panzer Kaserne, had been in the process of integrating responsibilities and missions previously carried out by three separate commands: Marine Corps Forces, Europe (MARFOREUR); Marine Corps Forces, Central Command (MARCENT); and Marine Corps Forces, Pacific (MARFORPAC). At the time of its activation, the commander of MARFOREUR additionally became the commander of MARFORAF.
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