7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade
7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade [7th MEB], as with the other MAGTFS, had a standing command element or headquarters. The ground combat element, i.e., the reinforced 7th Marines; the aviation combat element, Marine Aircraft Group 70; and the combat service support element, Brigade Service Support Group 7; were not permanently assigned elements of the brigade, but all were designated and all had recently exercised with the brigade.
On 12 August (C + 5) 1990, the 7th MEB, moving out from its desert base at Twentynine Palms, California, with nearly 17,000 personnel, entered the air flow for Saudi Arabia.<16> The planning figure was that the deployment of a Marine Expeditionary Brigade by air required 250 C-141 sorties or equivalents. It was no accident that 7th MEB was desert-trained. The brigade had long been earmarked for employment in CentCom's sandy area of operations.
The first elements of the 7th MEB arrived at Al Jubayl on 14 August (C + 7). The brigade commander, Major General John I. Hopkins, arrived the next day, as did the first ships of MPSRon-2, and the marriage of the 7th MEB and MPSRon-2 was consummated. Rolling out of the MPS ships came the tanks, howitzers, amphibious assault vehicles, light armored vehicles, and the other weapons, supplies, and equipment which would give the 7th MEB its combat punch. On 20 August its ground elements occupied their initial defensive positions in northeastern Saudi Arabia. They were ready for combat.
On 25 August (C + 18), General Hopkins, as CG I MEF(Forward), fully confident that he could counter an Iraqi offensive in his zone of action, reported to General Schwarzkopf that he was ready to assume responsibility for the defense of the approaches to the vital seaport of Al Jubayl. His brigade, numbering on that date 15,248 Marines with 123 tanks, 425 heavy weapons, including artillery pieces, and 124 fixed and rotary winged aircraft, had made a 12,000-mile strategic movement, using 259 MAC sorties and five MPS ships.
The 7th MEB's ground combat element was Regimental Landing Team 7 (RLT-7) with four infantry battalions and a light armored infantry battalion. The combat service support element was Brigade Service Support Group 7 (BSSG-7). The aviation combat element was Marine Aircraft Group 70 (MAG-70). A kind of pocket air force, MAG-70 had both fixed-wing and helicopter squadrons, deploying a great variety of aircraft.
On 2 September (C + 26), the I Marine Expeditionary Force assumed operational control of all Marine forces in CentCom's theater of operations. I MEF was formed by "compositing" or fitting together the elements of the 7th MEB and 1st MEB. In Marine Corps language, the 7th MEB "stood down" on that
date. Either "deactivated" or "dissolved" would be much too strong a word; 7th MEB could be readily reconstituted if the situation required it. By 6 September, the three major subordinate headquarters of I MEF were in place: the 1st Marine Division, the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, and the 1st Force
Service Support Group
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