Marines deploy to Africa for crisis response mission
By James K. Sanborn
Marines with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment practice entering and exiting the MV-22B Osprey during a simulated Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel, or TRAP, mission aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River, Dec. 9, 2014. The TRAP training provides designated forces tactical training and initial evaluation in order to conduct search and personnel recovery operations for the upcoming deployment with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa.
The latest contingent to support the Marine Corps' unit crisis response unit responsible for responding to crises in Africa arrived in Spain this weekend for recently departed for a six-month deployment.
In all mMore than 1,000 North Carolina-basedEast Coast Marines and sailors departed Jan. 2 for Móron, Spain, where they will become the latest to staff Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa, according to a Marine news release. The units is manned by infantry, logistics and aviation Marines the crisis response force on a rotating basis.
This round, units include 2nd Marine Regiment and 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, from Camp Lejeune; Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 and Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 from Marine Corps Air Station New River; and Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252from MCAS Cherry Point, the release states. according to the news release.
While in Spain, the Marines y will engage in international military exchanges and training exercises with partner nations. But their top priority is to stand ready to respond to unforeseen crisis on a moment's notice, including calls for boosted security at an embassy or the evacuation of State Department personnel.
The Osprey and Super Hercules team has proven vital for new land-based crisis response units. was crucial during one of the first instances when the unit cut its teeth. About a year ago, the special purpose MAGTF unit used KC-130s and MV-22s to slingshot Marines across the continent of Africa from their base in Móron to reach the embassy in Juba, South Sudan. With that country facing violent unrest, the unit led the operation to evacuate embassy personnel.
In July, two Ospreys from the crisis response force kept watch on a convoy during a ground evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Libya as State Department personnel were moved across the border to Tunisia.
To prepare for their latest deployment, the Marines participated in a five-day exercise meant to simulate many of the unpredictable crisis response missions they operations crisis response Marine could be called on to conduct. The exercise, held across North Carolina and Virginia, was meant to test commanders' — and their troops' — ability to operate across a widely dispersed area as they likely will ould in Africa.
During the exercise, which lasted 120 hours and concluded Dec. 18, Marines were tasked with delivering aid to a fictitious country following a simulated earthquake, according to a Marine news release. That required Marines to respond to instability in the wake of the natural disaster by evacuating a mock embassy, and working with role players acting the part of partner nations.
Marines deploying in support of Black Sea Rotational Force, which is a multinational exercise based out of Romania, also participated.
The only unit to have recently deployed to Móron that did not participate was VMGR-252.