The Marines, who complete their mission in mid-January, were deployed to Móron, Spain, with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Reponse-Africa when they were unexpectedly rerouted to Bangui in September at the request of the State Department.

A 30-man detachment from the North Carolina-based 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, guarded the embassy, said 1st Lt. Danielle Dixon, the crisis response unit's spokeswoman. They remained there for about four months.

While there, they worked with the embassy's regional security officer and chief of mission to secure the facility pending the arrival of the Marine security guards who typically guard diplomatic facilities, the White House said at the time. It was not immediately clear if a follow-on contingent from the crisis response unit would be deployed, or if the embassy would now operate with a standard MSG detachment.

The embassy was shuttered in 2012 during an outbreak of ethnic and religious tension in what is one of Africa's least developed countries. The deployment was an important step in reopening the embassy as French and UN peacekeepers improved security in the capital.

"The people and leaders of the Central African Republic have made progress in ending the violence and putting their nation on a path toward peace and stability," said Secretary of State John Kerry in a Sept. 15 statement announcing the embassies reopening of the embassy. "But we all know that much work remains to be done."

Marines from newly created crisis response units, which are manned by Marines on a six-month rotational basis, have been used for similar security missions elsewhere. Marines with SPMAGTF-CR-Central Command, created this summer, are currently boosting security at the American embassies in Iraq and Yemen.

Marines with the Africa crisis response unit have been tapped to evacuate embassy personnel from Libya in July and South Sudan, last January.

A new round of Marines deployed this month to take over in Spain. Units include 2nd Marine Regiment and 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 and Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 from Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina; and Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 from MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina.

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