Forces from the I Marine Expeditionary Force have deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations as part of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Forces Crisis Response - Central Command, the Marine Corps announced Monday.
The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit command element is now in charge of the crisis response mission and theater security cooperation within CENTCOM’s area of operations, according to the service.
“We remain postured to respond to any crisis throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility,” oncoming commanding officer Col. Andrew Priddy said in a Marine Corps news release. ”While maintaining this crisis response capability, we look forward to continuing to advance the regional partner relationships across the AOR.”
“Across the command, Marines and Sailors have trained extensively for this mission,” Sgt. Maj. Stuart Glass, the command’s sergeant major, said in a news release. “Our forward-deployed forces are ready to respond to any crisis or event at a moment’s notice.”
Those deployed include Marines from the 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Logistics Group, and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, the service said. That’s approximately 2,000 Marines and sailors — roughly 200 of which are assigned to the task force’s command element, the Orange County Register reports.
The Marines will be responsible for a variety of tasks during the deployment, and the SPMAGTF – Crisis Response – Central Command is intended to foster quick responses to military operations using aviation, ground, and logistics assets.
Photos posted to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service depicted the Marines conducting a Evacuation Control Center training exercise in Kuwait on March 26 to prepare for scenarios involving emergency evacuations of designated noncombatant evacuees on behalf of the State Department.
“At any given moment we may be working with partner nation forces to advance our relationships, assisting the U.S. Department of State in reinforcing an embassy’s security posture, or enhancing naval integration opportunities with the U.S. Navy aboard ships like the U.S.S. Lewis B. Puller,” Capt. Joshua Hays, Communication Strategy & Operations director for SPMAGTF-Crisis Response-Central Command 20.2, told the Orange County Register.
Hays did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Marine Corps Times.
The SPMAGTF-Crisis Response-Central Command was first established following the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 to respond to threats in CENTCOM’s and U.S. Africa Command’s areas of operation.
The I Marine Expeditionary Force is based out of Camp Pendleton in California.