Marines to Loiter Near Libya

About 2,200 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will take part in support operations based aboard USS Kearsarge at sea. Those support operations have thus far included air strikes and one rescue operation. The overall mission is to help end the violence directed at the Libyan people. UPDATE: To date, the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit has conducted numerous successful airstrikes against Muammar al-Qadhafi regime forces as part of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn supporting the international response to protect civilians in Libya under threat of attack by Qadhafi military forces. The 26th MEU has also conducted a successful Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel mission in support of two U.S. Air Force F-15 pilots after their airplane crashed east of Benghazi, Libya, Mar. 21.

All of these missions were launched from the USS Kearsarge more than 100 nautical miles from the coast. Other than the small TRAP force sent to locate the Air Force pilots, no U.S. Marines from the 26th MEU have landed ashore.

“The ability to launch these and other missions directly from naval vessels illustrates the unique and valuable capacity of the Navy/Marine Corps team called ‘sea-basing'”, said Captain Timothy Patrick, spokesman for II Marine Expeditionary Force. “Having these forces embarked aboard amphibious ships means that at any time we can execute a variety of tactical missions with little or no footprint on foreign territory.”

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