11th MEU decomposites, concludes Western Pacific Deployment 16-2

11th Marine Expeditionary Unit
Story by Sgt. Devan Gowans

Date: 06.15.2017
Posted: 06.20.2017 15:20
News ID: 238552
11th MEU decomposites, concludes Western Pacific Deployment 16-2

The visits prelude the official de-composite of the units within the 11th MEU: Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced), the Aviation Combat Element; Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 4th Marines, the Ground Combat Element; and Combat Logistics Battalion 11, the Logistics Combat Element.

The 11th MEU returned from a seven-month deployment to the U.S. Pacific and Central Commands' areas of operations in May and reintegrated into their respective home installations in California and Arizona.

As a sea-based Marine Air-Ground Task Force, the 11th MEU acted as a forward-deployed expeditionary crisis response force, embarking troops, vehicles, aircraft, and equipment aboard naval shipping. The MEU embarked aboard the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which is comprised of three ships: USS Makin Island (LHD 8), USS Somerset (LPD 25), and USS Comstock (LHD 8). The ARG/MEU is a flexible, self-sustaining Navy-Marine Corps team that patrols key regions of the world, ready to resolve conflict, conduct humanitarian assistance, or combat the enemy in remote, austere environments that would otherwise be inaccessible.

The visits featured remarks from Tipton, who praised the individual Marines and Sailors for their combined efforts and steadfastness, ensuring the MEU was successful while deployed afloat and ashore.

"The Marines and Sailors of the 11th MEU experienced what America demands of her Corps and what the Marine Corps proudly delivers to this great nation: being forward-deployed and ready to respond to any crisis, as well as to deter the actions of our enemies," said Tipton.

Whether supporting combat operations or bilateral exercises during the deployment, the Marines and Sailors maintained their resolve to accomplish the mission, Tipton added.

Prior to deploying in mid-October 2016, the 11th MEU composited in April of 2016 and underwent a rigorous six-month training cycle to ready and certify prerequisite skill sets for which the MEU could be called upon to execute during their deployment. There are 13 mission essential tasks a MEU must be prepared to execute, such as visit, board, search, and seizures (VBSS); amphibious raids; noncombatant evacuation operations; humanitarian assistance; and embassy reinforcements.

During deployment, the 11th MEU conducted training exercises and Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) exchanges in various countries throughout U.S. 5th and 7th Fleets' areas of responsibility, which include: Djibouti, Kuwait, Oman, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea. These exercises and exchanges were conducted to enhances bonds between future coalition partners, build mutual warfighting capabilities, and help sustain a high level of military readiness.

The 11th MEU supported Operation Inherent Resolve by sending a task force of approximately 400 Marines and Sailors to Northern Syria where they provided artillery support to coalition efforts to isolate and then liberate Raqqa from ISIS. Additionally, the 11th MEU supported Operation Oaken Steel from Djibouti with a task-organized unit that remained ready 24-hours a day, seven days a week to provide quick reaction forces, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, and casualty evacuations to the U.S. embassy in South Sudan.

After de-composite, BLT 1/4, VMM-163, and CLB-11 will reattach to their parent commands, and the MEU's organic Command Element will return to an interim period to prepare for a future deployment.