In recent decades, the world has changed. No longer do threats to America come solely from monolithic empires bent on world domination. Instead, we face danger from smaller, yet no less ruthless or dangerous organizations and rogue nations who use fear, intimidation, and savagery to achieve their goals. They murder innocents, take hostages, encourage terrorism, develop weapons of mass destruction, attack peaceful nations, and hijack planes...
Often these threats arise from regions adjacent to or near sea lanes America and her allies rely on for commercial trade and vital resources, or where we have a vested interest in regional stability. That is where the MEU becomes so relevant.
As a powerful, mobile force deployable from self-contained floating sea bases, the MEU is uniquely equipped and forward-deployed to respond to any threat, protect any American or ally, or squash any menace at any place in the world, often within hours. With its complement of fully-integrated air and ground forces, working closely with its Navy brethren, the MEU is a powerful, expertly-trained, and superbly-equipped force that has proven itself time and again in recent years.
The MEU is composed of four basic elements:
Command Element - Serves as the headquarters for the entire unit and allows a single command to exercise control over all ground, aviation, and combat service support forces.
Ground Combat Element - Provides the MEU with its main combat punch. Built around a Marine infantry battalion, the GCE is reinforced with tanks, artillery, amphibious vehicles, engineers, and reconnaissance assets.
Aviation Combat Element - The ACE consists of a composite medium helicopter squadron containing transport helicopters of various models and capabilities, attack helicopters and jets, air defense teams, and all necessary ground support assets.
Logistics Combat Element - Providing the MEU with mission-essential support such as medical/dental assistance, motor transport, supply, equipment maintenance, and landing is the mission of the LCE.
The MEU consists of approximately 2,200 Marines and Sailors embarked aboard several amphibious ships. Prior to deployment, the men and women of the MEU undergo a rigorous 26-week training program designed to prepare them for any eventuality.
Some, but not all, of the missions the MEU can undertake while deployed are:
- Humanitarian/Disaster Relief
- Security Operations
- Noncombatant Evacuation Operations
- Reinforcement Operations
- Amphibious Raids/Assaults/Demonstrations
- Tactical Deception Operations
- Airfield/Port Seizures
- Show-of-Force Operations
- Reconnaissance and Surveillance
- Seizure/Recovery of Offshore Energy Facilities