CAMP LEJEUNE, NC -- The Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Gordon R. England, has awarded the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation to the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit for its service in the Global War on Terrorism during its 2002 deployment.
The 22d MEU (then designated as 'Special Operations Capable') deployed from Camp Lejeune, N.C. on Feb. 22, 2002 aboard the amphibious assault ships WASP, TRENTON, and OAK HILL, and consisted of its Command Element, Battalion Landing Team 2d Bn., 6th Marines, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced), and MEU Service Support Group 22.
During its six-month deployment, the MEU spent 143 days in the Central Command Theater, supporting a wide range of counter-/anti-terrorist operations and exercises. Most of these missions remain classified, but the MEU did conduct operations in Afghanistan, a bi-lateral training exercise in Jordan, and training and humanitarian civil affairs projects in Djibouti.
Marines and Sailors directly assigned to the 22d MEU or Amphibious Squadron Four at any time between Feb. 22, 2002 and Aug. 30, 2002 are authorized the MUC.
The MUC award citation specifically mentioned the MEU's rapid reinforcement of the U.S. Consulate, Karachi, Pakistan in the wake of a terrorist bombing there and the unit's execution of simultaneous, complex missions that required the MEU to conduct split-amphibious ready group (ARG) operations.
This marks this sixth award of the MUC to the 22d MEU since its activation as the 22d Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU) on Dec. 1, 1982. Prior awards of the MUC were for the MEU's deployments in the mid to late 1980s, service in Albania during Operation SILVER WAKE, its 1997 deployment to west Africa and the Adriatic Sea, and deployments with the Sixth and Fifth Fleets in 1998 and 2000, respectively.
Then-Secretary of the Navy John T. McNaughton established the MUC on July 17, 1967 as a means to recognize units that have distinguished themselves under combat or non-combat circumstances. The valorous or meritorious service justifying the award is comparable to that of the Bronze Star Medal.
In order of precedence on the Marine Corps uniform, the MUC is worn after the Navy Unit Commendation and before the Navy 'E' Ribbon.
The message authorizing the award has yet to be released via MARADMIN or ALMAR, but the letter of authorization and citation for this, and all the other unit awards bestowed upon the 22d MEU, can be found at www.22meu.usmc.mil/awards.