ABOARD USS KEARSARGE --
The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) added three battle streamers to its unit flag during a sun-soaked 25th anniversary ceremony on the flight deck of USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), Dec. 8.
First, Commanding Officer Col. Douglas M. Stilwell added the Afghanistan Campaign Medal for service in Afghanistan during the unit’s 2004 deployment.
During the 2004 deployment for which the Afghanistan Campaign Medal was earned, the 22nd MEU consisted of Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team (BLT), 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 266 (Reinforced); Combat Service Support Element, MEU Service Support Group (MSSG) 22; and its Command Element. An infantry battalion from the Army’s 25th Infantry Division bolstered the MEU into a 3,400-man force dubbed Task Force Linebacker.
During the four-and-a-half month tour from Mar. 25-July 16, 2004, the MEU conducted 15 named combat operations and six stability and security operations. The result of the tour included the seizure of 65 large arms caches, the capture of 116 enemy fighters and 101 confirmed enemy killed. The MEU treated more than 2,100 medical and dental patients and completed 108 civil affairs projects.
Second, Stilwell presented the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal for participation in Global War on Terrorism operations from Mar. 25-July 16, 2004.
Lastly, the ceremony honored the unit’s 2006 deployment, which took the unit’s Marines and sailors deep into Iraq’s Al Anbar Province, where they battled insurgents from a forward operating base in and around the ancient city of Hit from Dec. 21, 2005 to Mar. 1, 2006.
During the 2006 deployment, the 22nd MEU consisted of Ground Combat Element, BLT, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; HMM 261 (Rein.), and MSSG 22. The unit took the fight to the enemy in 14 named operations while, again, simultaneously working to provide a better environment for local population. While BLT 1/2 uncovered vast amounts of insurgent arms and ordnance, MSSG 22 fixed roads and other critical infrastructure.
Since its activation on Dec. 9, 1982, the 22nd MEU has been awarded two Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, four Navy Commendations, five Meritorious Unit Commendations, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Streamer with two stars, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamer with two stars, the Armed Forces Service Streamer with three stars, the Southwest Asia Service Streamer with two stars, the Afghanistan Campaign Streamer, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Streamer, the Global War on Terrorism Service Streamer, and the Iraq Campaign Streamer.
The 22nd MEU is currently on a scheduled deployment aboard the ships of the Kearsarge Strike Group and consists of its Ground Combat Element, BLT, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, HMM 261 (Rein.); and Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22. For more information on the unit’s history and awards, visit the unit’s Web site atwww.22meu.usmc.mil.