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Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. - Marines with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa recieve a fairwell speech from Brig. Gen. Burke Whitman, deputy commanding general of mobilization for II Marine Expeditionary Force and an Atlanta, Ga., native, here, Jan. 8, 2013. Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa deployed to conduct theater security cooperation and limited crisis response missions in support of U.S. Africa Command. (Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Caleb McDonald/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Caleb McDonald

Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa Deploys

11 Jan 2013 | Lance Cpl. Caleb McDonald 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines and sailors with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa deployed from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 8, 2013.

Scheduled for a six-month deployment, the approximately 150 Marines and sailors are tasked with conducting theater security cooperation and limited crisis response missions in support of U.S. Africa Command.

Composed of reserve Marines and sailors from 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment out of Garden City, N.Y., and other units from across the country, Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa assembled and began predeployment training here, August 2012 under the command of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.

During the four-month training period, the Marines and sailors conducted realistic training, such as specialized training in foreign weapons with Tier 1 Group, advanced driving techniques and military operations in urban terrain training.

Special Operations Training Group trained and evaluated Special-Purpose MAGTF on predeployment requirements such as noncombatant evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance, non-lethal weapons training and a variety of air and ground exercises at Camp Lejeune.

In conjunction with SOTG, the MEU provided training, oversight and guidance during Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa’s predeployment training.

“Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa hit the ground running from the moment they were mobilized,” said Capt. Kyle Lynch, 22nd MEU assistant operations officer and a Rocky Mount, Va., native. “The training culminated with a large scale mission rehearsal exercise that tested the Marines on each of their mission essential tasks.”

The Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa and 22nd MEU staff sections coordinated to execute a comprehensive training program to ensure the Marines and sailors were prepared to tackle the challenges they will face when deployed.

“As a MEU, we were here to assist as their higher headquarters,” said Maj. Scott Clippinger, logistics officer for the 22nd MEU and a Columbus, Ohio, native. “I think overall from the logistics stand point, we were impressed Special-Purpose MAGTF was able to bring everyone together here so quickly to begin training as a team.”

Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa demonstrated the ability of reserve Marines to mobilize quickly and deploy, which provides them an opportunity to support operations overseas.

Sgt. Timothy McCoy, a combat engineer with Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa, said the training was fulfilling and looks forward to the next six months.

“I had a great training experience here working with the 22nd MEU,” said McCoy, a Roanoke, Ind., native. “I am excited to get downrange and employ all of the training we have received through Special Operations Training Group and the others we trained with.”

With their predeployment training behind them, Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa is prepared to plan and conduct training with African partner nations.

 “This MAGTF is the most prepared to go out the door because of the help the 22nd MEU and the other supporting units who trained them during the (predeployment) process,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Whisnant, commanding officer of Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa and a Kalamazoo, Mich., native. “The talent we have in our Marines is off the charts. All we needed was a place in which to train them as a team. They are now ready to take on any mission Marine Forces Africa has for us.”