MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, NC (July 22, 2009) --
The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit officially assumed operational control over its air, ground, and logistical elements during an activation ceremony here today.
This ceremony marked the beginning of a concentrated phase of preparation for the MEU’s support elements. The MEU faces a work-up phase that aims to bring four estranged elements together as a cohesive force in readiness.
The combination of 24th MEU’s command element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment; Medium Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron – 162; and Combat Logistics Battalion – 24; forms a Marine Air Ground Task Force, a versatile unit capable of supporting the full spectrum of combat and humanitarian operations around the globe.
“The ceremony is a significant event, it marks how we will work together, deploy together, and achieve a mission together,” said Col. Pete Petronzio, commanding officer, 24th MEU. “Each element brings a unique skill that will allow us to do amazing things.”
The Ground Combat Element, BLT 1/9, is a combat infantry unit ready to perform everything from precision target strikes to reinforcing a security element of an embassy under threat of action. This will be the first time 1/9 attaches to a Marine Expeditionary Unit.
VMM-162 joins the MEU for the first time as the aviation combat element, which offers a range of close air support jets, attack helicopters, and transport helicopters, including the MV-22 Osprey. This will also be the first time the 24th MEU deploys with the MV-22 Osprey.
The MEU’s logistical lifeline is CLB-24. The battalion is capable of sustaining the MEU in full combat for 15 days without re-supply, and also conducts non-combat evacuations and other humanitarian aid operations.
With all the support elements together for the first time, the training begins. Tasked being a quick response force to the world, the MEU must now test their capabilities and teamwork in amphibious operations, mechanized and heliborne raids, urban warfare, peace enforcement and more for their upcoming deployment.
“The 24th MEU has long, distinguished history, and I have no doubt this iteration will add to that history,” said Petronzio.