View Full Version : Here's some good news-24th MEU headed home to NC

04-22-03, 11:10 PM
April 22, 2003

24th MEU to head home

By Gordon Lubold
Times staff writer

After being deployed two months longer than expected and seeing combat in Iraq, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit will be the first large contingent of Marines to return from the war.
The 24th MEU, which has been operating in central Iraq since early April, received orders to return to Camp Lejeune, N.C., and will begin its trip home in the coming weeks, according to MEU officials.

The MEU left Lejeune in August for a routine six-month deployment, sailed to the Mediterranean Sea and was sent to northeast Africa to support anti-terrorist operations in Djibouti. But as a conflict with Iraq appeared imminent, the MEU was told the deployment would be extended and in March was ordered to Kuwait.

In Iraq, MEU Marines engaged in close contact with enemy forces and detained several enemy prisoners of war.

“We’ve been successful in Iraq,” said Col. Richard Mills, commanding officer of the MEU. “We have secured our sector, kept the lines of communication clear, and have made preparations for civil affairs and humanitarian assistance missions to begin.”

The MEU performed a number of missions in Iraq. In early April, for example, Marines entered the city of Qalatuskar to eliminate the vestiges of the Ba’ath Party. The Marines encountered little resistance in that town, and found several of the buildings empty. But they found weapons and other equipment belonging to the party, including anti-aircraft artillery, and destroyed it.

Marines also helped burn pictures of Saddam Hussein and seized intelligence material from some buildings.

“I think the operation went well,” Gunnery Sgt. James Clements of the MEU Command Element said of that mission. “Many of the people were passing out flowers to the Marines and thanking them for the work they did. They were very supportive.”

The Marines now are preparing to board the ships of the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group in the Persian Gulf for the trip home.