N.C.-based Marines shipping out for six-month deployment




CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - A Marine Corps unit that fought in Iraq on its last deployment shipped out Tuesday for another six-month trip to the Mediterranean and Middle East.
About 2,200 members of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit completed loading aboard ships to sail across the Atlantic in a naval strike group composed of six ships and an attack submarine.
Unit spokesman Capt. Clark Carpenter said equipment was loaded on ships at the port of Morehead City. Landing craft ferried the Marines in infantry units to a ship off the coast.
The MEU last deployed in 2005 and spent several months operating around Hit in Iraq before returning to Camp Lejeune in 2006.
The deployment includes a unit from the new Marine Special Operations Command, as well as a battalion of infantry and logistics troops and aviation crews.
The equipment includes tanks, light armored vehicles and AV-8B Harrier jets and Cobra attack helicopters, which are based on the USS Kearsarge, the largest ship in the group, Carpenter said.
There are approximately 6,000 personnel in the strike group, including the MEU.
Lejeune Marines routinely are deployed in the expeditionary units and the last was the 26th, which returned earlier this month.
The 26th MEU included special operations troops being investigated for their involvement in a shooting in Afghanistan that left 12 dead. The company commander, senior sergeant and six members of a special operations company were sent back here in April after the March 4 incident.
A couple of my friends (and my hopeful replacement!) are on the 22nd MEU.

Be safe Marines.