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Forces: U.S. & Coalition/Marines
Deployments in the Persian Gulf

U.S. Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), provide security at the IBN Sina Teaching Hospital in Mosul, Iraq on April 20, 2003.  
26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable)

Home camp: Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

Marines: 2,300 Marines and U.S. Navy sailors

Deployed to: The MEU saw some action in northern Iraq near Mosul and has then redeployed to Camp Lemonier, Djibouti. On July 25, 2003, President Bush ordered the unit to the coast of Liberia to support a West African peacekeeping force that is expected to be deployed to the region.

Units: The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) includes the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (a reinforced infantry battalion with light armored vehicles, artillery and amphibious assault vehicles); Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 264; MEU Service Support Group 26; and the MEU's command element. The MEU is supported by the Norfolk, Virginia-based Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, which includes amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, amphibious landing dock ship USS Carter Hall and amphibious dock transport ship USS Nashville.

Duties: A Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) is the smallest of the Marine Air Ground Task Force and consists of approximately 1,900 Marines and 100 naval personnel. It is usually deployed aboard an amphibious assault ship, a dock landing ship and an amphibious transport dock. An MEU is typically organized as follows:

• A command element
• A ground combat element that is built on an infantry battalion and is typically armed with four tanks, six howitzers and 13 amphibious assault vehicles
• A composite aviation squadron with 22 helicopters and six strike fighters
• A logistical support element known as a MEU Service Support Group In some circumstances, like the war in Iraq, an MEU is part of a larger Marine air-ground task force like the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

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