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Col. Anthony M. Henderson, Commanding Officer of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, addresses the Marines and Sailors aboard the USS New Orleans on April 4, 2016. https://news.usni.org/2016/09/12/13th-meu-co-argmeus-key-theater-mobile-forces


The Center for Adaptation and Innovation at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, as a part of its Returning Commander Series, hosted the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) on Thursday, 20 October. Retired Lieutenant General George Flynn introduced Colonel Anthony M. Henderson, commander of the 13th MEU, who presented on the Boxer ARG and 13th MEU’s most recent deployment. The Boxer ARG and 13th MEU deployed on 12 February for 213 days, and returned to California on 12 September 2016. The MEU provides a forward deployed, flexible, sea – based Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations. They consist of a command element, a reinforced infantry battalion, a composite aviation squadron, and a combat logistics battalion. The MEU is comprised of about 2,100 Marines and Sailors.

The Boxer ARG and 13th MEU conducted multiple sustainment training and operational exercises and supported Freedom of Navigation operations in the Pacific Command – (PACOM)and Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) in, Central Command –(CENTCOM). OIR operations included strike operations by AV-8B Harriers against ISIL targets.

In addition to sustaining ground readiness, aviation readiness was also maintained. Over 6000 flight hours were conducted, which maximized aviation efficiency. As stated by Colonel Henderson, “We have to keep the flight hours going as much as possible, that saves lives.” Aircraft were launched simultaneously from two separate regions, which enabled integration between two separate MAGTFs. Unique to this deployment, command and control was maintained across three separate seas.

During its deployment cycle, the 13th MEU also executed several amphibious and expeditionary exercises and operations to include:

− Theater Security Cooperation exercises and amphibious training in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia
− Support to POTUS visit
− A combined amphibious joint forcible entry exercise in Exercise SSANG YONG 16
− Sustainment training
− Security force missions and Joint Theater Cooperation exercises to safeguard US personnel and equipment in support of IMCMEX and Exercise EAGER LION 2016 in Jordan