CAMP COURTNEY, Okinawa, Japan -- The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade has been designated as the command element for the Asia-Pacific region’s alert contingency Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
As the command element for the ACM, 3rd MEB is prepared to respond within 24 hours to crises throughout the region. In the event of a contingency, 3rd MEB will mitigate foreign or domestic crises, protect U.S. citizens and territories, or counter threats to U.S. national interests as needed.
Since its reactivation in December 2011, 3rd MEB has participated in Exercise Balikatan and the bilateral Amphibious Landing Exercise in the Republic of the Philippines, Exercise Ssang Yong in the Republic of Korea, command and control exercises Terminal Fury, Yama Sakura and Ulchi Freedom Guardian with regional allies, and conducted a staff exercise with members of the Malaysian Armed Forces in Malaysia.
These theater security cooperation exercises helped prepare 3rd MEB Marines for their new role as the command element for the ACM.
“We are participating in exercises every few months,” said Lt. Col. Rodney Legowski, the operations officer for 3rd MEB. “It’s good that we keep getting out the door to test our strategic agility and determine where we are at and what we can improve upon.”
The 3rd MEB traces its roots back to 1917, when the 3rd Provisional Brigade was activated at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. Since that time, 3rd MEB was provisionally activated for operations during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War and conducted humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and provided support for various crises in Cuba, China, the Republic of the Philippines and Indonesia. Most recently, 3rd MEB participated in Operation Tomodachi, providing command and control of Marine Corps relief efforts.
As the Marine Corps reorients to the Pacific, it is necessary for 3rd MEB to continue growing and enhancing its capabilities.
“We’re going to keep pressing forward and doing whatever we can in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Brig. Gen. Craig Q. Timberlake, the commanding general of 3rd MEB. “This is where our country’s leadership has chosen to focus, and I have full confidence this is a unit they will be able to call on whenever needed.”
Designation as the command element for the ACM comes only one month after the MEB reached initial operational capability.
Reaching IOC enhances 3rd MEB’s ability to provide a tailored, scalable MAGTF prepared to rapidly deploy anywhere within the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.
“Achieving IOC is important because it shows we are on schedule with our reactivation guidance from Headquarters Marine Corps,” said Col. John A. Ostrowski, chief of staff for 3rd MEB.
The 3rd MEB is scheduled to achieve full operational capability during fiscal year 2013. The goal associated with FOC is for 3rd MEB to be qualified in its core missions, including the capability to be employed as a stand-alone Marine command element, as the lead element for III MEF operations, or as the nucleus of a joint task force.
“We continue to build and develop as a staff, and we want to ensure that as a standing command element, we add value to III MEF’s crisis response capability,” said Ostrowki. “Assumption as the ACM is part of a logical progression to that end.”