The Marine Corp's largest warfighting Marine Air-Ground Task Force, I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), stands ready to face the emerging security challenges of today across the full range of military operations. The key to I MEF's success throughout its history has been its ability to seamlessly integrate all aspects of warfighting into an expeditionary combined arms approach. That construct, along with the initiative, determination, and talent of individual Marines, has made I MEF the nation's premier warfighting formation.
The origins of I MEF can be traced back to 1969 when it was first activated in Okinawa, Japan, under Fleet Marine Forces Pacific. A year later, it was redesignated as I Marine Amphibious Force (I MAF) and relocated to Camp Pendleton, California, where it has maintained its presence for the last 53 years.
During the Vietnam War, I MAF played a crucial role in various operations, including supporting the Republic of Vietnam's government and assisting in counter-insurgency efforts. The force's extensive experience and adaptability in the complex and challenging environment of Vietnam solidified its reputation as a battle-tested and reliable combat force.
I MAF was redesignated back to I MEF in 1988 and quickly cemented its legacy as a premier expeditionary Marine Air-Ground Task Force. It participated in Operation Desert Shield to deter further aggression by Iraq and promote regional stability. Iraq's refusal to withdraw forces from Kuwait triggered Operation Desert Storm, where I MEF's employment of combined air-ground combined operations and combat prowess were vital in the success of the coalition's swift and decisive victory, leading to the liberation of Kuwait and the expulsion of Iraqi forces from the region.
In 1992, I MEF was designated the Headquarters of Joint Task Force Somalia and tasked with restoring stability and providing relief to the famine-stricken nation. I MEF deployed with its Major Subordinate Commands, 1st Marine Division, 3D Marine Aircraft Wing, as well as with elements of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to Mogadishu in Operation Restore Hope. During their operations, I MEF Marines conducted security operations, humanitarian aid distribution, and collaborated with United Nations peacekeeping forces to protect and aid civilians affected by the conflict and famine.
In the 2000s, I MEF played a crucial role in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, contributing significantly to the success of the United States' military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq. During Operation Enduring Freedom, I MEF units executed a range of missions, including combat operations, humanitarian assistance, and stabilization efforts proving the flexibility of the MAGTF construct across the full range of military operations. They conducted counterinsurgency operations and partnered with Afghan security forces to disrupt terrorist networks.
Similarly, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, I MEF units conducted major combat operations, leading the effort to seize control of key cities like Baghdad, and subsequently focused on stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq. Their involvement demonstrated exceptional combat capabilities, adaptability, and commitment to fulfilling mission objectives, solidifying I MEF's reputation as masters of expeditionary combined arms warfare.
As the security challenges of the 21st century have evolved, the argument for the MAGTF has only been strengthened based on its flexibility, scalability, and adaptability. Through humanitarian assistance to competition with peer competitors, the combat power, logistical sustainment, and an aviation capability package of the MAGTF remain invaluable to combatant commanders in every region of the globe.
As I MEF has adapted to a shifting character of war, the synergy and fabric of MAGTF remain the basis for achieving success in an all-domain, combined arms approach.
In an ever-changing world, the adaptability, resilience, and warrior spirit of I MEF Marines has proven timeless. The current generation of I MEF Marines carries that legacy forward and stands ready to defend America's interests, respond to emergencies, and contribute to global security whenever and wherever called upon.
I MARINE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION STREAMER
JOINT MERITORIOUS UNIT AWARD STREAMER WITH ONE OAK LEAF CLUSTER
NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION STREAMER WITH FOUR BRONZE STARS
NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE STREAMER WITH TWO BRONZE STARS
ARMED FORCES EXPEDITIONARY STREAMER
SOUTHWEST ASIA SERVICE STREAMER WITH THREE BRONZE STARS
AFGHANISTAN CAMPAIGN STREAMER WITH TWO BRONZE STARS
IRAQ CAMPAIGN STREAMER WITH THREE BRONZE STARS
GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM EXPEDITIONARY STREAMER
GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM SERVICE STREAMER
1969 - 1989
ACTIVATED 8 NOVEMBER 1969 AT OKINAWA, JAPAN, AS
I MARINE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
REDESIGNATED 18 AUGUST 1970 AS I MARINE AMPHIBIOUS FORCE
RELOCATED DURING APRIL 1971 TO CAMP PENDLETON, CALIFORNIA
REDESIGNATED 5 FEBRUARY 1988 AS I MARINE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
1990 - 2021
PARTICIPATED IN OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM,
SOUTHWEST ASIA, AUGUST 1990 - APRIL 1991
PARTICIPATED IN OPERATION RESTORE HOPE, SOMALIA, DECEMBER 1992 - MAY 1993
ELEMENTS PARTICIPATED IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH, IRAQ,
JANUARY - FEBRUARY 1998
ELEMENTS PARTICIPATED IN OPERATION DESERT THUNDER, IRAQ,
FEBRUARY - JUNE 1998
DEPLOYED IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, KUWAIT,
PARTICIPATED IN OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, IRAQ,
MARCH - OCTOBER 2003, AUGUST 2004 - FEBRUARY 2005,
FEBRUARY 2006 - FEBRUARY 2007 AND JANUARY 2008 - FEBRUARY 2009
PARTICIPATED IN OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, AFGHANISTAN,
MARCH 2010 - MARCH 2011, MARCH - DECEMBER 2012 AND
JANUARY - DECEMBER 2014
ELEMENTS PARTICIPATED IN OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE, IRAQ,
APRIL 2015 - APRIL 2021