WASIT AND DHI QAR PROVINCES, Iraq -- The 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade is in the process of reforming, washing down its equipment and setting sail for home.
The 2nd MEB left the East Coast of America Jan. 15 on seven amphibious ships from the Navy's Amphibious Group 2. Those same ships, minus USS Portland, will be returning the force to its ports of origin.
Upon arrival in Kuwait Feb. 15, the 2nd MEB gave its aviation combat element, Marine Aircraft Group 29, to I Marine Expeditionary Force to augment the MEF's aviation combat element, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Also, the 2nd MEB gave its combat service support element, Combat Service Support Battalion 22, to I MEF to augment the MEF's combat service support element, 1st Force Service Support Group.
The ground combat element, Regimental Combat Team 2, along with the command element of 2nd MEB formed Task Force Tarawa and became one of the ground combat units of I MEF.
On May 4, MAG-29 and CSSB-22 re-joined the ground combat element under the command element to reform 2nd MEB.
MAG-29 was among the first Marine units sounding the opening volleys of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Assigned two key missions-the takedown of Safwan Hill, and destruction of the eastern Iraq-Kuwait border posts, MAG-29 staged assets ashore early in the operation.
As Marine forces continued north in the following days, MAG-29 supported, amongst other tasks, the seizure of the Al Rumaylah oil fields, the battle of An Nasiriyah, deep Force Reconnaissance team insertions, and host of casualty evacuation missions and logistics support.
The Marine aircraft group flew more than 7,000 flight hours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
CSSB-22 was in direct support of Task Force Tarawa. Task Force Tarawa is most noted for securing the bridges through An Nasiriyah facilitating the forward movement of forces to Baghdad.
"These Marines and Sailors have worked nonstop since the new year. Their dedication, performance, and professionalism have earned them praise and special recognition at all levels within the chain of command. I know that every Marine and Sailor is proud to have had the opportunity to serve during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and it has been my honor to have been their commander," said Brig. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, commanding general, 2nd MEB.