MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
A sense of pride could be felt as Marines, Sailors, friends and families gathered to attend a deactivation ceremony for Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan aboard Camp Pendleton, California, Jan. 9; symbolically closing another chapter in Marine Corps history following the 13-year-long conflict known as Operation Enduring Freedom.
Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan officially took authority of Regional Command (Southwest) from II MEF (Forward) Feb. 5, 2014, and assumed the responsibility to lead coalition operations in Helmand and Nimroz provinces.
“We were the last Marine Air-Ground Task Force to go out there before the transition of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization mission in Afghanistan,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel D. Yoo, commanding general of MEB-A. “We were very instrumental in force generating an Afghan National Security Force from the ground up.”
During MEB-A’s time in Afghanistan assisting the ANSF, many notable milestones were achieved — of significance was the Afghan presidential elections, April 5.
“The elections were a milestone,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Dinsmore, operations officer, MEB-A. “It demonstrated the continuum of the effectiveness that Marines had in Helmand province from 2009 to 2014.”
The 2014 elections were sub-sequential to the ones that took place in 2009. U.S. forces did not play a role during these elections, unlike in 2009.
“It was a step back and watch,” said Dinsmore. “During the 2009 elections, coalition forces at that time did play a large role in providing security, in this one it was a next step. We allowed the Afghan security forces to prove that they could provide security for their own elections and they did.”
Another major event while MEB-A was in Afghanistan was the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement. The agreement provides a long-term framework for the relationship between Afghanistan and the United States after the drawdown of U.S. forces.
“The signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement shows good faith by the Afghan that they want international support and enduring partnership,” said Yoo. “It’s a very good sign of what’s to come in Afghanistan.”
The liftoff of the 2nd and 4th Brigade Security Force Assistance Advisor Teams, the opening of the Shorabak Trauma Center, a Role II facility and the 215th Corps operations in the Regional Corps Battle School without any advisor assistance were some of the other milestones during the MEB-A’s journey.
The deactivation of MEB-A marked the end to another mission in efforts to build the strength and independent capabilities of the Afghan National Security Force.
Marines continue training to remain ready and relevant to respond to any crisis around the globe at moment’s notice.
“We cased the colors of the MEB today and the Marines and Sailors went back to their parent commands. If the need arises and the commandant directs, we will stand up another organization in order to support the requirements of our nation,” concluded Yoo.