Artillery Marines Head To Syria Ahead Of Raqqa Offensive

news
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan

A contingent of artillery Marines recently arrived in Syria to support friendly forces isolating Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State, according to Marine Corps Times.


Though U.S. Central Command did not identify the unit now in Syria, Marine Corps Times’ Jeff Schogol noted that they seem likely to belong to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is in the region on a scheduled deployment with USS Bataan’s amphibious ready group. On April 23, the 24th MEU posted a photo to the unit’s Facebook page, showing artillery Marines at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, firing M777 A2 howitzers at an artillery range.

If the recently arrived Marines are in fact from the 24th MEU, this marks the third time in just over a year that artillery Marines from a MEU have deployed to establish or man a semi-permanent fire base in support of ground operations against the Islamic State.

Related: Marine Expeditionary Unit Returns Home From Syria Deployment »

The first was in March 2016, when roughly 180 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit established Fire Base Bell, in Iraq, and fired more than 2,000 artillery rounds from their Howitzers over a two-and-a-half month stretch in support of Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in Mosul. The forward-positioned fire base came under frequent fire and on March 19, 2016, Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin was killed, and eight other Marines were wounded in an ISIS attack on the base. The artillery Marines were eventually replaced by an Army battery in 2016.

Then in March of this year, Marines from the 11th MEU arrived in Syria, where they pre-positioned howitzers to provide artillery support for friendly ground forces. Based on Marine Corps Times’ coverage, it appears the newly arrived Marines — ostensibly from the 24th MEU — have taken over that mission. News of the 11th MEU’s arrival in Syria came to light around the same time that Army Strykers belonging to the 75th Ranger Regiment were spotted in Northeast Syria, Task & Purpose’s Adam Linehan reported in March.

The 11th MEU is on its way home to San Diego, California, and is slated to arrive later this week.

A Marine expeditionary unit offers commanders and leaders flexibility in conducting humanitarian aid missions, and functions as a hard-hitting and highly versatile tool for waging war. When joined by an amphibious readiness group, a Marine expeditionary unit functions as a self-contained fighting force, able to put troops ashore, and provide them with air, fires and logistical support.

(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton

At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.

Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.

They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.

What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.

Read More Show Less
Heckler & Koch's first batch of M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the employee behind a firearm company's Facebook page decided to goaded a bunch of Marines into destroying their brand new firearms? Now you know.

Read More Show Less

A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.

"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.

Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."

Read More Show Less
Members of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and 1st Transportation Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, prepare a seven-ton Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTRV) to be lifted by a CH-53E Super Stallion at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., on Jan. 16, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Clare J. McIntire)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

If you are in the market for any size of military surplus vehicle, keep an eye on GovPlanet. The online auction house is about to start selling U.S. Navy and Marine Corps surplus M1161 ITV Growlers and seven-ton Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement trucks.

Read More Show Less
Airmen with the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron pump water from a flooded common living area to an area with less impact on the local population, Dec. 13, 2009, in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force/ Staff Sgt. Sharon Singer)

The definition of insanity, the old saying goes, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result — a definition that applies perfectly to the Trump administration's response to the looming national security threat of global climate change.

Read More Show Less