Marine Units Extended on Okinawa

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2007 - About 1,200 Marines who deployed to Okinawa in January to serve as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit will remain on the Japanese island about five months longer than originally planned, Marine Corps officials said today.

Instead of returning home in August, the Marines will remain in Okinawa until January to most effectively support both the plus-up of forces in Iraq and the other combatant commanders' requirements in the global war on terrorism, officials said.

The units affected are:

-- 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment; Battery E, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment; Platoon, Company A, 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion; and a detachment of Marine Light Attack Squadron 267, all from Camp Pendleton, Calif.;

-- 2nd Platoon, Company C, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, from Twentynine Palms, Calif.;

-- Marine Attack Squadron 214, from Yuma, Ariz.; and

-- A detachment from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462, from Miramar, Calif.

The 31st MEU is a composite force composed of units home-stationed in Okinawa and units home-based in the United States. The MEU Headquarters, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 and Combat Logistics Battalion 31 are home-stationed in Okinawa.

Elements of the 31st MEU are conducting training in the Pacific region.

Speaking in Tokyo yesterday, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that while less-than-ideal deployment and rotation timetables are sometimes necessary, the military will be able to meet any challenges it faces.

"There is no question that we would prevail against an adversary," he said. "But we would probably not be able to do it as quickly and as efficiently as our own plans call for."

Pace said people often confuse what the military would like to do with what it can do if called upon. He used Army deployments as an example. He said the Army would like to have one-year deployments followed by two years at home stations. Instead, the U.S. Army has one-year deployments with one year at home stations. "That type of rotation is not what we would like to do, but it is sustainable," he said.

The normal Marine rotation schedule is seven months of deployment followed by seven months at home stations.

(Compiled from U.S. Marine Corps and American Forces Press Service reports.)

[Web Version:]