11/01/2013: Recently, the Special Purpose MAGTF with its Ospreys landed in France for training with French forces.
Credit:24th Marine Expeditionary Unit:10/19/13
- In the first photo, U.S. Marine, left, with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response spots rounds for a French Legionnaire with the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment of the 6th Light Armored Brigade Oct. 29, 2013, near Camp des Garrigues, France.
The live-fire event was part of a bilateral exercise between the two units.
SP-MAGTF Crisis Response is a self-mobile, self-sustaining force capable of responding to a range of crises in the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility to protect U.S. and partner-nation interests.
They also conduct military-to-military training exercises with partner nations throughout U.S. Africa Command and U.S. European command.
- In the second photo, Marines with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response show French Legionnaires from the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment of the 6th Light Armored Brigade how to properly fire M4 carbines and M16A4 service rifles Oct. 29, 2013, near Camp des Garrigues, France.
- In the third photo, Adjudant-Chef Alex Rowe, the range officer-in-charge for the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment of the 6th Light Armored Brigade, discusses the conduct of a day of live-fire training between Legionnaires and U.S. Marines with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response Oct. 29, 2013, near Camp des Garrigues, France.
- In the fourth photo, Pfc. Alan Careaga, a native of Raleigh, N.C., and rifleman with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response, fires an M240B medium machine gun atop an Internally Transportable Vehicle Oct. 29, 2013, near Camp des Garrigues, France, during a live-fire bilateral training exercise with Legionnaires from the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment of France’s 6th Light Armored Brigade.
- In the final photo, Pfc. Colt Brink (left), a native of Tampa, Fla., and rifleman with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response, sights through a French-made Fusil d’Assaut de la Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Étienne, or FAMAS, assault rifle during a discussion with a French Legionnaire from the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment of the 6th Light Armored Brigade Oct. 29, 2013, near Camp des Garrigues, France.
Brigadier General James S. O’Meara currently serving as commander, U.S. Marine Forces Europe, and deputy commander, U.S. Marine Forces Africa explains what a SP-MAGTF is:
First of all it is the basic Marine Corps air ground team or MAGTF approach but applied to a Special Purpose Mission.
Special means it’s uniquely tailored to a particular mission or a few mission sets.
In this case, the focus is upon security embassy reinforcements or a noncombatant evacuation.
Also, it is a rotational force, which provides a crisis response force able, to deal with EUCOM and AFRICOM needs.
General Dempsey provided strategic guidance, which was looking for a force, which operates with a small footprint, and is low-cost, and rotational. This is the answer to that guidance.
The SP-MAGTF meets the need to respond rapidly to a developing situation either proactively or reactively with a small force with a small footprint and has its own organic air, which means that it has operational reach as well.
The force is trained and operational and currently operating from a USAF base at Moran in Spain.
In a separate interview we discussed the process for establishing the SP-MAGTF with one of the Marines involved in shaping the first SP-MAGTF:
SLD: The Marines deployed the SP MAGTF in April?
Major Rhobotham: It was deployed in April and it actually self-deployed. The V-22s flew across the Atlantic, and although it has been done before, this is a new operational reality which folks need to recognize exists. We got all the airplanes where they needed to go flying there, and not being airlifted by the USAF.
SLD: You are preparing to shift out a new group of Marines to replace the currently deployed SP-MAGTF, I believe?
Major Rhobotham: That is correct. The Marines from 365 will return, and the Marines from 162 will go out. And right now, it’s scheduled to be the same package. It is scheduled to be the same number of marines, and the same number of aircraft.
SLD: In your view how is the SP-MAGTF different from a MEU?
Major Rhobotham: It compliments a MEU very, very well. It is a different tool set. It is similar to having both a screwdriver and you’ve got a drill in your toolbox; that drill is a lot like the MEU. It’s a lot more powerful, it can go a lot faster; it can do a little bit more powerful things. But it doesn’t mean you need to throw away your screwdriver.
The SP-MAGTF has a lighter footprint, and we can go to any place that the government sees that needs a little bit of attention; we can drop one of these special purpose MGTFs off.
We can just go wherever we need to, drop it off, and then when that situation’s resolved itself or reached some sort of threshold that we feel comfortable, we can pick this up and move it anywhere we want to.
In the past we would have to fly in infrastructure or move by ship; establish the infrastructure and the diplomatic agreements to place the infrastructure in country. Now I can fly in the force; stay until I wish or need to depart.
A special purpose MGTF is not to replace a MEU; it is to compliment a MEU. And while there are separate commands, they’re not led by the same colonel, they’re designed to complement each other, not to replace each other or be lieu of each other.
And I think that’s probably a point that doesn’t get made enough.
In the above interview, it was underscored that from concept to execution, the standup of the first SP-MAGTF was only 8 months.