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Forces: U.S. & Coalition/Marines
Deployments in the Persian Gulf
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An infantry Marine with Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, looks out from his fighting position inside Wadi Al Salam Cemetery in Najaf on August 6, 2004.  
11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Home camp: Camp Pendleton, California

Deployed: Western Iraq

Units: The 2,200 Marines in the 11th MEU are part of Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment; Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166 (Reinforced); or MEU Service Support Team 11.

Duties: In Iraq, the 11th MEU has been part of the recent battle in Najaf against the Medhi Army militia loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The MEU assumed operational control of Najaf and Qadisiyah provinces from the U.S. Army during a ceremony at Forward Operating Base Duke on July 31, 2004.

A MEU is the smallest of the Marine Air-Ground Task Forces and consists of approximately 1,900 Marines and 100 naval personnel. It is usually deployed aboard an amphibious assault ship, a dock landing ship and an amphibious transport dock. An MEU is typically organized as follows:
• A command element
• A ground combat element that is built on an infantry battalion and is typically armed with four tanks, six howitzers and 13 amphibious assault vehicles
• A composite aviation squadron with 22 helicopters and six strike fighters
• A logistical support element known as a MEU Service Support Group

In some circumstances, like the war in Iraq, an MEU is part of a larger Marine air-ground task force like the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

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