400 More Marines Head Toward Libya
If we take Gates at his word, it would appear Marines landing in Libya would come under "contingency planning." They've been deployed to the Keersarge, which would already have the 26th MEU. Amphibious assault? So much for only no flight zones, I guess.
The Pentagon is sending an additional 400 Marines to join the amphibious assault ship Kearsarge near North Africa in response to the unrest in Libya, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the Kearsarge and the amphibious transport dock Ponce to move from the U.S. Central Command region into the Mediterranean Sea to provide the capability for evacuation or humanitarian aid.
“We are obviously looking at a lot of options and contingencies,” Gates said Tuesday at a Pentagon briefing.
U.S. military officials are closely tracking the events in Libya, where armed rebels are clashing with military forces loyal to the Arab nation’s longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Gates downplayed the prospect of military action in Libya, noting that there is no clear support from the United Nations or a consensus among U.S. allies.
The Kearsarge deployed in August with an amphibious readiness group with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, but most of those Marines have deployed to Afghanistan. The 400 Marines will be coming from 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, Camp Lejeune, N.C.