June 23, 2016 —
SOUTHWEST ASIA (June 19, 2016) — Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert B. Neller,
and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green,
visited U.S. Marines and Sailors with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground
Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command Sunday, to
discuss the importance of the Marine Corps mission and presence in U.S.
Central Command during a town hall forum.
The task force, in its fourth iteration, is deployed to the U.S. Central
Command area of responsibility with a crisis response mission spanning
“This [deployment] is hard because you’re constantly training, preparing
and rehearsing for missions; …it’s only going to get hotter and nothing
may happen,” said Neller. “But you have to be ready.”
Marines and Sailors with SPMAGTF-CR-CC rigorously train for a variety of
contingencies in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, dispersed through
several host nations with the ability to provide combat power and crisis
response capabilities at a moments’ notice. One such contingency is the
tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, a key component to the
task force’s mission of providing personnel recovery. The combination of
aircraft, pilots, and TRAP force personnel provide aircrews supporting
OIR with an exceptional personnel recovery capability.
“My request, Marines, is that we remain focused and disciplined. Do your job,” said Neller. “We cannot fail.”
Marines have been operating as part of SPMAGTF-CR-CC in support of
Operation Inherent Resolve since the task force’s inception in October
2014. Beyond the TRAP mission the task force maintains, its other
mission sets reflect the larger effort against the Islamic State of Iraq
and the Levant, characterizing the flexible nature of the MAGTF:
conducting kinetic air strike missions, participating in security
cooperation and strengthening partner capacity within the region. These
missions are conducted by different units across the CENTCOM AOR with
the task force command element planning and coordinating all efforts,
led by Col. Kenneth R. Kassner, commanding officer of SPMAGTF-CR-CC.
Neller, having previously served in Iraq as the deputy commanding
general of I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) during Operation Iraqi
Freedom from 2006-2007, was optimistic about the contributions
SPMAGTF-CR-CC has been making to support the greater OIR effort.
“The U.S. and coalition strike program wouldn’t exist without what you’re doing here,” said Neller.
As Iraqi Security Forces continue to gain ground and momentum against
ISIL, the efforts of dozens of regional and international nations are
all critical components in the campaign against ISIL as OIR evolves. To
that end, Neller was confident in the ISF’s ability to liberate Iraq.
“The land Da’esh took in Iraq…is continuing to be diminished as the
Iraqis take back control,” said Neller. “We have skin in this game. We
want the Iraqis to be successful.”
After the commandant’s remarks, Green addressed the crowd of Marines and
Sailors, encouraging them to take care of one another. He ended by
echoing Neller’s caution to the task force: to stay vigilant in a
deployed environment, and to always be ready for anything at any time.
“The enemy always gets a vote,” said Green.