Marine F-35Bs with the 13th MEU Enter Middle East for First Time (excerpt)
(Source: Marine Corps Times; posted Sept. 06, 2018)
By Shawn Snow
The USS Essex steams towards the Horn of Africa for a two-week exercise with F-35Bs parked on its deck along with V-22 Osprey tiltrotors and CH-53E and Sea Hawk helicopters. (USN photo)
F-35Bs embarked with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, or MEU, have recently just entered the U.S. Central Command area of operations for the first time.

According to a photo uploaded by the Marine Corps showing the F-35B, the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship Essex entered the 5th fleet area of operations. The U.S. 5th Fleet is responsible for the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and parts of the Indian Ocean, and is a component command of CENTCOM.

The 13th MEU’s entrance into the CENTCOM arena heralds the first time the F-35B has entered the volatile Middle East arena and puts the high-tech aircraft closer to the fight against possible ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria, or as a counter to sophisticated Russian and Syrian air defense systems in Syria.

But the 13th MEU’s F-35s are not going to be dropping ordnance on targets in the Middle East just yet.

The 13th MEU is slated to kick off a two-week Theater Amphibious Combat Rehearsal, or TACR, off the coast of Djibouti on Sept. 8, according to a command release. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Marine Corps Times website.


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