2nd MAW Marines with 26th MEU aid efforts in Libya

24 Mar 2011 | Lance Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki

Elements of Marine Attack Squadron 542 attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit have recently flown combat operations in support of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn.

In response to violent and inhumane acts by Col. Moammar Gadhafi, the dictator of Libya, the United Nations responded to pleas of help from the Libyan people and the Arab world, adopting U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, authorizing member states to take all necessary measures to protect civilians from Gadhafi’s assaults.

Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, which includes the 26th MEU, began enforcing the resolution, attacking enemy anti-aircraft and ground units.

“Our primary concern was ensuring the people inside Ajdubiya were safe from Gaddafi’s artillery and tanks,” said Col. Mark J. Desens, commanding officer of 26th MEU, referring to a Libyan city under siege by Gaddafi’s forces. “Everything we are seeing following these strikes indicates that his forces are now less capable of threatening the town than before.”

President of the United States Barack H. Obama said the international community had a moral obligation to protect the people of Libya.

“I want the American people to know that the use of force is not our first choice, and it’s not a choice that I make lightly,” Obama said in a statement March 19. “But we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy, and his forces step up their assaults on cities like Benghazi and Misurata, where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government.”

Maj. Gen. Jon M. Davis, commanding general of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, said 2nd MAW aircraft are ready to accomplish any mission when unforeseen emergencies take place.

“We have a MEU air combat element off the coast of Libya,” Davis said. “By every account, they’re absolutely knocking it out of the park. We are sea-based, able to use the sea for maneuver space. We are tailored to support missions across the spectrum of military operations. They’re making us all proud, showing the immense utility, flexibility, agility and professionalism of 2nd MAW units and the Marine Corps at large.”

Sgt. Maj. Robert T. Roddy, sergeant major of VMA- 542, expressed pride in the role his Marines are playing in this operation.

“I am proud of our Marines with the 26th MEU for the hard work they are doing to support the mission,” said Roddy. “I am excited for them to be able to use the training they have received in a real-world mission. We are keeping them in our prayers and expect nothing but the best from them.”

For more information, visit the 26th MEU's official website at

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point