STUTTGART, Germany — A Spain-based U.S. Marine crisis-response force began its redeployment back to Europe on Sunday after operating for several months in Africa in connection with the conflict in South Sudan, where Marines were sent to assist in the evacuation of U.S. citizens.
The unit, which was forward-stationed at Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa’s headquarters in Djibouti, arrived in Africa on Dec. 24 aboard two KC-130Js and four MV-22B Ospreys, according to a news release from Africa Command.
The Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response out of Moron, Spain, was then sent to Uganda to provide a faster response to the crisis in South Sudan, where ethnic clashes forced the U.S. to evacuate U.S. citizens and some embassy staff.
“We were tasked by U.S. AFRICOM to reposition a platoon sized element and a KC-130J aircraft in Entebbe, Uganda,” Capt. D. Oliver David, a public affairs officer, said in a news release. He said that the repositioning, which was made with the cooperation of Ugandan authorities, enables quick response to protect U.S. personnel and facilities.
The movement of about 150 Marines from Spain to Djibouti and Uganda served as the longest insert conducted by the force since its inception in 2013, AFRICOM said. The pre-positioning of the force totaled more than 3,400 nautical miles from Spain to Djibouti and an additional 800 nautical miles from Djibouti to Uganda.