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Marines and sailors with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit have arrived in Kuwait for two weeks of training, according to a unit news release.

When the unit finishes its training in Kuwait, it will remain in the region as a strategic reserve, the news release says.

As a strategic reserve force, the 26th MEU is at the disposal of the CENTCOM commander, said Marine Lt. Col. Matthew McLaughlin, a CENTCOM spokesman.

In this capacity, the unit can be sent anywhere in the entire CENTCOM area of responsibility, McLaughlin said.

This is different from a call-forward force, which falls directly under the Multi-National Force — Iraq commander, McLaughlin said.

In November, the 15th MEU was moved from Kuwait to Iraq while serving as a call-forward force. The unit was replaced by a brigade with the 82nd Airborne Division, which also was sent to Iraq.

The 26th MEU left North Carolina in January aboard the USS Bataan Strike Group and has been in the CENTCOM area of operations since February. So far, the unit has conducted exercises with the Kenyan and Djiboutian militaries and supported U.S. Navy forces in the region.

The training at the Udairi Range complex will allow troops with the MEU to prepare for operations throughout the U.S. Central Command theater of operations, the news release says.


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