On March 16, 2017, the Center for Adaptation and Innovation (CAI) hosted the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) as part of its Returning Commander Speaker Series. The SPMAGTF-CR-CC 16.2 recently returned from a 9-month deployment to Southwest Asia, where they conducted approximately 130 operations as part of their enduring mission to provide crisis response to regions of instability. The SPMAGTF-CR-CC is a rotational contingent of 2,300 Marines and Sailors, that conducts theater security, crisis response, and sustainment operations in support of the Central Command Area of Operations.
During their deployment, the SPMAGTF-CR-CC provided support to Operation Inherent Resolve, and conducted regional crisis response, theatre security cooperation operations, and sustainment and advancing the force training. As part of their support to Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation that works with regional partners to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the SPMAGTF conducted offensive air support, and provided support to Task Force Spartan, Task Force Al Asad, and Al Taqaddum. Additionally, the SPMAGTF sent a force to Qayarrah West for 180 days, to advise and assist the Iraqi Army division and police in the clearance of Mosul.
While conducting theater security cooperation, the SPMAGTF-CR-CC led multiple exercises in Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Egypt as part of their security engagement plan. Additionally, the SPMAGTF supported exercise “Eager Lion,” the largest military exercise the the Central Command area of responsibility. This exercise is a bilateral training exercise, to integrate the Jordanian and U.S. military forces. According to Colonel Kenneth Kassner, the SPMAGTF-CR-CC commanding officer, “all training served to enhance combat and contingency operations, and advance individual and collective skill sets.”
A highlight of this deployment was the level of Navy-Marine Corps integration employed.
Joint Tactical Recovery of Aircraft & Personnel (TRAP) exercises between the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment and the SPMAGTF-CR-CC were conducted, as was an aviation operation in support of Maritime Surface Warfare. The Marines ashore with the SPMAGTF also maintained close ties with their Navy and Marine Corps counterparts afloat throughout their deployment.