A new detachment of Marines and sailors from 1st Battalion, 10th Marines out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is headed to the Middle East in support of operations against ISIS, military officials said today.
The detachment, of an unspecified size, will replace Marines already deployed to the region to provide "critical fire support to coalition and local partnered forces," officials with II Marine Expeditionary Force said in an announcement.
The announcement did not specify whether this new detachment of Marines is bound for Iraq or Syria. However, the new deployment does come roughly seven months after the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit dispatched a new team of several hundred Marines armed with M777 155mm howitzers into Syria to set up an artillery base.
The goal of the detachment was to provide support to coalition forces as they assaulted Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital city of the Islamic State. That fight continues today, though recent reports indicate American-backed forces are gaining ground against the militants. More than 75 percent of the city has now been cleared of ISIS fighters, according to U.S. News and World Report.
In April, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told Military.com that the Marine artillery post in Syria had moved to aid the ongoing fight, highlighting its design as a mobile position, rather than a fixed installation.
In July, the Marine Corps released new video showing the unit in action, with footage of a Marine artillery strike from an undisclosed location devastating an ISIS artillery position near Raqqa.
Marine Corps artillery assets have also seen action against the Islamic State in Iraq. In early 2016, a small howitzer team was sent from the deployed 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit to establish Fire Base Bell, a position near Mosul that was later renamed Kara Soar Base.
During that deployment, one Marine would be killed in action: Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin died as a result of indirect fire March 19, 2016, shortly after the Marines arrived at the position. Four other Marines were wounded in the same enemy attack.
The base was ultimately turned over to Army forces when the Marines returned home later in 2016.