Marines gear up for deployment

Last big push Into Afghanistan

CAMP PENDLETON - In activation ceremonies at Camp Pendleton, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force prepared for its last major deployment to Afghanistan.

"It's a daunting deployment we have ahead of us with several major milestones," said Brig. Gen. Daniel Yoo, who will command Marine forces.

He named the Afghan elections, the continued training and hand over to Afghan forces and the monumental task of deciding what equipment to leave behind or take home.

British forces were on hand for the activation ceremony as a coalition partner. Col. Baz Bennett of the British Army, who is just back from overseas, said security conditions have definitely improved, but he cautioned, "There are, sadly, coalition troops being killed, so while Afghan forces have the combat lead, it is still a dangerous place and still a war zone."

The deployment will involve Marines from Camp Pendleton as well as the air wing from MCAS Miramar. Elements of 1-MEF headquarters will start deploying in January and expected to be there at least a year with full deployment expected by early 2014.

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