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California Marines heading to Central and South America on Amphibious Ship

California Marines heading to Central and South America on Amphibious Ship

Story by CPT Joshua Hays on 09/18/2019

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.- Approximately 200 U.S. Marines and Sailors will embark on a U.S. Navy amphibious ship heading to Central and South America for the month of October.

Marines and Sailors from across I Marine Expeditionary Force will participate in various humanitarian assistance and disaster relief-focused events in Central and South America.

The command element for the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force, will serve as the headquarters, forming the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – WASP team.

“Embarking Marines and Sailors from the 13th MEU and I MEF aboard an amphibious ship is both an excellent training opportunity for the Navy and Marine Corps team and continues our efforts in Naval Integration,” said Col. Andrew Priddy, SPMAGTF-WASP commander. “We look forward to serving alongside our Navy counterparts and training with our Central American and South American partners during several humanitarian-themed events.”

In December 2018, a similar task force was formed to conduct a bilateral engagement in Peru. This iteration looks to build upon the previous training and seeks additional opportunities to support other partner nations in the region.

“SPMAGTF – WASP is the latest in a long line of engagements with our Central American and South American partners,” said the SPMAGTF – WASP operations officer, Maj. Sean Williams. “The SPMAGTF – WASP mission will strengthen the interoperability between the Navy-Marine Corps team and partner nations.”

Units participating from I Marine Expeditionary force include the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit command element; a platoon from 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division; a detachment of MV-22 Ospreys from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 (VMM-166), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing; and various logistics enablers from across 1st Marine Logistics Group.

Training opportunities such as SPMAGTF – WASP allows the U.S. Marine Corps to work together with partner nation militaries and creates a unified effort to respond to contingencies such as humanitarian crises and natural disasters.

Media interested in covering SPMAGTF – WASP engagements should contact Capt. Josh Hays, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit Communication Strategy and Operations (formerly Public Affairs), at or the MARFORSOUTH public affairs chief, Gunnery Sgt. Michael Cifuentes, at

Imagery available at:


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