A new front: MarForPac awarded MUC for efforts in Pacific
By Cpl. Isis M. Ramirez
| | February 01, 2013
CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii --
The common perception of a unit commendation is that it usually goes to a highly-decorated battalion of steely-eyed desert warriors.
In contrast, out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, sitting atop the Ko’olau Mountain Range of Oahu, warriors with not-so-dusty boots have played a large part in opening a new chapter for the Marine Corps. They stood in tight formation as the commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, attached the green, yellow, navy and red-colored streamer with its bronze star to the MarForPac colors here Feb.1.
Marines at MarForPac were awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation for spearheading the Corps’ Pacific rebalance efforts Sep. 1, 2010 to Aug. 31, 2012.
“I’m proud of all of you,” said Lt. Gen. Terry G. Robling, commander of MarForPac. “You received this MUC for all the work that you’ve done the last two years. The president said we’ve pivoted, now from Afghanistan, to the Pacific. The truth of the matter is – and you all know this – we never left.”
Between 2010 and 2012, countless hours were poured into preparing the Marine Corps and their soon-to-be hosts for the upcoming changes. While MarForPac supported OEF by supporting the deployment of I Marine Expeditionary Force and multiple battalions and detachments from III MEF to Afghanistan, it still managed to maintain the Corps’ presence in the Pacific and implementing force posture initiatives, including the inaugural rotational force in Australia.
But the hard work started before 2010.
“[In] 1996, we made an agreement with Japan that we would reduce (our presence) in Okinawa,” Robling said. “All of that work was done by this headquarters. So if you wonder what the work those officers and Marines in the decks up there do, that’s what they are working on.”
MarForPac coordinated Marine support during Operation Tomodachi in 2011 after a devastating tsunami in Northeastern Japan. They also reconstituted III MEF by resuming the Unit Deployment Program to Japan, modernized assault support capabilities by adding the MV-22 Osprey to 1st and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wings, and oversaw the reactivation of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Okinawa.
“Every day when I talk to (Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command), he tells me how proud he is to be on a base with Marines who have the ethic to work hard, (train) all the time and do those things,” Robling said. “Quite frankly, I’m proud of that too.”
But as MarForPac celebrated their accomplishments during the streamer ceremony, Robling reminded them that the work has really just begun.
“It’s really been tough work, so congratulations on that,” Robling said. “The work is not over.”