Marine Photographer Cpl. Yvonna Guyette captured members of the Aviation Combat Element, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit doing joint operations with one of England’s most heralded special operations units, the 42 Commando (Pronounced Four Two Commando). This was a meeting of two of the worlds most advanced militaries to cooperate on maritime operations, just a day in the life for Marines assigned to such forward deployed forces.
What most folks may not realize, however, is the variety of humanitarian “good guy” missions carried out by these same hardened, battle tested Marines. Given their reputation for ferocity in combat, it is hard to imagine the Marines as a force which literally responds to nation sized emergencies, rescuing civilians, restoring order, evacuating folks from dangerous areas while handing out food and medical supplies to those in need.
Don’t be mistaken. The 22nd Marines have an illustrious record in combat including the invasion of Granada in 1983 and two deployments to the war in Afghanistan. These brave souls carry on the tradition.
But upon closer inspection, we find that Marines are often called to the rescue in completely humanitarian ways.
Because of its agility and ability to move quickly into remote areas, the 22nd Expeditionary has reinforced embassies across Africa, evacuating civilians in place like Liberia, Zaire, the Central African Republic, and Djibouti. When a tropical storm devastated the Bay of Bengal, the 22nd aided both India and Bangladesh with immediate lifesaving assistance.
Perhaps most famously, these Marines were the first on the scene when an earthquake shattered the nation of Haiti killing untold thousands. The men and women of the 22nd swooped in to treat and evacuate the wounded and to distribute lifesaving food and medicine.
Tough, you bet. Compassionate. You betcha.
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