Cherry Point Harrier Jets Join Military Action In Libya

The international military action in Libya against Muammar al-Qadhafi's forces involved 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit aircraft from Cherry Point.

Strikes from 26th MEU's AV-8B Harriers against Qadhafi's ground forces and air defenses commenced in the early morning hours Sunday, joining an international effort to halt an offensive against the Libyan leader.

The jets were launched from the USS Kearsarge.

President Barack Obama authorized limited military action against Libya Saturday, saying Moammar Gadhafi's continued assault on his own people left the U.S. and its international partners with no other choice.

"Protecting the innocent and conducting combined operations are what we are designed to do," said Col. Mark Desens, commanding officer of 26th MEU. "Our forces are doing both as part of the U.S. commitment to protect Libyan citizens."

Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn is the U.S. Africa Command task force established to provide operational and tactical command and control of U.S. military forces supporting the international response to the unrest in Libya and enforcement of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973.

UNSCR 1973 authorizes all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya under threat of attack by Qadhafi regime forces.

The 26th MEU, which deployed in late August, is made up of about 2,200 Marines and sailors from Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point, and New River.

JTF Odyssey Dawn is commanded by U.S. Navy Admiral Samuel Locklear, III.

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