Brig. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson will assume command of the Marine unit headed to Afghanistan to stop a resurgent Taliban.
Lt. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, commanding general of II Marine Expeditionary Force, will preside over Monday's ceremony. The Camp Lejeune based Second Marine Expeditionary Brigade will deploy later this spring as part of a surge of forces to Afghanistan. The unit last deployed to Iraq in 2003.
The 8,000 Marines are expected to go first, followed by an Army brigade, totaling about 4,000 troops, and 5,000 support forces. The United States has slightly more than 30,000 troops in the country now.