Story and photo by Cpl. Robert C. Medina
The Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal was awarded to Marines serving with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit at a ceremony pier side in the Middle East, June 1, representing the entire MEU spread across the Middle Eastern region.
Colonel David W. Coffman, commanding officer of the 13th MEU, presented the award to the Marines in a mass formation.
“Most of 13th MEU’s Marines joined up after 9/11. They signed up knowing they would go in harm’s way,” said Coffman. “I am sure the Marines who earned their GWOTEM today see it as a fulfillment of the commitment they made when they volunteered to serve in the Global War on Terrorism.”
The one-time award is given to those service members who served in a pre-designated specific geographical area, by the Department of Defense, for 30 consecutive or 60 nonconsecutive days in support of Global War on Terrorism Operations on or after September 11, 2001.
Coffman said, “13th MEU Marines and sailors earned this award as a sea-based Marine Air-Ground Task Force, forward deployed into the critical theater of operations for our time, United States Central Command. We are here as the theater reserve for the USCENTCOM Commander, which means we are ready, relevant, and responsive to his needs as he prosecutes the Global War on Terrorism across this region. We are always just a phone call away from moving immediately into decisive combat operations.”
Coffman reminded the Marines and sailors that they are war fighters who came from afar to support operations against terrorism.
“I am tremendously proud of the work we have done so far and especially of the agility and adaptability of this MEU to a dynamic operating environment and unique mission sets, while still remaining true to our enduring focus as a sea-based MAGTF,” he said.