The coming front... Link: DoD announces new Afghanistan rotation - Marine Corps News, news from Iraq - Marine Corps Times ---------------------------------------------- "Up to 2,000 Marines will deploy to Afghanistan in November to replace the 3,400 leathernecks scheduled to return home in the coming months, the Defense Department announced Monday. The Marine Air-Ground Task Force will comprise units from across the Corps, officials said. Camp Lejeune’s 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will form the MAGTF’s ground element, according to Maj. David Nevers, a spokesman for the Corps. Led by Lt. Col. D.L. Odom, 3/8 recently completed predeployment training at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif. It’s not immediately clear which units will form the headquarters, logistics and aviation sections of the ad-hoc unit, Nevers said. Approximately 3,700 soldiers from the Army’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, are scheduled to join the MAGTF in January, according to the Pentagon. Both units were previously scheduled to deploy to Iraq. The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit along with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines are currently serving in Afghanistan. The 24th MEU is fighting near the Afghan-Pakistan border while 2/7 is engaged in a mission to train Afghan security forces. It’s unclear if 3/8 will assume either of those roles or if it will take on a new mission, Nevers said. And while the deployment ensures a continued Marine presence in volatile southern Afghanistan, the smaller force means fewer Marines on the ground. Historically, fighting in Afghanistan is fiercest in the spring and summer. Indigenous forces tend to pull back during the harsh Afghan winters. The 2/7 commander, Lt. Col. Richard Hall, acknowledged last month in a discussion with military bloggers that his unit has suffered significant casualties in Afghanistan. The move to send 3/8 to Afghanistan comes a few weeks after Commandant Gen. James Conway made his latest entreaty to shift the Corps’ focus from Iraq to Afghanistan. He has been unabashed for more than year in calling for Marines to take on the Afghanistan mission."