500 Marines head to Spain to start new security unit

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Five hundred Marines are en route to Spain to establish a new security force tasked with rapid response protection duties for U.S. citizens, government workers and facilities in Africa.

The unit will also be tasked with rescuing pilots who are crashed or shot down and with evacuating other military troops and officials when necessary, CNN reported.

The force, to be based at Moron Air Base in the southern region of Spain, will focus on rapid security deployments to the northern regions of Africa, where unrest has raged since the 2012 attacks on America’s facility in Libya, CNN reported.

Once situated, the Marines will be tasked with standing ready for emergency flight within six hours of receiving deployment orders, CNN said. Such a prompt response was not possible in September 2012, when U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi, Libya, a Pentagon spokesman told CNN.

The Marines began deploying to Spain on Wednesday and have 30 days to get up and running. Once complete, the unit will include 225 Marines specifically for ground combat, intelligence and communications and another 225 to operate the six V-22 Osprey aircraft and the two C-130 planes, CNN said.

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