An ABC affiliate in North Carolina says more than 2,000 U.S. Marines are on the ground in Libya.
WCTI-TV in New Bern reports those Marines, assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) at Camp Lejuene, are "preserving the sanctity of the city [of Ajdubiyah] and the safety of the civilians within it."
Capt. Timothy Patrick with the 26th MEU told the station: "In Libya right now they are doing exactly what we need them to do. They are doing what they are told, and right now that's protecting Libyan people against Qadhafi forces."
Evidently the Marines' efforts are being successful. The commanding officer of the 26th MEU, Col. Mark Desens, says that following a second round of strikes by AV-8B Harrier jets, the Libyan dictator's forces "are now less capable of threatening the town than before."
According to the report, the 2,200 Marines with the 26th MEU are nearing the end of their deployment in the Mediterranean area and are due to be replaced with Marines from the 22nd MEU out of Camp Lejeune. A March 7 notice from the commanding officer of the 22nd MEU says that unit was being deployed to the Mediterranean Sea earlier than previously planned.