On Station: 26th MUE

Two weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, I traveled to the Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune to follow the training and deployment of members of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. A few weeks earlier, the young Marines had been training to fight an abstract enemy but the reality of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States focused their energies. I followed the 26th MEU to their deployment on the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan in the Arabian Sea. These images follow a day like most days on station at sea - flight operations, maintenance, training, boredom.

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune - When these young Marines joined the Corps the United States was at peace.

USS Theodore Roosevelt - All offensive flight operations on the Roosevelt took place at night, so the crew of the Roosevelt lived on a reversed schedule when they slept during the day.

USS Bataan - The Marines of the 26th MUE lived and trained on the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan. The Bataan delivered more than 2,500 Marines and their equipment to Pakistan before they entered Afghanistan, opening Operation Enduring Freedom. The Bataan stayed on station off the coast of Pakistan and completed the longest sustained amphibious assault in U.S. history with sailors not touching ground for over four months.