USS WASP, At Sea --
The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit departed Norfolk Naval Station April 9, 2012, sailing south aboard the USS Wasp to New Orleans and Florida. The 26th MEU command element and elements of Company C, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division will demonstrate the combined strength of the Navy-Marine Corps team and honor the bicentennial of the War of 1812, whose last battle was fought in New Orleans.
While in port, the 26th MEU will participate in a number of events including static displays, ship tours, community relations efforts, and meeting with local and international dignitaries, including representatives from Canada, Indonesia, Ecuador, France and England. Command representatives from the MEU will participate in cook-offs, hospital visits and highlight the amphibious capabilities of the Navy-Marine Corps team throughout greater New Orleans.
The War of 1812 was an extension of the Napoleonic Wars in continental Europe, the war ignited in America with the British assault on Washington, D.C. For two years, the British fought tooth and nail, invading from Canada and from the far south, striking in New Orleans, trying to bring the young nation to its knees. The Americans fought with desperation and luck across its frontiers, defeating the British through a series of military victories.
The last battle of the war was fought in New Orleans in late-1814 through the early months of 1815. The defense of the city was waged by future president Andrew Jackson and 4,000 American troops. Over the course of several days, the logistically and numerically superior British force was repelled, in no small part to a small contingent of Marines led by Maj. Daniel Carmick and Lt. Francis de Bellevue of the New Orleans Navy Yard. The war actually ended before 1815 through the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, but due to the slow communications systems, word of the Treaty did not reach New Orleans until February 1815. Later that month, Congress passed a resolution recognizing the heroics of Carmick and his Marines during the Battle of New Orleans.
The Commemoration of the War of 1812 ceremonies will take place in New Orleans from April 17 through April 23. The MEU will then move on to Port Everglades, Fla., where it will be from April 25 to April 30.