U.S. Marines attached to Battalion Landing Team 2/2 (2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines Div.) board a CH-53E Super Stallion aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) on April 2 in the Persian Gulf. The Marines were headed to Qatar to participate in Eastern Maverick 2007, the latest in a series of bilateral military exercises between that Gulf nation and the United States. The helicopter belongs to Medium Marine Helicopter Sqdn. 264 (Reinforced) — the Black Knights, based at MCAS New River, N.C. Battalion Landing Team 2/2 is the ground combat element of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. A conventional infantry battalion, it is reinforced with light armored vehicles, reconnaissance units, combat engineers, M198 155mm howitzers, assault amphibious vehicles and M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks. The Black Knights in March supported the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s involvement in Edged Mallet 2007, an annual exercise between U.S. and Kenyan armed forces. Marine leaders consider such exercises critical to understanding the Persian Gulf and Horn of Africa regions and strengthening ties with forces around the world.