A group of 200 Marines from the 1st battalion, 6th Marine Regiment were scheduled to leave early Tuesday morning. The rest of the unit will depart later this week.
The battalion is the first wave of Marines sent to Afghanistan in President Barack Obama's planned increase of 30,000 troops.
More than 1,500 Marines from Camp Lejeune are expected to depart before Christmas. An additional 6,200 are to follow next year.