News: 22nd MEU completes final major pre-deployment exercise
Story by Sgt. Austin Hazard
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) completed its Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) with the U.S. Navy Sailors and ships of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 6 off the East Coast, at sea, Dec. 15, 2013.
COMPTUEX was the final major exercise in the MEU’s pre-deployment training program, which prepares the MEU for its 2014 deployment.
For two weeks, the MEU practiced conducting raids, humanitarian assistance missions and other operations from the USS Bataan (LHD 5), USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), which compose the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).
“Basically, COMPTUEX was our culminating exercise to get certified as a MEU for the deployment,” explained U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jarred Burnett, 22nd MEU intelligence analyst and native of Levittown, Pa. “We had a broad spectrum of missions that we practiced, which we may be tasked with during the deployment, such as humanitarian assistance missions and raids.”
Throughout COMPTUEX, the Bataan ARG and MEU were evaluated by Special Operations Training Group (SOTG) on their ability to plan, prepare and execute missions within the MEU’s unique and compressed six-hour planning cycle. This means the MEU is required to complete its planning process and begin its missions within six hours of receiving an order, as opposed to the 24-hour cycle used by the majority of the Marine Corps. The MEU was also assessed on its ability to operate as a full Marine air-ground task force (MAGTF), which is a scalable, self-sustaining expeditionary force.
“They look at the planning and integration of the blue-green team, how well the Navy and Marine sides work together,” said Lt. Col. Bob Brodie, 22nd MEU operations officer and native of Richboro, Pa. “After the planning process, they have evaluators on the ground and adversary role players to oppose the ground forces. The evaluators watch the action on the objectives and the events in the command and control.”
“We had a lot of moving parts between all of the elements,” added Burnett. “Part of the purpose was to run multiple missions all at once. Really, by doing that, it shows how versatile a MEU can be, filling that array of roles all at once without any help.”
MEUs have 12 mission-essential tasks that cover the spectrum of missions a MEU may receive during a deployment.
“If we’re successful in completing the mission-essential tasks, it is considered a pass,” explained Brodie. “If you fail one, you have to repeat it. We passed every evaluation and did not have any failures. The 22nd MEU is certified by SOTG and ready for deployment.”
“They highlighted that the blue-green team had established above-average relationships, building improved mission success,” Brodie continued.
The MEU is scheduled to deploy in early 2014 to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility with the Bataan ARG as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations.
“I’m excited for the deployment,” said Brodie. “We have an excellent team. Of the six deployments I’ve been on, I’m most confident in the leadership and abilities of this team.”