News: Top General: III MEF, Marines vital to Asia-Pacific
Story by Sgt. Brian Marion
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP SMEDLEY D. BUTLER, Japan - Lt. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck, Jr. spoke to Marines and sailors assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Installations Pacific May 6-8 at all-hands briefs across the island.
Glueck, the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force, talked about crises response, bilateral and multilateral training and reconstituting III MEF.
“We have really raised the bar in terms of our abilities as a crisis response force over the past couple of years due to your efforts,” said Glueck. “I am highly confident in our ability to respond tonight if a crisis were to occur in our area of operations.”
After Glueck’s address, he took questions from the assembled audience.
“It is great that the commanding general is taking time out of his schedule to speak with his Marines,” said 1st Sgt. Tricia M. Smith-Leavy, the first sergeant of Service Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF. “He is feeling the pulse of the Marines. He is letting them know that their voices are heard.”
While talking about crises response, Glueck highlighted III MEF’s ability to respond rapidly and efficiently to natural disasters. One possible scenario could be the city of Kathmandu, Nepal, Glueck stressed, whose population of two to three million people live on a major geologic fault line.
“If a magnitude-7.0 or larger earthquake hits Kathmandu, the result could be about 900,000 people homeless and 300,000 people killed or injured,” said Glueck.
With scientists predicting a major earthquake approximately every 100 years, III MEF developed a comprehensive, proactive crises response plan.
“It’s good that Lt. Gen. Glueck is keeping us informed of what could be happening in our area,” said Lance Cpl. Paola C. Govea, an intelligence analyst with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF. “With information like this, we can make sure we are ready for anything that happens.”
As III MEF stands ready to aid in natural disasters, Marines in the Asia-Pacific region continue to work side-by-side with partner nations during integrated training.
It is Marines training with other nations’ service members and first-responders that make nations stronger, according to Glueck. III MEF conducts exercises throughout the Pacific region, ensuring Marines and sailors of III MEF build strong and lasting relationships.
“Doing these exercises is a good thing, because it prepares us to work together with other nations,” said Lance Cpl. Caleb I. Otoki, a fixed wing aviation mechanic with VMGR-152, MAG-36, 1st MAW, III MEF. “It gives us an understanding of how our partner nations’ militaries work so we can operate together.”
Glueck concluded the briefing by noting that III MEF will soon have all the units required for a fully functioning MEF-level Marine air-ground task force.
Currently, III MEF has two of the three infantry battalions on-island, and the final battalion is scheduled to arrive in the near future, according to Glueck. This will allow III MEF to remain America’s force in readiness, will increase opportunities to train with regional partners and will enable better response to a myriad of crises.
“We will continue doing good things in the nations and communities we engage with across the Asia Pacific region,” said Glueck. “Thank you for a job well done.”