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    26th MEU(SOC) Strengthens Interoperability with Italian San Marco Brigade Marines

    26th MEU(SOC) Integrates with Italian San Marco Brigade Marines During Bilateral Exercise

    Photo By Cpl. Kyle Jia | U.S. Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable)...... read more read more



    Story by 1st Lt. Stephanie Downing 

    26th Marine Expeditionary Unit     

    TARANTO, Italy – The Marines and Sailors of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)), embarked on the USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), are participating in Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) interoperability training with Italian naval and maritime forces to enhance interoperability as NATO Allies and sustain readiness in MEU core mission essential tasks, Taranto, Italy, Feb. 21-24, 2024.

    “The Italian interoperability exercise highlights our commitment to building partnerships and enhancing interoperability, while maintaining a presence in the Mediterranean Sea,” said Col. Dennis “Dolf” Sampson, Commanding Officer of the 26th MEU(SOC). “These sorts of exercises provide an opportunity for us to sustain readiness with a reliable partner and serve to highlight the flexibility and unique operational capabilities you only find with a forward-deployed Marine Expeditionary Unit.”

    The training events will include a subject matter expert exchange focused on offensive and defensive operations, fires and mortar integration between the 26th MEU(SOC)’s Ground Combat Element and Italian San Marco Brigade Marines.

    This interoperability training builds upon the relationships built during the first half of the deployment, where 30 Marines assigned to Italian San Marco Brigade embarked and deployed aboard the USS Mesa Verde, from August to November 2023, fully integrating with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/6.

    “It was very unique to have the Italian San Marco Brigade Marines onboard the USS Mesa Verde at the beginning of deployment. We were able to create bonds, share cultures, TTPs and SOPs with the Italian Marines for over three months of deployment” said Staff Sgt. Victor Acosta, platoon sergeant with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/6.

    While the Italian Marines had the opportunity to experience the U.S. Marine Corps training operations, activities and investments (OAIs) deployed on USS Mesa Verde, this time the 26th MEU(SOC) Marines will have the opportunity to experience training hosted by the Italian Marines.

    “We are looking forward to another opportunity to get off of the ship and work with our Italian partners again to refine areas in our SOP and have the ability to train together,” said Staff Sgt. Victor Acosta. “Training with our Italian partners is important because it shows the proof of concept on how we can work side by side one another. It also shows the interoperability between our forces and flexibility to support our NATO Allies and partners,” Acosta continued.

    The 26th MEU(SOC) remains postured as the Joint Staff Immediate Response Force, capable of rapidly responding to emergent crises across the Tri-Geographic Combatant Command region, with specific attention and focus on providing flexible response options from distributed options within the Mediterranean Sea.

    The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), with embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., Allied, and partners interest.

    Headquartered in Naples, Italy, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa operates U.S. Naval Forces in the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.


    Date Taken: 02.21.2024
    Date Posted: 02.21.2024 08:19
    Story ID: 464324
    Location: TARANTO, IT

    Web Views: 622
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