News: 26th MEU trains aboard ship, builds rapport with Sailors
Story by Lance Cpl. Santiago G. Colon Jr.
NORFOLK, Va. – Marines and Sailors with 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit took another big step in their training schedule by traveling more than 150 miles to Norfolk, Va., to participate in an Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON)/ Marine Expeditionary Unit Integration Training exercise with the Sailors of PHIBRON-4 aboard USS Kearsarge, USS New York, and USS Carter Hall, this week.
More MEU Marines and Sailors boarded the ships via amphibious craft and helicopter from Camp Lejeune, N.C., after the ships left Norfolk, Tuesday. This was the first time since their 2009 deployment 26th MEU service members have trained aboard the decks of amphibious vessels.
During the three-week training evolution, MEU Marines will be introduced to life aboard the ships and will participate in training exercises that will require working side-by-side with the Sailors of PHIBRON-4.
"One of the big goals of this training is for the Marines and Sailors to learn to work together to develop good working relationships between the blue and green," said Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah R. Warnick, fires chief for command element, 26th MEU.
MEU Marines plan to conduct rapid response planning, live fire raids, landing qualifications for MEU pilots and crews, and amphibious operations from the ships' well decks. During PMINT, PHIBRON-4 Sailors will provide invaluable support to Marines during their training, including logistical coordination, movement of troops and support aboard the ship.
"PMINT is a chance for Marines to get in touch with their roots as soldiers of the sea," said Warnick. "For a lot of Marines this is their first time aboard ship, and this is their chance to gain their sea legs." Warnick said that conducting missions from ship adds complexity to tasks Marines normally conduct ashore. Some new considerations include working in tighter spaces, adhering to different time and safety considerations, logistical needs and other factors.
The Camp Lejeune-based 26th MEU is comprised of Battalion Landing Team 3/8, Combat Logistics Battalion 26, and Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266. Following PMINT, the MEU will continue to train for deployment aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group this fall.