News: 1st MEB welcomes new commander, sets sights on future
Story by Cpl. Jennifer Pirante
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Maj. Gen. Melvin G. Spiese, outgoing commanding general of 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, relinquished command to Brig. Gen. John J. Broadmeadow during a change-of-command ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Dec. 13.
Spiese, who continues to serve as the deputy commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, passed the unit’s colors to Broadmeadow to symbolize the transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability of command from one officer to another.
The 1st MEB, which was reactivated October 2009, is a task-organized crisis response force of I MEF, trained to respond expeditiously to conduct self-sustained combat and humanitarian operations.
During a sit-down interview with the two generals prior to the ceremony, Spiese and Broadmeadow explained how 1st MEB’s capabilities distinguish itself within I MEF and will prove to be a significant fighting force for the future.
“When you take a look at the capabilities we’re able to deliver, the range of weapons systems, our situational awareness on the battlefield, the ability to hit targets with precision, to influence far beyond the space that we have ever done before, 1st MEB becomes a real player,” Spiese said. “It’s certainly not a substitute for I MEF, but in terms of warfare, the 1st MEB is a very significant capability.”
The unit was designed to provide unique, agile force projection capabilities that are greatly enhanced when partnered with naval forces, from assaulting an enemy beachhead to bringing ashore food and supplies to supplement disaster relief. It is the first of three MEBs to stand up throughout the Marine Corps to include II MEF in Camp Lejuene, N.C., and III MEF in Okinawa, Japan.
“We do know forces can do more today than they have ever been able to do,” Spiese said. “The generic notional MEB is an incredible war-fighting formation. From a mission perspective, it can do a heck of a lot. It makes sense for us to make sure we understand it well and are capable of moving and employing it quickly and effectively.”
The 1st MEB put its crisis response capabilities to the test during previous reiterations of exercises such as Dawn Blitz, Javelin Thrust, and Pacific Horizon.
Broadmeadow, who also maintains authority of 1st Marine Logistics Group, said one of the great things about 1st MEB sustained operations is that it is reinvigorating skills comparable to the Maritime Prepositioning Force, most notable during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and most recently during OEF in Afghanistan.
“We still have two MPF squadrons that provide the Marine Corps tremendous flexibility in responding to operations around the world,” Broadmeadow said. “I know that we’re looking into getting even more innovative in how we employ that force.”
Next year, Broadmeadow will spearhead the execution of Dawn Blitz 13, a 1st MEB tier three level exercise. The exercise will be conducted in two parts: 13.1 and 13.2. DB 13.1, slated for Jan. 28-31, will consist of staff integration and simulated scenarios with notional forces. DB 13.2, slated for June, will be a coordinated effort between expeditionary strike Group 3 and 1st MEB throughout Southern California with live-forces working out of Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.
The exercise will allow 1st MEB to develop proficiency as a Marine Air-Ground Task Force in planning, command and control, intelligence operations, fires integration, and sustainment related to amphibious operations to enhance unit readiness.