Approximately 1,500 Marines from 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will train at Fort Pickett, Va., from March 24 to April 6. This will be the first unit-wide field exercise for its pre-deployment training period.
The Marines and sailors will conduct individual and small unit training to certify across a wide range of skills, including weapons firing, foot and vehicle maneuver, urban operations, breaching and demolitions, hand grenade practice, as well as other training events, according to Maj. Cesar A. Unzueta, assistant operations officer for 26th MEU.
The exercise is the first in a series for the MEU that will culminate in its deployment aboard the ships of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group in the fall. The 26th MEU is one of seven MEUs, the Corps' smallest permanent Marine Air Ground Task Force, comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors.
The training at Fort Pickett will lay the foundation for more complex training evolutions throughout the MEU's six-month pre-deployment training period.
The Marines hope to develop cohesive relationships between the different components of the MEU and identify deficiencies in order to work on them, said Unzueta.
Unzueta added the offsite training will also address Marine Corps-wide pre-deployment requirements. The Marines are going to work on the "shoot, move, communicate" mindset, he said.
The offsite will set the tone for the MEU's upcoming deployment, said Unzueta.