Central Command Area of Operations -- During a recent 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) training exercise, an administration clerk and a legal clerk stand next to an infantry squad gunner and a mortarman as they turnover their guard post.
This scene, among the rolling hills of a French-owned range, further confirms the concept that every Marine is a rifleman.
The force protection element of the 22d MEU (SOC) is made up of infantry Marines from Battalion Landing Team 2/6 and Marines from other military occupational specialties throughout the MEU. They are working together to ensure daily operations run smoothly and there are no security concerns during a recent training exercise.
The grunts and support Marines weave together into a seamless web that protects the center of operations for the 22d MEU (SOC).
After the events of September 11th, 2001, the attack on the USS Cole and ongoing violence in the Middle East, protecting the force is a high priority and a crucial part of the planning process.
"We would be unable to react to a terrorist attack if there was a gap in security," said 1st Lt. Bradley Meyer, of Oregon, Missouri, the MEU's force protection officer. "A gap could [potentially] lead to the death or injury of a Marine or Sailor."
This unique security opportunity gives non-infantry Marines a chance to experience what the front lines of security in a foreign environment feels like. A chance some Marines have been wanting for a long time.
"I feel like it gave me the chance to really exercise first hand what it means for a Marine to be a rifleman first," says Cpl Roderick Robinson, a legal specialist from Atlanta, Ga., assigned to the MEU Command Element. "At any given time I could be called upon to do things like this and I know the Marine Corps has trained me to do whatever task is at hand."
For more information on the 22d MEU (SOC), visit the unit's website at www.22meu.usmc.mil.