22nd MEU refines command post doctrine during field exercise

19 Apr 2003 | Gunnery Sgt. Keith A. Milks

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) recently wrapped up a field training exercise designed to validate and refine the unit's standard operating procedures for setting up and operating a command post in a field environment.

The three-day exercise, conducted aboard Camp Lejeune, brought together all sections of the MEU for the first time in a field environment since the unit returned from its deployment as the Landing Force for the U.S. Fifth and Sixth Fleets last August.

According to Lt. Col. Michael P. Killion of Cherry Hill, N.J., the MEU's Operations Officer, the primary purpose of the exercise was to familiarize the unit's Marines and Sailors with the layout and composition of the command post.

Upon reaching the exercise site, the MEU's officers and staff NCOs, many of whom joined the MEU after its return from its last deployment, toured the site and were briefed on what each section brings to the field and how they support operations there. 

The command post can be sent ashore and established in a variety of configurations to support what the operational mission requires.  A heavy package, for example, brings most of the Command Element ashore while the medium and light packages are smaller and more task-oriented.  The deployment of the smaller packages requires fewer personnel and less equipment, thereby creating a smaller 'footprint' ashore.

During the exercise, the Marines in the MEU's combat operations center (COC) conducted a detailed planning session that dealt with a contingency mission the unit faced during its last deployment.  By conducting a deliberate planning process in a field environment, the MEU was able to ensure the existing configuration of the command post, which allowed the unit to properly plan, execute, and oversee such a mission during its upcoming deployment.

Lessons learned during the exercise will be used to configure the command post to better support real-world operations.

In addition to the set-up, layout, and employment of the COC and command post, another key component of the exercise was the use of an internal guard force.  Drawn from sections throughout the 22nd MEU Command Element, the guard force for the exercise practiced a variety of security operations they may be required to undertake should external security for the command post not be available.

The MEU is scheduled to obtain operational control of its major subordinate elements (ground combat element, aviation combat element, and combat service support element) in the upcoming months and will then begin an extensive training regimen leading up to the unit's eventual deployment. 

For more information on the organization, mission and status of the 22nd MEU, visit the unit's website at www.22meu.usmc.mil.

22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit