Celebrating the Corps' birthday with a bang

11 Nov 2003 | Gunnery Sgt. Keith A. Milks

At posts and stations throughout the world, Marines celebrated the Corps' 228th birthday on November 10 with cake, ceremonies, and speeches.

On the other hand, the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), heralded another year of the Corps with flash-bang grenades, breeching charges, thundering helicopters, and the crack of rifles during a precision raid against a building in Columbia, S.C.

The training mission was part of the MEU's Training in an Urban Environment Exercise (TRUEX), which is preparing the unit to operate in urban terrain during its upcoming deployment scheduled to begin early next year.  Conducted prior to each deployment, TRUEX is conducted with the approval and complete cooperation of local, state, and federal officials.

The 22d MEU consists of its Command Element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 6th Marines, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 (Reinforced), and MEU Service Support Group 22.

Nearly 200 Marines and Sailors directly participated in the raid, including; the MEU's Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF) consisting of the Command Element's Force Reconnaissance Platoon and security platoon from BLT 1/6, every aircraft in HMM-266 (Rein)'s inventory, BLT 1/6's 81mm mortar platoon who provided a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) contingency, and a quick reaction force made up of 3d platoon, Charlie Co., BLT 1/6.

In the rear, communicators and planners who labored over the mission for hours before it began closely monitored the situation as the MSPF swooped onto the target, overwhelmed 'enemy' terrorists, and made off into the night sky aboard helicopters upon the raid's successful conclusion.

"It was a weird way to spend the birthday," said Lance Cpl. Manuel B. Amoguis, a Hawaii native serving with the MEU Personnel Administrative Center (MPAC), and whose role as a member of the MEU's reception team was to process, screen, and hold detainees captured in the raid.

"When you think of the Marine Corps birthday you think of parties and ceremonies," he said, "but we were conducting a raid and dealing with casualties and prisoners.  It reminds you of what's important and that while the birthday ball and ceremony is nice, this is what the Corps is really all about."

For more information on the mission, organization and status of the 22d MEU, visit the unit's web site at www.22meu.usmc.mil.
22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit