ABOARD THE USS WASP -- After months of intense training and preparation, the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) has grabbed the reins of its final pre-deployment training hurdle; the Special Operations Capable Exercise (SOCEX).
The current exercise will be 15th such training evolution for the 22d MEU since the Special Operations Capable training program was begun in 1985. To receive its 'SOC' designation the MEU and its major subordinate elements must demonstrate a proficiency in a number of key warfighting tasks they MEU may be called upon to execute when deployed.
Earlier exercises in the MEU's pre-deployment training program (PTP) have given the unit a leg up on achieving the coveted SOC designation. For example, during the 21-day Expeditionary Strike Group Exercise (ESGEX) held in December, the MEU received a 'go' on its ability to conduct humanitarian assistance and long range precision raid missions.
Some of the missions on tap for the MEU, and for which the unit has already begun planning, include; a non-combatant evacuation operation, embassy reinforcement, simulated air strike, and the tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel (TRAP), among others.
To reach this point, the 22d MEU, or elements thereof, have completed a host of specialized combat courses, numerous field training exercises, three weeks of urban combat training in the Columbia, S.C. area, and three at-sea periods aboard the ships of the WASP Strike Group.
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. The MEU is scheduled to soon deploy aboard the amphibious assault ships WASP, SHREVEPORT, and WHIDBEY ISLAND as part of Expeditionary Strike Group 2.
For more information on the mission, organization, and status of the 22d MEU, visit the unit's website at www.22meu.usmc.mil.