CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- In the weeks leading up to unit deployments, sometimes the single Marine gets forgotten in the flurry of family readiness briefs geared toward spouses and children.
The 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) Command Element has ensured this is not the case for its single Marines and Sailors when the MEU's top leadership recently conducted a Single Marine Pre-Deployment Brief.
"We're here to make sure there's a baseline of information to draw from," said Sgt. Maj. George H. Mason, 22d MEU (SOC) sergeant major, addressing the single Marines and Sailors. "In the past, the single Marines were usually left to their own devices, but we've come a long way in deployment preparation."
Col. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the 22d MEU (SOC)'s commanding officer, joined Mason in passing the word on what the Marines could expect on the upcoming deployment, and addressed such issues as possible exercises and operations, keeping their families informed, operational security, and taking care of their personal affairs.
One of the key points McKenzie stressed was the need to keep their families informed, primarily through the 22d MEU (SOC)'s web site, www.22meu.usmc.mil. It is through the web site, McKenzie explained, that the MEU will post up-to-date information on the unit's status and activities, as well as messages directly from him to the Marines and Sailors' families via his 'Commanding Officer Updates.'
"I told my mom that few weeks or so they'll receive a new message from the CO," said Private 1st Class Hector Fernandez, an administrative clerk from Brooklyn, N.Y. "She was really happy to know that she was going to be getting new information straight from the command."
In addition to the MEU CO and Sergeant Major, representatives from the Transportation Management Office (TMO) provided briefs on storing vehicles and personal items, while the MEU Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) officer explained the importance of maintaining up-to-date wills and powers of attorney. Other speakers included personnel specialists who explained deployment-related pay issues, the MEU Chaplain, and representatives from the Camp Lejeune Single Marine Program working on behalf of the American Red Cross who explained how the SMP and Red Cross can help them and their families.
Single or married, the spate of pre-deployment briefs held by the 22d MEU (SOC) in recent months have ensured the unit's Marines and Sailors are ready to deploy in mid-February.
The 22d MEU (SOC) will deploy aboard the amphibious assault ships WASP, WHIDBEY ISLAND, and SHREVEPORT as part of Expeditionary Strike Group 2. In addition to its Command Element, the MEU consists of Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 6th Marines, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 (Reinforced), and MEU Service Support Group 22.
For more information on the mission, organization, and status of the 22d MEU, visit the unit's web site at www.22meu.usmc.mil.