Photo Information

Two CH-53E Super Stallions from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced) land on the flight deck of the USS NASSAU as the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit's (MEU) kicks off its Certification Exercise (CERTEX). CERTEX is the MEU's final pre-deployment exercise before it deploys later this year.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Peter Miller

22nd MEU underway for final predeployment exercise

25 Sep 2005 | Cpl. Christopher S. Vega

The Marines and sailors of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) recently boarded the amphibious assault ships of the Nassau Strike Group for their Certification Exercise (CERTEX).

CERTEX, formerly known as the Special Operations Capable Exercise, or SOCEX, is the culminating event of the MEU’s pre-deployment training.

“I’m glad the training is almost finished,” said Cpl. Ernesto A. Holguin, of Huntington Park, Calif., a wireman for the MEU Command Element. “I am ready to deploy.”

CERTEX tests the MEU's Marines and Sailors ability to rapidly respond to a variety of situations and missions they may face during the unit’s upcoming deployment. If the MEU is successful, it will be designated as “Special Operations Capable” (SOC).

“During this training exercise, there is no room for mistakes,” said Lance Cpl. Phillip Ramirez, a Jacksonville, Fla., native serving with Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 2nd Marine’s 81mm mortar platoon. “This will make a big difference in the type of missions we can take on during our deployment.”

In addition to its Command Element and BLT 1/2 the 22nd MEU consist of its Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced) and MEU Service Support Group 22. The MEU and the Nassau Strike Group are scheduled to deploy later this year as Expeditionary Strike Group 8, which consists of a landing force, three amphibious assault ships, two destroyers, a cruiser and a fast-attack submarine.

For more information on the 22nd MEU, visit the unit’s web site at
22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit