MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
After six months of intense training, the Marines and Sailors of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit will set sail this week on a deployment that is scheduled to take them through U.S. European and Central Commands' areas of responsibility as a theater reserve force.
With the expertise and ability to perform a wide variety of missions, the 22nd MEU provides theater commanders with flexibility, rapid response, and the ability to project power ashore when and where it may be needed during potential contingencies. And, for the first time, the MV-22B Osprey will deploy with a MEU.
"We started with four different elements of the Marine Air Ground Task Force," said Col. Gareth F. Brandl, Commanding Officer, 22nd MEU. "We are now a MAGTF divisible by one - we've fully integrated our elements, giving the nation a potent world-wide Navy/Marine Corps response force."
Over the last six months, the Marines and sailors of the MEU conducted training across the eastern seaboard not only in Camp Lejeune, but in Florida, South Carolina and Virginia. The training focused on a broad number of missions and honed the unit's ability to plan and execute missions from U.S. Navy ships and ashore.
Five major exercises and countless hours of individual unit training were conducted during the MEU's pre-deployment training in order to ready the Marines and sailors for deployment.
Three of the exercises were performed from the ships of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group; the ships on which the MEU will deploy. These exercises enhanced interoperability between the Marines and their naval counterparts and formed the 22nd MEU and the BAT ARG into a seamless team.
The most recent exercise known as CERTEX, or Certification Exercise, was evaluated by II Marine Expeditionary Force's Special Operations Training Group. Marines from SOTG scrutinized every aspect of the 22nd MEU's performance, ultimately recommending the 22nd MEU's certification for deployment.
"I fully expect that during deployment this MEU's performance will exceed standards and we will do it with class and balanced excellence," said Brandl.
The 22nd MEU is a Marine Air Ground Task Force comprised of Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; and its Command Element.