22nd MEU prepares for training and deployment

5 Oct 2010 | Cpl. Justin M. Martinez

Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit Command Element conducted a tactical command operations center exercise assembling large field tents in front of the command element building aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Oct. 5-7, 2010.

Once properly constructed and placed, these tents act as a COC for the unit in an operational environment.

“When I first heard about this exercise, I thought this would be as simple as setting up some tents but I’ve learned there’s more to it,” said Cpl. Robert A. Willford, a food service specialist and Minneapolis native. “For example, there’s a specific technique for the construction and repairing of these tents.”

Willford, along with other MEU personnel, spent the three-day exercise in the cooling autumn breeze constructing rectangle and dome shaped tents looking for sections that need mending.

For the tents that needed a little extra care and attention, specialists like Daniel Kiely, with Hunter Defense Technologies, were on scene to teach the unit’s Marines effective tent repair procedure.

“Teaching people how to fix and fixing these tents is my thing,” said Kiely, a field service representative with HDT and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, native. “These lightweight tents go up and down quick, are made with aircraft aluminum and are just very easy to use.”

Kiely, who served in the U.S. and Canadian militaries, added that his experience in the military using these tent systems showed him the diversity they are capable of.

At the training exercise conclusion, Marines worked as a cohesive team, using different tent repairing techniques taught by the HDT representatives.

Willford said he is glad he had the opportunity to learn from Keily and he never knew there was so much to learn about the large military tents and appreciated Kiely’s enthusiasm for his job.

The unit’s Marines used this hands-on training event as an opportunity to continue the crawl, walk, run approach to training showing newer Marines how valuable this tent system is when it’s used as a COC with subordinate segments.

Once composited by the end of the year, the Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU will begin their pre-deployment training program, which is a series of progressively, more complex exercises designed to train and test the MEU's ability to operate as a cohesive and effective fighting force.

Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps’ smallest Marine Air-Ground Task Force, consisting of a ground combat element, an aviation combat element, a logistics element and a command element, which is commanded by a colonel and comprised of approximately 2,200 servicemembers ready to provide immediate response capabilities in a hostile or crises mission.  While deployed, each MEU also incorporates two KC-130 aircraft available from the continental U.S. to support the unit’s operations abroad.

There are seven U.S. Marine Expeditionary Units located around the world with one in Okinawa, Japan, and three on each continental coast of the United States.

In the past, MEUs were referred to as Marine Amphibious Units due to their sea-based capability alongside a naval amphibious force. In 1988 ‘Amphibious’ was replaced with 'Expeditionary' to reflect the Marine Corps' changing role in national defense and theater security.

22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit