MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Leaders with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit gathered to study the basics of planning and executing amphibious raids at the Special Operations Training Group facility aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 6, 2011.
The Marines sat through a series of classes to prepare for upcoming training and a subsequent deployment this summer.
“This is the most formal part of the training,” said Capt. Regan Jones, the assistant officer in charge of the amphibious raids branch of the SOTG, II Marine Expeditionary Force. “This is a crawl, walk, run approach so right now we’re at the crawl (stage).”
The first part of the day was full of basic classroom instruction. The Marines discussed different ways to conduct raids and different tools used during those raids.
During the second half of the day, the Marines learned about intelligence and information operations. They also learned about the background developed for their training. Intelligence driven operations are an integral part of operating overseas however, during training, intelligence is usually very basic.
“I think these classes about intelligence and information operations are probably the most important thing we got today,” said 1st Lt. Joshua A. Bales, the executive officer of Fox Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd MEU.
The SOTG broke the eastern United States into multiple countries, all with an extensive history. Every high-value individual they capture will have a full biography, and each raid they do will affect the situation of these fictional countries.
“I really appreciate the background,” said Bales. “It’s a big deal to me that it’s realistic. The fact that someone took the time to craft something that’s believable and real world is awesome.”
The 26th MEU was the first to take part in this training and everything they did will affect the Marines of the 22nd MEU. Everything they did right and wrong will influence what problems the 22nd MEU will face.
“I’m getting good reviews from the 26th MEU,” said Paul Funk, director of intelligence training for SOTG, II MEF. “I hope that it allows, not only the intelligence assets, but all planners can now work in a more realistic environment that is closer to what they’re really going to do in the real world.”
The fictitious countries' problems reflect events happening around the world to better prepare the Marines for their upcoming MEU deployment where they could find themselves anywhere, dealing with any number of missions.
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are in the early stages of their pre-deployment training program, which is a series of progressively complex exercises designed to train and test the MEU's ability to operate as a cohesive and effective fighting force.
The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission capable force comprised of Aviation Combat Element, Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its command element.
Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps' smallest permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force, commanded by a colonel and comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors ready to provide immediate response in a hostile or crisis environment. While deployed, each MEU also incorporates two KC-130 aircraft available to support the unit's operations abroad.