MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marines with Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted non-combatant evacuation training aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 9, 2011.
A non-combatant evacuation operation is conducted at the request of the U.S. Ambassador of a U.S. diplomatic mission needing assistance to evacuate American citizens and other authorized individuals.
“You join the Marine Corps to protect citizens,” said Lance Cpl. Alejandro Avellanada, a due and status file clerk with the BLT, and Corona, N.Y., native. “Something like this is saving and protecting American citizens.”
The Marines started off with morning classes then moved to practical application exercises in the afternoon.
Marines played the roles of American citizens and authorized individuals by the notional U.S. Ambassador. They moved through multiple stations that included reception, search, administration and embarkation.
There was also a detention area for hostile evacuees or those who caused problems, and a medical team on the lookout for infectious diseases.
“I think we did quite well,” said Avellanada. “We were able to clearly establish the different areas and process the evacuees.”
Non-combatant evacuation operations is one of the MEU’s capabilities and could be executed during their deployment.
“Whether it’s humanitarian assistance or a NEO, the first thing a combatant commander will ask is “where is the MEU?”” said Marty Klotz, the officer in charge of the stability operations branch of Special Operations Training Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force. “The MEU is often the force of choice for these operations.”
Due to an early deployment, the BLT has had limited time to conduct this training. However, in the event of an actual NEO, they will combine with Combat Logistics Battalion 22, who has the training experience to conduct these operations.
“Every Marine here works in different sections and we were able to come together,” said Avellanada. “So, coming together with the CLB wouldn’t be a problem.”
Klotz added that their best training continues through practicing planning and procedures even when they can’t execute a practical application.
“There is zero doubt in my mind. The MEU can perform this mission well,” said Klotz.
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and will continue to train and test the MEU’s ability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task 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.