MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
As Marines and Sailors of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit prepare for their upcoming deployment, it’s important to remember the individuals staying behind in support of the MEU – family.
To ensure families are ready to send their loved ones on deployment, Family Readiness is there to help.
Frank Smith Jr, the Family Readiness Officer for the 22nd MEU, is the advocate for families of Marines and sailors. Smith and a team of advisors and volunteers, ensure families have a distinct support network when their loved ones are away.
To prepare for deployment, Smith’s team provides briefs to families to familiarize them on what to expect. These briefs also cover the little things, such as wills, identification cards and vehicle registration. Completing these things before deployment allows for Marines and sailors to worry less during deployment.
“There are many different variables during deployment,” said 45-year-old Smith, a Winston-Salem, N.C. native. “Taking care of the little things help reduce the stress while on deployment.”
During the MEU’s deployment, Smith and his team put together monthly newsletters and monthly events for the families. According to Smith, these events are meant to create unit cohesion between families, and to create a tight knit support network, which is helpful to families who haven’t previously experienced a deployment.
“We have a lot of unit-themed events to keep the families motivated, and to maintain their sense of camaraderie and teamwork. We also encourage families to attend so they can have a bond with someone going through the same thing,” said Smith.
Families should be supportive of their Marines and sailors before and during the deployment, Smith added, to allow the Marines and sailors to focus on the mission ahead, rather than stress over what their families need.
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 improve 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, commanded by Col. Eric J. Steidl and 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, and comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors ready to provide immediate response capabilities in a hostile or crisis mission.