FORT PICKETT, Va. --
Natural Bridge area
residents can expect an increase in military aircraft traffic in the vicinity
of the Natural Bridge Juvenile Correctional Center Sept. 6-8, 2013.
The Marines and Sailors of the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based 22nd
Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) will conduct training near the Natural Bridge
Juvenile Correctional Center on Arnolds Valley Rd. as part of their Realistic
Urban Training exercise, or RUT.
Residents may see Marines and role players periodically
throughout the exercise and are likely to notice more military aircraft and
ground vehicles than usual operating in the area.
The types of aircraft participating in the training may
include the MV-22 Osprey, UH-1Y Huey, CH-53E Super Stallion and AH-1W Super
Since 1985, the three Camp Lejeune-based MEUs have used
numerous cities throughout the United States to simulate the kinds of hotspots
to which MEUs are often called.
The Marines kicked off their pre-deployment training program
in July and will conduct a series of land-based exercises and numerous at-sea
periods with their Navy counterparts. RUT is the 22nd MEU’s first major
exercise in the six-month training program, which is scheduled to end in
The 22nd MEU is composed of its command element; Battalion
Landing Team (BLT) 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment; Marine Medium Tiltrotor
Squadron (VMM) 263 (Reinforced); and Combat Logistics Battalion 22.
The MEU is slated to be the landing force for the
Norfolk-based Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which consists of the
amphibious assault ships USS Bataan (LHD 5), USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and USS
Gunston Hall (LSD 44).
The MEU and Bataan ARG are scheduled to deploy in early 2014
to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility to serve as a sea-based,
expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions
across the full range of military operations.
If residents have concerns about the training or questions
about the noise of the aircraft the following number is provided as a local
Information about the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit -
A MEU is considered America’s 911 Force - always forward
deployed, ready to respond to a variety of crises from full-scale combat to
humanitarian assistance. A MEU consists of a command element, ground combat
element, aviation combat element, and combat logistics element. The 22nd Marine
Expeditionary Unit is made up of the following units: Marine Medium Tiltrotor
Squadron (VMM) 263 (Reinforced) based out of New River Air Station, N.C., with
attachments from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.; Battalion Landing
Team (BLT) 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.,
which includes various attachments of tanks, reconnaissance, assault amphibious
vehicles and other support units; and Combat Logistics Battalion 22 based out
of Camp Lejeune. They will deploy on ships of Amphibious Squadron 6 (PHIBRON
6): the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), the amphibious
transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and the amphibious dock landing
ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44). There are three MEUs on the East Coast (22nd,
24th and 26th) and three on the West Coast (11th, 13th and 15th), with a
seventh based out of Okinawa (31st MEU). The 26th MEU is currently deployed
from Camp Lejeune.
The 22nd MEU last deployed from March 2011 to February 2012
to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. During this deployment,
the MEU supported operations in Libya and participated in numerous training
exercises and theater security cooperation events with partner nations
throughout Europe, the Middle East and Djibouti, Africa.