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Ready for deployment: 24th MEU completes CERTEX

25 Feb 2019 | Lance Cpl. Camila Melendez 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina – Marines completed a certification exercise on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Feb. 25, 2019. The completion of CERTEX integrated all of the capabilities of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
CERTEX included multiple scenarios which forced the Marines to rapidly plan and respond as a cohesive air, ground, and logistics team.
“It takes practice to be able to do those specialized skills and, in order for the Marine Air-Ground Task Force to be ready to perform those while overseas, they had to come together in a real-world environment to practice execution,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Bariletti, the Operations Officer for the 24th MEU.
The 24th MEU prepared for CERTEX by conducting a series mission rehearsals at the unit level and within the command element. The repetition of each rehearsal increased the Marines’ knowledge and confidence in their abilities.
“This training allowed the staff to get a good workout in problem solving,” said Col. Eric Cloutier, the Commanding Officer of the 24th MEU. “It allowed the major subordinate elements and the units executing the missions to get some realistic training under adverse conditions.”
The Expeditionary Operations Training Group coordinated the exercise and presented the MEU with scenarios that required rapid mission planning and precise execution. Their performance was then reviewed upon the completion of each operation. This allowed the MEU to enhance their abilities and decrease their crisis response times.
“The scenarios presented during CERTEX were challenging for both the staff and the units that were executing the missions,” said Cloutier. “EOTG put together a series of problems for us. There were some simple problems up front and they got more complex as the scenarios ran through.”
During CERTEX, leaders within the MEU received a series of simulated orders tasking them to execute a variety of missions. Marines spent days refining their abilities in a scenario-based environment with a real-life mentality and remained alert for any task that may come their way.
“Day to day operations included: getting a notification of a crisis, conducting rapid response planning to get combat power out of the door, monitoring, commanding, and controlling those specific capabilities to the objective all the way to mission accomplishment and then recovering those forces,” said Bariletti.
The elements of the MAGTF worked together to accomplish missions such as tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, non-combative evacuation operations, airfield occupation, and foreign humanitarian assistance.
The MEU overcame the challenges of the operations and proved their proficiency and readiness as a unit. The staff also took time after CERTEX to capture lessons learned which allowed them to refine their standard operating procedures to better execute future operations.
“At the end of the day, the 24th MEU will be ready to respond when called upon, when our nation needs us and CERTEX enabled us to practice that and, more importantly, prove to ourselves and others that we are ready,” said Bariletti.
CERTEX was an opportunity for the MEU to hone the skills necessary to respond to the challenging mission sets that will be required of them during deployment.
“I was very pleased with the performance of both the staff and subordinate elements of the MAGTF during CERTEX,” said Cloutier. “I am confident that we will be able to handle any crisis or contingency that comes our way.”