ABOARD USS IWO JIMA --
This past weekend, Marines and Sailors of 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) conducted a company-sized live-fire amphibious raid during the unit’s Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX)—the first time in recent history that a live-fire evolution of this type and scale has taken place during an East Coast-based MEU’s pre-deployment training.
The COMPTUEX scenario portrayed a significant enemy threat, requiring not only a rapid response, but also enough fire-power to destroy the looming objective.
Upon his initial threat assessment, U.S. Marines Corps Col. Eric D. Cloutier, commanding officer, 24th MEU, assigned Battalion Landing Team 1/8 (BLT) with executing the mission with the support of all elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF).
“As a MAGTF, we must be prepared to execute any of our assigned missions, regardless of the operating environment,” said Col. Eric D. Cloutier, commanding officer, 24th MEU. “The MEU is capable of conducting numerous mission sets, from reconnaissance and surveillance to large-scale assaults, whether by air, land or sea.”
After Col. Cloutier’s approval of the amphibious air assault mission, a force of nearly one hundred Marines and sailors launched from the USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) and the USS San Antonio (LPD 17) aboard two MV-22 Ospreys and two CH-53E Super Stallions from the MEU’s aviation combat element (ACE). Upon reaching their landing zone, the maneuver element proceeded to the G-10 and G-36 training ranges at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
“This combined-arms company conducted an explosive breach in concert with aerial and ground-delivered fires in support of maneuver on Camp Lejeune’s recently constructed company attack range, pouring direct and indirect fire on both moving and static targets with tremendous accuracy,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Chris Richardella, commander officer, BLT 1/8. “This company live-fire attack validated the capabilities of Camp Lejeune’s newest training range and set conditions for future combat arms units to build upon.”
After successfully prosecuting their targets and eliminating the training scenario’s growing threat, the company-sized element recovered to their respective Iwo Jima Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) ships to prepare for follow-on training missions.
“Exercising this raid from the sea allowed us an opportunity to validate our readiness through live-fire execution and further develop the confidence in our combined arms capabilities,” Col. Cloutier explains.
The 24th MEU is a self-sustained amphibious fighting force comprised of a command element, ground combat element, aviation combat element and logistics combat element. The unit is capable of a broad spectrum of missions ranging from humanitarian assistance and non-combatant evacuations to combat operations. Embarked with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG), this ARG/MEU team nears the completion of their pre-deployment training and subsequently will deploy to provide versatile and flexible joint capabilities to support U.S. allies and partners around the globe.
For the latest details about 24th MEU follow: @24thMEUMarines on Twitter or 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit on Facebook.