MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines and Sailors of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) kicked off their activation today with a motivation run. MGen. Martin R. Berndt, IIMEF Commanding General, accompanied by Col. Richard P. Mills, 24th MEU Commanding Officer, led the formation, which included personnel from the MEU Command Element, Battalion Landing Team 2/8, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 and MEU Service Support Group 24 - totaling more than 2,000 Marines and Sailors.
Today's run is a symbolic event that marks the beginning of the six-month pre-deployment schedule for the 24th MEU. A schedule involving intense training designed to mold the separate MEU elements into a seamless fighting force.
Highlights of the training courses include Helicopter Rope Suspension Training (HRST), Urban Radio Reconnaissance Course and Combat Rubber Reconnaissance Craft Coxswain Course.
Other courses, which are slated to kick off throughout the pre-deployment, are the Medical Operations Course, Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel, and Non-Lethal Weapons and Tactics Course.
Over the evolution of this six-month pre-deployment, MEU personnel will participate in PMINT - the Phibron and MEU Integration Training exercise, in which Marines and Sailors of the MEU familiarize themselves with the atmosphere of ship life and get to know the shipmates aboard the ships of the Amphibious Ready Group; TRUEX - Training in an Urban Environment Exercise, in which MEU personnel will travel to Savannah, Ga. to enhance the skills needed for military operations in an urban environment.
Other exercises include MEU Exercise, Joint Task Force Exercise, Supporting Arms Coordination Center Exercise and the culmination exercise - Special Operations Capable Exercise (SOCEX), which gives the 24th MEU its SOC qualification - the qualification required to operate in the Mediterranean Sea as the Sixth Fleet's force in readiness.
Central in all exercises is the Rapid Response Planning Process (R2P2), which allows MEU personnel to better focus their capabilities and quickly respond to a specific situation, whether it's a call to arms, a request for humanitarian assistance, or disaster relief.
In addition to preparing the Marines and Sailors of the MEU for operations as a forward deployed unit, MEU personnel prepare the spouses and families of the servicemembers for the deployment.
As a first step in preparing the spouses for the deployment, the MEU's Command Element held a Family Day Oct. 11 to make spouses aware of the upcoming vigorous schedule and of resources available in the event they should need them.
The Marines and Sailors are looking forward to the opportunity to deploy with the 24th MEU and are strengthened by the knowledge that their spouses understand and are prepared for the deployment.
"I was with [8th Communications Battalion] for more than a year and I didn't go anywhere," said Sacramento, Calif. native LCpl. Jason Chung, Communications Center Specialist for the Command Element. "So now I'm really looking forward to the upcoming deployment and traveling abroad."
"This is the second one and I miss [Tyrone] a lot when he's gone," said Sanora Hayes, fiancee of Sgt. Tyrone M. Scott, Jr., 24th MEU Communications Center Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge. "But I love him and this is what he wants to do, so I support him in every way."
Follow the 24th MEU pre-deployment on their website at www.usmc.mil/24meu.