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26 May 2001 | 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

While some Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) are on their way to operations in the Black Sea, most are taking part in Exercise TRIDENT D'OR - a cross training exercise involving military servicemembers from France, Italy, Spain and the United States.

Marines and Sailors of the 24th MEU (SOC) are trading skills and learning the cultural differences in other Nations' militaries while they sharpen the skills they've perfected over the last six months.

For the Marines this is a rare opportunity to work with soldiers from the fabled French Foreign Legion.

According to Cpl. Bruce Boyington, 60mm Mortar Section Leader, BLT 2/8, this is a great opportunity to improve in certain areas.

"It's interesting to see that we can learn from them and in return show other Nations better ways of doing some things," said Boyington.

LCpl. Jonathan Narvaiz, Light Armored Reconnaissance Scout, LAR Platoon, BLT 2/8, is on his first deployment and finds it enjoyable so far.

"Cross training with other Nations has been the best part of this training so far," said Narvaiz.  "You can't get this kind of training, with so many cultural differences back at home."

In addition to the Foreign Legion, Spanish Marines and the Italian San Marco Brigade are taking part in the exercise.

"I'm having a good time trading things with the other countries," said Cpl. Aaron Shumate, Light Armored Vehicle Crewman Gunner, LAR Platoon.  "This type of training offers us an experience that's a little more different than what we get back in the states."

The firepower behind the 24th MEU (SOC) is not the only aspect of the MEU that continues to sharpen. 

Members of the MEU Service Support Group 24 are also enhancing their capabilities to provide continuous support to MEU personnel.

LCpl. Charles Moore, Wrecker Operator, MSSG 24, recovered three large vehicles stuck in mud during the first 24 hours of training.

In just the second day of training, Sgt. Ron Geitgey, Hygiene Equipment Operator, was already producing up to 600 gallons of water per hour for distribution to the different units.

"We've got distribution tanks set up throughout the bivouac site and the trucks come over here to fill up and then disburse the water to where it's needed," said Geitgey.

Once the 24th MEU (SOC) completes this exercise, it turns toward the next exercise - ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

Follow the 24th MEU (SOC) on their website at