24th MEU (SOC) set for departure

23 Aug 2002 | Lance Cpl. Jeff Sisto

After completing six months of rigorous training, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) is set to depart to the Mediterranean Sea. Since attaining the SOC designation in July, Marines and Sailors of the MEU have enjoyed a leave period to relax with their families, and make final preparations for their deployment.  

"Over the past six months we've ensured that all of our training requirements have been met and we placed a particular emphasis on safety," said Col. Richard Mills, commanding officer, 24th MEU (SOC). "At the same time, we've pushed ourselves farther than is normally the case during predeployment training programs.  Given everything going on around the world right now, I think that was the right thing to do."

Mills' Marines share the confidence that has enabled them to attain the Special Operations Capable certifaction.

"I have full faith that I can handle anything that comes my way during an operation," said Lance Cpl. Jeremy Frick, operations clerk from Portland, Ore., and second year veteran of the MEU. "The workups helped me adapt to new surroundings."

Sgt. John Seus, a small computer specialist from Melbourne, Fla., understands the impact the predeployment training had on new Marines who are about to deploy for the first time.

"Our training has given newer Marines a better sense of their job, and how it relates to the overall scheme," said Seus. "The amount they have learned from the time they got here until now is incredible."

Preparation is something that the 24th MEU (SOC) family members have experienced as well. Family members have attended an array of predeployment briefs to help them better understand what their Marines will go through and what is expected of them during the deployment.

"Given the time of year, it is definitely sad, but I feel we have a strong support system in place," said Christine Beeler, wife of Petty Officer 2nd class Michael Beeler and one of the senior members of the Key Volunteers. "How we deal with it will encourage others to have the same positive outlook and establish camaraderie among those at home."

In addition, Beeler added that there are many activities in place for family members to participate in while their Marines are deployed, especially during the holidays.

With all the predeployment training accomplished for both Marines and their families, the 24th MEU (SOC) is now ready to face anything that may arise and make this a successful deployment.