Photo Information

Marines with Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, fast rope from a Ch-53E Super Stallion aboard USS Nassau's flight deck during the MEU's Composite Training Unit Exercise Oct. 29. The 24th MEU's COMPTUEX pre-deployment training integrates Marines and sailors of the USS Nassau Ready Group in preparation for its upcoming deployment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Alex C. Guerra)

Photo by Cpl. Alex C. Guerra

'Crawl, walk, run;' 24th MEU strengthens in training

29 Oct 2009 | Lance Cpl. David J. Beall

The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit joined forces with the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group for a joint training exercise called Composite Training Unit Exercise beginning today.

The exercise focuses on combining all the capabilities and assets of the 24th MEU and the NASARG while embarked on the three amphibious ready group naval vessels, USS Nassau, USS Mesa Verde and USS Ashland. The MEU will conduct amphibious and irregular warfare operations training while the ships receive qualifications for their naval operations.

During COMPTUEX Marine missions will include: vessel board search and seizure, humanitarian assistance and an amphibious landing.

"All of the training we will do during this exercise is a rehearsal to prepare for the certification exercise, where we will be evaluated on all the training done up to that point," said Master Gunnery Sgt. Ronald E. Rice, operations chief, 24th MEU.

"In our life progression as a MEU, we essentially need to crawl, walk and then run; COMPTUEX is, for us, the walk portion of what we do," added Col. Pete Petronzio, commanding officer, 24th MEU. "The purpose of this training is to bring us back together as a MEU and execute all missions that we could potentially be tasked with."

COMPTUEX is just one of the many training evolutions that the 24th MEU conducts during its six-month pre-deployment training schedule, which includes the Realistic Urban Training Exercise, completed in late September, and the Certification Exercise.

Rice added that the capstone event for this training is going to be the amphibious landing where the Marines will demonstrate its force projection capabilities by landing an assault force followed by supporting elements on Onslow Beach.

This is the second exercise that all the MEU’s Major Supporting Elements have formed a unified unit, each codependent on the others, and this cohesiveness will be tested throughout the exercise.

The MEU’s certification exercise, or CERTEX, is scheduled for early December and this current training evolution moves the Marines another step closer for to their scheduled deployment early next year.

"I couldn't be more pleased with how the MEU is coming together, we have a great team, we have some superb Marines and sailors working together and I couldn't be happier," Petronzio added.