MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – In 2006, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit aided in the rescue of thousands of American citizens from Lebanon after fighting between the terrorist group Hezbollah and Israel threw the country into turmoil.
During a recent training exercise, more than 200 Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 24 were introduced to the details of running operations similar to what was carried out in Lebanon, at Landing Zone Oriole, July 16.
The Marines were taught the details of running an evacuation control center as part of non-combatant evacuation operation training. The training served as a smaller part of a nine-day exercise that took place July 11-20 to prepare the battalion for the pre-deployment training they will conduct when they attach to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
During the training, Groups of 30 to 50 Marines received instruction from James Klotz, the stability operations officer-in-charge with Special Operations Training Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force. Klotz walked them through the various stations involved with an ECC and explained the responsibilities at each station as well as how do deal with various scenarios they may encounter, such as caring for families, pregnant women and the elderly.
“The evacuation control center team is the heart and soul of a non-combatant evacuation operation,” Klotz said.
Marine Expeditionary Units conduct NEOs at the request of a country’s U.S. Ambassador during times of turmoil and chaos. During NEOs, Marines could be tasked with evacuating noncombatants, nonessential personnel, selected host-nation citizens, and third-country nationals whose lives are in danger.
“The security of American citizens is our number one priority,” said 2nd Lt. Jacob Allen, the officer-in-charge of the entry control center during the training. “We are getting ourselves prepared so that when we do get the call, we are ready to go.”
Combat Logistics Battalions have the responsibility of providing combat support to the MEU they attach to and are tasked with effectively running an ECC during NEOs. Non-combatant evacuation operations are commonly performed by MEUs due to their role as a force-in-readiness able to quickly respond to disasters across the world. With the CLB attaching to the MEU, it is important for the Marines to be proficient in this type of operations.
Throughout the week, the Marines also trained on skills such as weapons handling and improvised explosive device defeat. A large part of the training also centered on the Marines performing their military occupational specialty as they would in a real-world environment.
“The overall purpose is to decrease any of the deficiencies that we have as a battalion prior to chopping over to the MEU,” Allen said.
In the coming months the 24th MEU will conduct a large scale NEO exercise to prepare for their deployment, which is scheduled for early next year.