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Photo Information

An AV-8B Harrier commences a vertical landing on the flight deck off the USS Iwo Jima during deck landing qualifications as part of the Amphibious Squadron 8 (PHIBRON 8) / 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit Integration Training (PMINT) Oct. 24, 2011. PMINT will take place Oct. 24 to Nov. 3 and is focused on building the Navy-Marine Team and establish the working relationships and practices necessary to conduct operations from the sea. The AV-8B Harriers are a detachment from VMA-542 based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., and comprise part of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron VMM-261 (Rein), which is the Aviation Combat Element for the 24th MEU.::r::::n::::r::::n::::r::::n::

Photo by LCpl. Michael Petersheim

Marines, Navy Come Together for “At-Sea” Integration Exercise

24 Oct 2011 | Capt. Robert Shuford 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Amphibious Squadron 8 (PHIBRON 8) have begun their first of a series of at-sea training exercises where they will work on refining their ability to conduct amphibious operations to prepare for a deployment scheduled for early next year.

The current exercise is called PHIBRON / MEU Integration Training, commonly called PMINT, and is scheduled to run Oct.24 to Nov. 3.  The focus of PMINT is to allow both services to work on building the Navy-Marine Corps team and to refine procedures and practices necessary to conduct amphibious operations.

“This is the starting point for our pre-deployment training cycle and represents 24th MEU’s first opportunity to operate at sea as a Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF). Our focus for the next ten days is on establishing a positive and professional partnership with the ships and crews of our Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and developing proficiency operating our vehicles and aircraft in, around and on the ARG’s very specialized amphibious ships,” said Colonel Frank Donovan, commanding officer, 24th MEU.

PMINT is the first of three combined training exercises the 24th MEU and PHIBRON 8 will conduct together in the coming months.  Such at-sea periods allows the Marines to get familiar with operating on ship, and allows the Navy-Marine team to train on ship-to-shore procedures, pilot and vehicle operator qualifications, and provides the overall experience necessary to conduct a variety of missions from the amphibious assault ships USS Iwo Jima, USS New York and USS Gunston Hall. 

The training will test the Navy-Marine team’s ability to plan and conduct such missions using various scenarios they could face while deployed.  Some of these missions include humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, raids on enemy positions, and non-combatant evacuation operations of U.S. citizens.

During PMINT 24th MEU will load each of the ships with a variety of vehicles and equipment to familiarize the Marines and Sailors with embark operations, as well as conduct numerous flight operations with MV-22 Ospreys, CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, UH-1 Huey and AH-1 Cobra helicopters and AV-8B Harriers, in an effort to qualify pilots for landing on the ship’s flight decks and maintain their proficiency in this skill.

PMINT also includes the 24th MEU conducting a mock vertical assault raid and a combined live-fire training range using various artillery and aircraft on Camp Lejeune, N.C.

“Our goal for PMINT is to execute a safe and effective training plan that lays the foundation for the rest of our pre-deployment training cycle and deployment. Our hard work during PMINT will leave the 24th MEU well prepared to take on more complex tasks the next time we sail as an ARG/MEU team and face our first set of evaluated missions. Each of our at-sea periods are designed to challenge our Marines and Sailors and forge a highly effective Navy-Marine Corps team,” said Donovan.

The next training exercise is scheduled to start at the end of November.

During these training exercises residents along North Carolina’s coast may see the ships offshore and may notice an increase in Marine Corps aircraft operations flying to and from the ships.


For more information or for imagery and video of the 24th MEU, visit the unit's websites:


If media are interested in obtaining more information or would like to join 24th MEU during one of these exercises please contact the following :


Capt. Robert Shuford –

Gunnery Sgt. Soukhi Forbes – – 910-451-0615





Background Information about Marine Expeditionary Units


What is a MEU?

Marine Air Ground Task Force

Since World War II, in nearly every crisis, the United States Marine Corps has deployed projection forces, with the ability to move ashore with sufficient sustainability for prolonged operations. These forces have been organized into Marine Air Ground Task Forces (MAGTF) a combination of air, ground, and support assets. MAGTFs are established for specific missions, or in anticipation of a wide range of possible missions. Combining air, ground, and logistic assets maximizes the combat power of each of the war fighting elements. MAGTFs have long provided the United States with a broad spectrum of response options when U.S. and allied interests have been threatened and in non-combat situations which require instant response to crisis. Selective, timely and credible commitment of air-ground units have, on many occasions, helped bring stability to a region and sent signals worldwide to aggressors that the United States is willing to defend its interests, and is able to do so with a significantly powerful force on extremely short notice.


Marine Expeditionary Unit

The MEU is the smallest of the Marine Air Ground Task Forces and is comprised of about 2,200 Marines and Sailors. The MEU's major elements are the Command Element (CE), the Ground Combat Element (GCE), the Aviation Combat Element (ACE), and the Logistics Combat Element (LCE).


The Command Element (CE)

The CE is comprised of the commanding officer and supporting staff -- about 200 Marines and Sailors. It provides the overall command and control essential for effective planning and execution of operations and synchronizes the actions of each element within the MEU.  Skill sets falling under the command element include administration, intelligence, operations, logistics and embarkation, communications, legal and public affairs.


Ground Combat Element (GCE)

The GCE, about 1,200 strong, is built around an infantry battalion and provides the over-land combat power for the MEU. Assets inherent within the standard infantry battalion include medium and heavy machine guns, mortars, combined anti-armor teams (CAAT) and scout snipers. While assigned to the MEU, the unit, designated "Battalion Landing Team," is reinforced with light armored reconnaissance vehicles (LAV), tanks, artillery, combat engineers and assault amphibian vehicles (AAV).


Aviation Combat Element (ACE)

The ACE is a composite squadron that provides the MEU medium to heavy lift capability, assault support and close air support (CAS). Its assets include MV-22  Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, CH-53E Super Stallion heavy lift helicopters, AH-1 Super Cobra helicopter gunships, UH-1 Huey utility helicopters and AV-8B Harrier jump jets. With a force strength of approximately 500, the ACE includes air traffic control, aircraft maintenance/support and aviation logistics/supply capabilities.


Logistics Combat Element (LCE)

About 250 Marines and Sailors of the LCE provide combat support such as supply; maintenance; transportation; explosive ordnance disposal; military police; water production and distribution; engineering; medical and dental services; fuel storage and distribution; and other services to the deployed MEU. The LCE gives the MEU the ability to support itself for 15 days in austere expeditionary environments.