MEU/ARG team reunite for second at-sea period

11 May 2005 | Sgt. Charles E. Moore

Marines and Sailors from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Expeditionary Strike Group-1 left Naval Station 32nd Street, San Diego for the MEU’s Composite Training Underway Exercise (COMTUEX) Thursday.COMTUEX integrates Navy and Marine Corps procedures, allowing both services to work together as an expeditionary team.The two services will focus on integrating operations and refining standard operations while at sea, while the MEU will continue to practice mission planning and execution from the USS Tarawa, Cleveland and Pearl Harbor. “It is key that we not only establish relationships, but learn the other’s specific needs and requirements so that the ESG can accomplish their higher missions,” said Navy Lt. Erik J. Neal, staff operations officer, COMPHIBRON One. “It requires a lot more training and coordination.” “The PHIBRON/MEU team is as strong as it’s ever been because we have a history of working together,” Neal added.During the exercise, Marines and Sailors will work together, training for various missions, including tactical recovery of aircraft personnel (TRAP), non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO), vessel boarding search and seizure (VBSS) and raids.The Marines train regularly for these type of missions, but this exercise adds the friction of removing them from their normal training environments.“It opens (the junior Marines’) horizons to different types of training, instead of being fixated on what they do every day,” said Sgt. Jeremiah H. Turner, squad leader, Trail Platoon, Maritime Special Purpose Force. “They’re all pretty stoked about it.”He added that training with the Navy is difficult at first, but necessary.“There’s always going to be friction,” he said. “This training needs to be done for a successful mission.”For some, the training extends beyond coordinating with the Navy on exercise missions, as ship life is far different from normal life ashore. Daily activities are often confined to smaller spaces that constantly rock back and forth with the ocean. Moving from one cramped space to another requires the navigation of a three-dimensional maze for the many Marines still working on their sea legs. Fortunately, many Marines have taken to the Navy/Marine Corps bond.“You get lost at first,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel J. Sullivan, infantryman, Trail Platoon, Maritime Special Purpose Force. “All you’ve got to do is ask someone wearing blue where to go and they point you right to it.”Sullivan said the COMTUEX is his first time at sea, but he’s already beginning to enjoy it. He said it strengthens the bonds within his unit, which prepare them for the upcoming deployment.“You need to have your time at sea,” Sullivan said. “It takes some time to get used to.”-30-
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit