13th MEU trains for embassy reinforcement during SOCEX

15 Jun 2005 | Cpl. Andy Hurt

In response to the call for heightened security at the U.S. Embassy here, Marines from 2nd Platoon, F Company, Battallion Landing Team 2/1, moved into the compound to reinforce local police already in place providing security during a training exercise Tuesday evening.

The embassy reinforcement, one of several missions conducted this past week by the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is part of the Special Operations Capable Exercise.  The exercise, designed to qualify the 13th MEU to perform special operations, is the final step in a six-month training cycle preparing the unit for an upcoming Western Pacific deployment. 

When the unit’s Forward Command Element arrived here Saturday evening, Marines acting as protestors flocked to the gates of the embassy shouting anti-coalition slogans. The collective of local citizens have occupied the perimeter of the compound since, harassing embassy staff and local police personnel with water balloons and insults.

From the USS PEARL HARBOR, elements of F and Weapons companies from BLT 2/1, loaded CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters and landed at a local airfield before moving to the embassy and setting up security.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Roy Bourne, a gunner with BLT 2/1 operations section, said the reinforcement was a necessary action in order to support the peacekeeping mission here.

“The ambassador thinks the embassy is threatened, and the violence has escalated to point where the local nationals can no longer hold the compound,” he said.

Bourne is tasked as a liaison to the BLT 2/1 commander from the Forward Command Element. Assessing security risks and working with the embassy's Regional Security Officer, Bourne constructed a detailed security reinforcement plan before F Co. hit the ground.

Although this scenario is notional, Bourne said he was pleased with BLT 2/1's performance.

“It was a good operation,” he said. Knowing the 13th MEU and BLT 2/1 may face real-world operations similar to this exercise on the upcoming Western Pacific deployment, Bourne added, “I think we’d be ready to go if something like this happens.”

For more information about the “Fighting 13th” Marine Expeditionary Unit and the warriors of Battalion Landing Team 2/1, visit the unit’s Web site at www.usmc.mil/13thmeu.

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13th Marine Expeditionary Unit