MANDA BAY NAVAL BASE, Kenya -- Marines and Sailors of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) aboard USS Germantown arrived here Jan. 5 to kick off Exercise Edged Mallet, a bilateral-training and humanitarian assistance exercise conducted annually with Kenyan Department of Defense forces.
The Marines and Sailors of the Germantown, one of seven vessels assigned to Expeditionary Strike Group-One, join Kenyan defense personnel from several units to participate in a bilateral exercise that encompasses basic infantry-skills training, humanitarian assistance projects, and medical and dental assistance clinics in several locations throughout Kenya’s coastal region.
The more than 250 MEU personnel, consisting primarily of Marines and Sailors from the detachments of MEU Service Support Group-13 and a collection of units from Battalion Landing Team 1/1, will participate in numerous training events and community relations projects in upcoming days, with a focus on teamwork enhancement between the forces and strengthening of the longstanding military-to-military relationship that exists between the United States and Kenya.
More than 20,000 units of medication have been ordered for medical and dental assistance clinics scheduled to be conducted during the exercise by MEU corpsmen and doctors at two locations in the region. The clinics provide basic medical and dental care - such as diagnosis and treatment for minor rashes and infections and tooth extractions - as well as education about basic hygiene and sanitation for disease prevention and basic oral care.
In addition, combat training focusing on small arms, reconnaissance and patrolling skills will be conducted at several Kenyan military training sites in the region. Marines will also work with Kenyan engineers of the Kenyan Army’s 12th Engineers Battalion to refurbish buildings at a boys’ secondary school located on the island of Lamu, a resort location in the region often frequented by international tourists.
Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa Civil Affairs personnel from Charlie Company, 478th Civil Affairs (Special Operations), are on hand at the Lamu project as well. MEU personnel worked with the civil affairs unit on several humanitarian assistance projects in Djibouti during November and December. Kenya is one of the seven countries CJTF-HOA operates in.
The MEU is the Strike component of Expeditionary Strike Group-One, a new force consolidated under one command that includes amphibious and naval operation capabilities that make up a greater spectrum of force than that of the traditional MEU(SOC)/Amphibious Ready Group. The more than 5,000 Marines and Sailors of ESG-1 are embarked aboard the amphibious ships USS Peleliu (LHA 5), USS Germantown (LSD 42) and USS Ogden (LPD 5); USS Jarrett (FFG 33), a frigate; USS Decatur (DDG 73), a destroyer; USS Port Royal (CG 73), a cruiser; and the submarine USS Greenville (SSN 772).
The 13th MEU (SOC) has been operating in and around the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility since September, participating in Operation Sweeney, a joint anti-smuggling and humanitarian assistance operation conducted with the British-led Multi-National Division (South East) in Southern Iraq’s Al Faw Peninsula, and several training exercises in places such as the United Arab Emirates and Djibouti.
13th MEU Marines ashore in Kenya will conduct training during January and return to the Germantown to continue their scheduled deployment, currently expected to return to Camp Pendleton in late Spring.