;CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti -- Marines and Sailors of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) aboard the USS Germantown conducted an amphibious offload today at Arta Plage to participate in a wide variety of training exercises during upcoming days.
The Marines and Sailors of the Germantown, one of seven vessels assigned to Expeditionary Strike Group One, join 13th MEU (SOC) personnel from the USS Ogden currently ashore conducting training and civil assistance projects in the region.
The more than 500 MEU personnel ashore will participate in numerous live-fire training events in upcoming days, focusing on small arms, machine gun and fire and maneuver skills. The 13th MEU (SOC) personnel ashore add to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa's pool of available assets in the Global War on Terrorism with a wide range of combined arms capabilities including tanks, light infantry, and combat service support.
In addition to combat training, 13th MEU forces already ashore have participated in civil assistance projects since arriving Nov. 3. Along with forces from CJTF-HOA Civil Affairs, the MEU has conducted two painting projects in Djiboutian towns - one at a primary school in Obock and the other at the regional hospital in Tadjoura. Both towns are sites of ongoing CJTF-HOA Civil Affairs operations.
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 (GG 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 for several weeks, most recently 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.
13th MEU Marines ashore in Djibouti will conduct training through November and return to their ships to continue their scheduled deployment, currently expected to return to Camp Pendleton in late Spring 2004.
For additional information about the 13th MEU (SOC), view the official website at www.13meu.usmc.mil.