Photo Information

Family and friends of Marines and Sailors with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force, rose with the sun to observe amphibious operations aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 28, 2015. The expo gave families an opportunity to observe their loved ones at work as well as a chance to build connections that will help them through the 13th MEU’s upcoming deployment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel

13th MEU gives families a taste of amphibious operations

28 Sep 2015 | Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

When Marines and Sailors get ready for work, they put on their uniform and lace up their boots. Families often see this daily ritual and hear stories of the work they do, but they rarely get to witness the reality of what the job entails.

Marines and Sailors with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force, presented their families and friends with the chance to observe the amphibious capabilities of the Navy and Marine Corps partnership during a family expo aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Sept. 28, 2015.

“This morning, the battalion landing team did an amphibious assault on red beach, simulating a foreign shore with an occupied town that was causing problems with our supply chain,” said Bryan Vaughn, the family readiness officer for the 13th MEU. “Throughout the day, follow-on forces continued to bring our supplies, ammunition and heavy equipment ashore.”

Marines and Sailors patrolled the beaches in Assault Amphibious Vehicles, transported trucks and weaponry from the ships via Landing Craft Air Cushions, and flew MV-22 Ospreys, a UH-1Y Huey and an AH-1Z Super Cobra. Vaughn said witnessing these operations firsthand helped the families of service members understand the importance of time spent away from home.

“We had several spouses come up and thank us for this opportunity to see what these guys do and put together for themselves how their family’s sacrifices contribute to the security of the country,” said Vaughn.

Renata Villa-Teschler, wife of Cpl. Anthony Villa-Teschler, a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense specialist with the 13th MEU, said the expo helped her prepare for her husband’s first deployment.

“This is the first military operation I’ve ever seen,” said Villa-Teschler. “You can’t put a value on the opportunity to actually see what they’re doing instead of hearing everything third-hand or my husband trying to explain it.”

Understanding the work their loved ones do and why they do it can help relieve some of the stress of deployment. Events like this help families gain perspective and shows them that they are not alone.

“This is what builds that team: The family team, the Marine team,” said Vaughn. “Today gave families a chance to talk, get to know each other, exchange emails and start building the team that will be here keeping the home fires burning while our Marines are gone for six or seven months.”

The family expo is one of many upcoming events for service members and their loved ones. As the 13th MEU conducts training to prepare for their upcoming deployment, the family readiness officers provide training to prepare families.

“We are going through a spouse resiliency training,” said Vaughn. “We bring the spouses together with Marine Corps Family Team Building and Marine and Family Programs so they know what resources are available to them.”

There are many challenges associated with deployments for Marines, Sailors and their families. Events like the family expo let the families build relationships that will help them support each other and their loved ones.

“It’s going to be tough,” said Villa-Teschler. “But I’m excited for him to have the opportunity to see different parts of the country and the world.”

The Marine Corps has always been an amphibious, expeditionary force-in-readiness partnered with the Navy. Families and loved ones are a vital part of that team and supporting them remains a priority both on and off the battlefield.

13th Marine Expeditionary Unit