During the regularly-scheduled exercise after the Battalion Landing Team’s relief-in-place, components of the 31st MEU planned and executed full-mission profiles. The exercise is designed to simulate missions that the MEU could be tasked with at any moment by the geographic combatant commander, and to improve the unit’s lethality and readiness.
MEUEX missions range from small boat raids including a Marine amphibious force riding combat rubber raid craft to clandestinely insert on shoreline objectives, to company-sized expeditionary advanced airfield seizures using a vertical-assault force in MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopters, prior to establishment of forward arming and refueling points for follow-on operations.
Throughout the scenario, the 31st MEU commanding officer and staff convened crisis action teams to assess the dynamic situation, problem-framed, and wargamed then selected courses of action. Mission commanders planned and briefed the mission sets to achieve the overall commander’s intent.
This rapid response planning process, designed to take six hours from start to finish, is crucial in planning to execution processes as key to the 31st MEU’s mission accomplishment. By launching missions in and around Okinawa, Japan, and simulating ship-to-shore movements, MEUEX prepared the Marine Air-Ground Task Force for planning and integration with naval partners.
Marines with Charlie Company, Battle Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, move into position to begin a simulated beach raid at Kin Blue, Okinawa, Japan, Dec. 17, 2019. Photo by Lance Cpl. Andrew Bray
Marines and Sailors with the 31st MEU regularly embark aboard the ships of PHIBRON-11, forward-based in Sasebo, Japan, for deployments and at-sea periods. The 31st MEU will continue to focus on area presence throughout the Indo-Pacific region, training with allied and partner nations’ militaries in order to enhance security, support freedom of navigation, and serve as an expeditionary crisis response force.
According to Col. Robert Brodie, 31st MEU commanding officer, MEUEX is key to maintaining the MEU’s constant state of combat readiness.
“We are continuously ready as a globally-deployable unit prepared for crisis, and the MEU Exercise sharpens our lethal edge,” said Brodie. “The exercise develops leaders at all levels especially focused on small-unit leaders. It prepares them to take action with aggressive initiative in decentralized execution within centralized commander’s intent. Completing MEUEX, the 31st MEU is ready to address crisis around the globe, and prepared to fight our enemies or help those in need.”
The 31st MEU, the Marine Corps’ only continuously forward deployed MEU, provides a flexible and lethal force ready to perform a wide range of military operations as the premier crisis response force in the Indo-Pacific region.
MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, take off during a simulated embassy reinforcement on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, Dec 4, 2019. Photo by Lance Cpl. Kenny Nunez Bigay