Jan 21, 2013

Colonel John E. Merna, commanding officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, greets Hironubu Sugawara, a city assembly member from Oshima Island, during a visit here, Jan. 14. The Oshima Island residents were invited to the 31st MEU headquarters for a brief on the unit’s capabilities and the Marines’ response to the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011, known as Operation Tomodachi. The guests, who were directly affected by the disaster, were on Okinawa to escort 20 children for the Oshima Island Homestay Program, a program created by Marine Corps Installations Pacific, now in its second year. The 31st MEU is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness for the Asia-Pacific region and the only continuously forward deployed MEU.

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