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Marines with Alpha Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, ride toward the shore aboard Combat Rubber Raiding Craft during a small boat raid as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s MEU Exercise, Kin Blue Beach, Okinawa, Japan, Dec. 12, 2018. BLT 1/4 is the Ground Combat Element for the 31st MEU. 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. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dylan Hess/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Dylan Hess

With new BLT, 31st MEU completes MEUEX, first step toward patrol

27 Dec 2018 | Lance Cpl. Cameron Parks 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, including the recently arrived Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, completed the first step in a comprehensive pre-deployment cycle in preparation for a planned patrol of the Indo-Pacific region, Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, Dec. 14, 2018.

The Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise integrates each component of the 31st MEU into a cohesive crisis response force capable of planning and launching diverse set of missions within a matter of hours, according to Col. Robert B. Brodie, commanding officer of the 31st MEU.

“MEUEX allows Marines to rehearse and refine our mission planning and execution capacity,” said Brodie. “Mission planning and force integration is imperative to our readiness as the Indo-Pacific’s premier crisis response force.”

During MEUEX, the Ground Combat Element, Aviation Combat Element, and Logistics Combat Element – BLT 1/4; Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 (Reinforced); and Combat Logistics Battalion 31 – conduct 10 days of scenario-based training to plan and launch a series of mission essential tasks, including humanitarian assistance-disaster relief; amphibious raids; security operations; and noncombatant evacuation operations, according to Brodie

“MEUEX is our first opportunity to come together as a cohesive team,” said Brodie. “This exercise is a critical first step for us as we look toward our upcoming patrol. As a MEU, we are always ready to support theater combatant commanders, and MEUEX helps us hone our capabilities even further.”

The 31st MEU, the Marine Corps’ only continuously forward-deployed MEU, supports combatant commanders across a vast Indo-Pacific region. Deploying aboard U.S. Navy vessels belonging to the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group, the 31st MEU trains for a wide variety of missions to address a litany of military tasks in one of the world’s most diverse regions.

MEUEX lays the groundwork for future training and naval integration during two annual patrols, according to Maj. Jacob Godby, the assistant operations officer for the 31st MEU and a key player during MEUEX.
“The 31st MEU covers a huge area from our home here in Okinawa,” said Godby. “When we start our pre-deployment training, including MEUEX, it’s hectic and it’s busy, but it’s also controlled chaos. It is impressive to see so many leaders, Marines and Sailors come together and work as a team after such a short time.”

The 31st MEU, one of seven MEU’s across the Corps, is comprised of roughly 2,200 Marines and Sailors. During patrols of the Indo-Pacific, the Marines and Sailors join regional partners and allies to help maintain stability across the region, according to Godby.

“Our flexibility and rapid planning and launching capabilities make us the go-to crisis response force across the Indo-Pacific,” said Godby. “We maintain unmatched capabilities, driven by the Marines and Sailors who form as a MEU every six months, which no other unit in this region can replicate. MEUEX is a great first step for us as we prepare for next year’s patrols.”

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31st Marine Expeditionary Unit