USS ESSEX AT SEA (Sept. 9, 2010) --
The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit recently left the shores of Okinawa, Japan and began its tour of the Asia-Pacific Region.
The MEU and Amphibious Squadron 11 once again joined together to take part in the deployment, which includes bilateral exercises in the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of Korea. These exercises support continued Theater Security Cooperation among partner nations in the region.
Embarkation specialists, landing support specialists and Combat Cargo Marines worked together to load gear and personnel aboard three ships; amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), dock landing ship USS Denver (LPD 9) and transport dock ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49).
“In order for the on-load to run smooth and efficiently, all the different sections need to be on the same page,” said Staff Sgt. James McCurry, 31st MEU Embarkation chief. “There are a lot of moving parts and so many opportunities for something to go wrong. Everyone needs to stay on their jobs to make the embark process effective.”
The Marines loaded nearly 200 vehicles, 1,900 personnel and more than 1,200 short-tons of cargo during the on-load. The Aviation Combat Element also conducted its fly-on which included CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters, CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters and AV-8B Harrier jets.
The process was completed in less than two days.
PHIBRON 11 and the 31st MEU are currently preparing for several exercises which meet the units’ annual training requirements. The units’ are also slated to participate in the bilateral exercises Amphibious Landing Exercise 2011 in the Republic of the Philippines and the Korean Incremental Training Program in the Republic of Korea.