KIN BLUE, OKINAWA Japan --
Marines deployed with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit set up beach operations on Kin Blue and conducted humanitarian assistance disaster relief exercises Sept. 29.
The 31st MEU conducted the training in preparation for possible HADR operations the Marines might be required to respond to in the future.
In this scenario, the country affected by the disaster has requested aid from the US military, so the Marines brought boxes of supplies including first aid kits, ponchos and water buckets to the affected residents of local villages.
“It is important to understand we are here at the request of their government to help them. We are here to prevent further suffering and loss of life,” said Lt. Col. William Arick, commanding officer for Combat Logistics Battalion, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. “The 31st MEU is a ready force that can respond quickly to almost any crisis in this region.”
Arick said the exercises are very important because the goal after a disaster is to help those affected to get back on their feet and help them sustain themselves.
“Overall the exercise went well. The mission commander interacted well with the role players and the role players never came out of character which gave the MEU great training,” said Maj. Thomas Lippert, mobility officer for 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force and evaluator for the exercise.
The information gathered by the Marines in the simulated village helped them to determine the areas that needed the most assistance and understand the power structure between leadership in the villages. Using that knowledge allows the CLB-31 Marines to relieve suffering more effectively, said Lippert.
While on Okinawa, the Marines with the 31st MEU are also scheduled to conduct other training which will help them in being ready if they are called upon to react to a real-world situation.
The 31st MEU, responsible for responding within the Asia-Pacific region, is the only MEU that is continually forward deployed.