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Marines arrive in the Kingdom of Cambodia for Maritime Exercise

26 Feb 2011 | Cpl. Michael A. Bianco

Elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in Cambodia and are scheduled to participate in the Cambodian Maritime Exercise 2011 from Feb. 27- March 2.

The Cambodian MAREX ‘11 is part of the U.S. Pacific Command’s Theater Security Cooperation Program, and provides unique and dynamic opportunities for collaboration between the Cambodian and U.S. military, while promoting relationship-building between militaries and local communities.

“Our military forces engage in cooperative programs throughout the year, aimed at developing relationships to allow for combined efforts,” said Col. Andrew MacMannis, commanding officer, 31st MEU. “We thank the people of Cambodia for their hospitality and friendship.”

Proposed objectives include shipboard operations, a military operation symposium, community relations projects, aviation operations, jungle warfare exchange, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief planning and a medical civil assistance project.

The MEDCAP is expected to treat approximately 3,800 patients. Treatment will focus on general medicine, optometry, ophthalmology, and wound care.

According to exercise officials, this bilateral exchange will build friendships and increase mutual understanding.

“The US Embassy, US Pacific Command and the US government are dedicated to our enduring relationship with Cambodians,” said Mark Wenig, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia. “The U.S. government routinely engages in outreach to communities across Cambodia like the ones included in this visit.”

Cambodia MAREX began in 2010, when12 days were spent working alongside the people of Cambodia to deliver a variety of humanitarian and civic assistance programs. The inaugural visit also began Cambodia’s participation in a series of exercises called Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training; the first dedicated exercise between Cambodia and the U.S. since the 1970s.

Officials say that military exchanges are important and build trust between participants. Friendships developed during military exchanges are critical when called upon to work side-by-side with partners in any contingency.

The 31st MEU provides a forward-deployed, flexible, sea-based force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Always ready to respond, the 31st MEU is also prepared to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief when directed. The 31st MEU is the only continually forward-deployed MEU, and remains the nation’s force-in-readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit