CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan --
More than 2,200 Marines and Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit are preparing to board Navy ships of Amphibious Squadron 11, and depart within days to begin a patrol of the Asia-Pacific region.
This deployment will be the first for the 31st MEU since returning from helping Japanese survivors during Operation Tomodachi, an effort to relieve communities in Northeast Japan after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake.
“We’re excited to get underway again, train with our allies throughout the Pacific and fulfill our role as a contributor to security and stability in this region,” said Capt. Eric M. Williams, commanding officer, Company K, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines.
The upcoming patrol is designed to continue the unit’s bilateral training with allied militaries in the region, while maintaining a ready force at sea, capable of responding to a myriad of contingencies. As the United States force-in-readiness for the Asia-Pacific region, the 31st MEU is trained and prepared to respond for amphibious operations, crisis response, contingency operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
“We spend all year training for every scenario our command can think of,” said said 1st Sgt. Christopher L. Griffith, company first sergeant, Company F, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. “That makes us ready for whatever may come.”
The 31st MEU is comprised of four elements: the Command Element; Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines; Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (Reinforced) and Combat Logistics Battalion 31.
The majority of Marines and Sailors of the 31st MEU will load aboard USS Essex (LHD 2), with some also boarding USS Germantown (LSD 42) and USS Denver (LPD 9). The embarkation is scheduled to take place at the Naval Facility White Beach.
The 31st MEU is the only continually forward-deployed MEU, and remains the nation’s force-in-readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.