WHITE BEACH, OKINAWA, Japan --
With all cargo and personnel aboard, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit departed Okinawa, Japan, for its next patrol of the Asia-Pacific region, Sept. 27.
About 2,000 Marines and Sailors boarded three ships; USS Essex (LHD 2), dock landing ship USS Denver (LPD 9), and transport dock ship USS Germantown (LSD 42).
Embarkation specialists, landing support specialists and Combat Cargo Marines loaded approximately 70 vehicles and more than 950 short-tons of cargo in less than 2 days.
“It took about 35 hours for our 43 man platoon to safely load all the gear onto the ship,” said Gunnery Sgt. William Young. “That counts getting all the gear on ship and tied down and ready to go to sea.”
The 31st MEU is preparing to participate as directed in bilateral training exercises with allied nations that will help maintain stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
In addition to loading equipment that will be used by Marines during exercises, Marines also loaded humanitarian aid and disaster relief supplies. Most recently, the 31st MEU provided humanitarian aid and disaster relief during Operation Tomodachi after a 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated Japan.
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 area.
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.