ABOARD USS ESSEX --
Approximately 200 Marines and Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, returned to Bali, Indonesia, for the first time in almost a decade for a liberty period, Nov. 20-22.
The Marines and Sailors make up a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force of the 31st MEU that stayed aboard the USS Essex (LHD 2), to participate in theater security operations in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The Marines do a lot of training, so they really deserved this liberty period,” said Sgt. Maj. Russell Strack, the acting sergeant major of the 31st MEU Special Purpose MAGTF currently at sea. “It was a unique chance to visit here and was an opportunity to build relations with the Indonesian people.”
During the stay, the Marines experienced the Indonesian culture as they enjoyed the local foods, shopped for unique items, and interacted with the local civilians.
Several Marines took tours to whitewater raft, view temples, scuba dive and mountain bike through the exotic countryside.
“It was a good time,” said Cpl. Kevin Miller, a data network specialist with the 31st MEU. “I joined the Marine Corps to travel, so to be able to be here and experience their culture was pretty cool.”
The Marines and Sailors aboard the Essex are participating in theater security operations, while the majority of the MEU is back home in Okinawa, Japan. The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and remains the nation’s force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.