WHITE BEACH, Okinawa, Japan -- More than 2,000 Marines and Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit boarded three Navy ships of Amphibious Squadron 11, and departed here, Aug. 31, to begin a scheduled patrol of the Asia-Pacific region.
The deployment aboard amphibious ships with their Navy counterparts brings the Marines of the 31st MEU back to their naval roots, while making the experience of being an expeditionary unit complete.
“Being embarked on naval vessels is the bread and butter of what it means to be a Marine,” said Lt. Col. Troy Roesti, executive officer of the 31st MEU and native of Sherwood, Ohio. “We’re very proficient in operating from the shore, but there are considerations that our Navy brethren have to incorporate in our planning process when executing our missions.”
The upcoming patrol is designed to continue the unit’s multilateral training with allied nations in the region, while maintaining a ready force at sea and contributing to theater security cooperation. As the Marine Corps’ 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.
“I’m excited to get the experience of training with other nations during the exercises we’ll be participating in,” said Lance Cpl. Travis J. Gilbertson, a rifleman for Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, and native of La Crosse, Wisc.
The 31st MEU is comprised of four elements: the Command Element; the Ground Combat Element, BLT 2/1; the Air Combat Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 (Reinforced); and the Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 31.
The majority of Marines and Sailors of the 31st MEU will load aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), with several also boarding USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and USS Denver (LPD 9).
The 31st MEU is the Marine Corps’ only continually forward-deployed MEU, and remains the Marine Corps’ force-in-readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.