OKINAWA, Japan -- In order to be ready for any contingency in the Asia-Pacific region, it is critical that the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit maintains maritime capabilities to execute diverse missions at a moment’s notice.
As a means to that end, the Marines and sailors of the MEU’s Maritime Strike Force received interoperability training aboard Camp Hansen and the Central Training Area, Jan. 30 – Feb. 6.
The training was conducted by the III Marine Expeditionary Force’s Special Operations Training Group to bring together the three elements comprising the MSF and “get them on the same sheet of music,” said Master Sgt. Deryck Dervin, SOTG’s chief instructor and Rockingham, N.C. native.
The MSF is comprised of three elements: Deep and Amphibious Reconnaissance Platoons along with 3rd Plt., Company G, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.
Each unit serves a different function in the MSF. The ARP provides reconnaissance and surveillance, the DRP conducts raids and close-quarters battle and the BLT platoon provides security during the mission.
During the training, the MSF members received several classes and practical application sessions, covering subjects such as urban movement, fast-roping and helicopter landing-zone extractions – all critical activities that allow the team to move hastily during missions where timing is key.
To stress the importance of timeliness, the leaders of each individual element discussed tactics and standing operating procedures to ensure their members know how to communicate with each other and merge into a cohesive whole.
“Everyone from the MEU commander down to the private first class has to know the plan or there will be a greater chance of mission failure,” Dervin said. “Everyone needs to know each other’s jobs to provide that valuable support for one another during a mission.”
The interoperability training is essential to the MSF because the level of coordination needed requires the members to have an intimate familiarity with the details of mission execution, said Capt. James H. Peace, the MSF commander and a native of Chestertown, Md.
“Everyone needs to walk away from this training with a good knowledge of their mission and the tasks required of the different elements of this strike force,” Peace said. “I want to be able to go into the Training in an Urban Environment Exercise and our other sea-based missions being able to execute the full spectrum of tasks we’re required to handle.”
The MSF represents the strike element of the MEU, and its training will help them prepare for any real-world situations they may face during their upcoming deployment throughout the Asia-Pacific Theater.