first published on February 28, 2018 by Josh
The Marine Expeditionary Unit, formerly known as the Marine Amphibious Unit, is the smallest of all Marine Air Ground Task Forces. They are an expeditionary unit that is forward deployed with a multitude of capabilities, making them the Swiss Army Knife of the American Military, and our most capable display of military power. While deployed, this light weight, versatile unit can be used for a number of different mission sets anywhere in the world on a moments notice. Quick Reaction Force is the primary name of the game as these Marines and Sailors sit at the ready off of the coast of any number of locations around the world prepared to fill a variety of different roles.
Marine Expeditionary Units are capable of completing a wide array of missions. In order to be forward deployed with a MEU, Marines at all levels must be prepared to conduct operations ranging from crisis response, and humanitarian aid, to amphibious raids and landings in hostile territory. To prepare for these mission-sets, training is a never-ending part of the life the Marines live. Leading up to the deployment on ship, all Marines will undergo a rigorous training regiment that will not stop even as the Marines are placed into the tight confines of their Naval transportation units. While training aboard a small naval vessel can prove to be challenging at time, the Marines continue to find innovative ways to adapt and overcome their surroundings.
One of the key components to a Marine Expeditionary Unit, outside of the air, logistics, and ground assets, is the reconnaissance teams that make a MEU special operations capable. These small units of specialized Marines can be utilized by the expeditionary force to complete a number of direct action mission-sets that cannot be completed by conventional ground assets like the infantry. These operations include VBSS, also known as visit, board, search, and seizure operations, and small unit raids. Also, these small teams can be utilized by commanders in the task force to gain valuable knowledge prior to an amphibious assault on an objective inland. Intelligence collection is arguably the reconnaissance teams most valuable skill-set.
In the video below, Force Reconnaissance Marines from Maritime Raid Force, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit conduct a night time raid as part of their continued training while forward deployed. The Realistic Urban Training Exercise (RUTEX) is a tailored training course specifically designed with these Marines in mind, and helps them hone their craft to a razor’s edge. The exercise was conducted in Guam. This video comes to us courtesy of the United States Marine Corps, and Cpl. Bernadette Wildes.