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26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

A Certain Force in an Uncertain World

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
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Outside looking in; foreign marine’s impression

By Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels | October 28, 2013

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French Marine Lt. Col. Rene Debuire assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), French foreign exchange officer, stands on the catwalk of the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) during the 26th MEU's 2013 deployment, at sea, Oct. 25, 2013. Debuire attached to the 26th MEU during their pre-deployment training program and has since been with them to help coordinate bilateral training evolutions, and learn their capabilities. The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force forward-deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group serving as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious operations across the full range of military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels/Released)

French Marine Lt. Col. Rene Debuire assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), French foreign exchange officer, stands on the catwalk of the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) during the 26th MEU's 2013 deployment, at sea, Oct. 25, 2013. Debuire attached to the 26th MEU during their pre-deployment training program and has since been with them to help coordinate bilateral training evolutions, and learn their capabilities. The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force forward-deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group serving as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious operations across the full range of military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels/Released) (Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels)


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USS KEARSARGE, At Sea --
French Marine Lt. Col. Rene Debuire, a French foreign exchange officer, has been attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary through their pre-deployment training program (PTP) as well as their 2013 deploymen “I’m attached to the MEU, inside the S3 [logistics] shop, to coordinate the bilateral training events between the MEU and the French units,” said Debuire. “Also, I serve as the liaison officer with the NATO Headquarters in the event of a joint operation.”
Through their deployment, the 26th MEU has conducted bilateral training with a multitude of nations, teaching them everything from tactics on the squad level to proper maintenance on vehicles. Debuire’s involvement with the MEU has given him a much more in-depth experience, allowing him to see the whole spectrum of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force: everything from planning to execution.

“While working with the Special Operations Training Group I discovered all the PTP with the 24 MEU and the different processes to prepare the units before deployment, but I wanted to know the capabilities of the MEU to improve the interoperability between the MEU and the French Amphibious Task Force,” said the Amiens, France native.

Working alongside the 26th MEU, Debuire has noticed some similarities which allowed for an easier transition.

“I’m extremely proud to be part of the 26 MEU because it almost feels like I’m in my French Marine family,” he said. “Both teams have the ability and the will to fight for the same core values of which fidelity to the mission and leadership, and mutual trust within Marines’ units are in the center.”

The U.S. Marine Corps noncommissioned officer was built and inspired by French and British NCOs. To this day, Debuire said one of the biggest similarities he has noticed between our operations is the importance and excellence of the NCO: the backbone of these forces.

This observation further supports the most recent message to NCO’s sent out by Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, explaining the impact and significance of concerned and engaged leadership. The letter says of the 174,046 enlisted Marines, 144,570 are sergeant or below: 83.06% of the Marine Corps are led by NCO’s, highlighting the roots of the strength and professionalism of the French and American Marine Corps.

“From this deployment, I’ve learned many lessons; it would be difficult to point out a single one,” said Debuire. “The Marines have a great capability to adapt to whatever environment they operate in: country, weather, and of course the mission.  They are very disciplined and rustic. Even on ship where shipboard-life make it extremely difficult to train, I was amazed to watch how all the platoons adapted and met the training goals. Moreover, Marines’ motivation has always been at the top and I have been impressed by their level of professionalism.”

Debuire said he has been moving throughout his whole career, living in various French territories and multiple countries in Africa, but that doesn’t make it any easier to leave behind loved ones.

 “I do miss my sons who live in Paris and in Beirut,” said Debuire. “Fortunately, when we go back to Camp Lejeune, I’ll have my wife and my daughters who lived with me there waiting. Like every Marine, I share my heart between my country, my family and God.”