JOINT EXPEDITIONARY BASE LITTLE CREEK - FORT STORY --
U.S. Marines and Sailors with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF) integrated with East-Coast-based U.S. Naval Special Warfare Operators (SEALs) during Exercise Trident 23-4 for integrated, direct-action SOF raid training and advanced training specifically focused on Military Assisted Departure (MAD) and Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO), 18 – 22 May 2023.
The 26th MEU successfully supported the Trident Exercise with MV-22 aircraft from the 26th MEU ACE, the 26th MEU MSPF, and several planners from the 26th MEU Command Element during the early stages of the MEU’s final at-sea, pre-deployment training exercise, COMPTUEX (C2X). During one of the events, the 26th MEU MSPF served as the airborne Immediate Response Force (IRF) during a complex direct-action SOF raid within a threat-based scenario reflective of 5th and 6th Fleet AORs. Similar to a Quick React Force (QRF), the IRF is capable of quickly responding across the spectrum of contingencies that a raid force could encounter within the objective area during the execution of the mission.
“Supporting TRIDENTEX was another opportunity to showcase MEU/SOF-I3. Participating in and supporting TRIDENTEX highlights the 26th MEU’s ability to integrate with, support, and to enable SOF activities,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Mitchell Moore, a platoon commander with the 26th MEU MSPF. “This MEU/SOF-integration served as another opportunity to strengthen our habitual relationship with NSW and demonstrates a forward deployed Marine Expeditionary Unit is the natural partner to forward deployed SOF elements, especially during a crisis similar to what we observed in Sudan.”
Throughout the 26th MEU’s intensive pre-deployment training program, the 26th MEU MSPF has successfully integrated with and conducted advanced training with SOF across a variety of mission profiles, including long-range direct-action raids, special reconnaissance, special insertion and extraction, close quarters tactical training, and MAD/NEO in preparation for the upcoming LF6F/LF5F deployment to the Tri-COCOM area of operations (EUCOM, CENTCOM, and AFRICOM). More so, the advanced training coupled with the sharing of tactics, techniques, and procedures within threat-based scenarios highlights the flexibility, reach, and operational capabilities the MEU provides to a JTF, TSOC, or Fleet Commander.
“Our MEU/SOF I-3 training continuum has allowed us to compare tactics and improve interoperability across the spectrum of military operations,” said Moore, “this advanced MEU/SOF integrated training has truly enhanced our pre-deployment work-ups and sets conditions for our ability to support and integrate with SOF partners during the deployment.”
The 26th MEU serves as one of the Nation’s premier crisis response forces capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response, and limited contingency operations, to include enabling the introduction of follow-on forces and designated special operations, in support of theater requirements of the Geographic Combatant Commander. Coupled with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BAT ARG), the 26th MEU serves as the premier force-of-choice with the requisite battlestaff competencies and all-domain operational capabilities necessary to dominate within the littorals while maintaining a competitive advantage over potential adversaries.