26th MEU Marine meritoriously promoted during Florida exercise

11 Jun 2001 | Cpl. Thomas Michael Corcoran

Corporal Michael A Vasquez, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit navigations aids technician, received an opportunity that doesn't come along all the time, he was promoted at a ceremony during a Marine Corps community day at Jacksonville Beach, Fla., recently.

Vasquez, a Texas native who is stationed aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., is taking part in his unit's Training in an Urban Environment Exercise in Jacksonville, Fla.

More than 500 Marines are taking part in the training by performing the same functions they would if they were in a forward-deployed environment.
"When you're training for a deployment, I think a lot of it shows how you would actually act in that real-world situation," said Vasquez.

Many of the Marines take on second billets such as guard force and other jobs that are mission essential when forward deployed.

"We need a guard force.  They basically keep all our secret stuff secret and all our classified stuff classified," said Vasquez.  He explained that guarding the command center is like guarding the mind of the MEU.

This exercise is not the last time the MEU will be testing the skills of its Marines and Sailors, Vasquez said.  The Special Operations Capable qualification will come approximately two months after their training in Jacksonville is done.

And, like Vasquez was the day he was promoted, he and other Marines have been partaking in a special kind of urban training.  Approximately 20 MEU Marines have donated some time to community events. The community day also saw local recruiters and reservists with their tactical vehicles and equipment.

Getting out and speaking with the community is not the only thing Vasquez is doing down here.  During the exercise he maintains and services equipment that makes it possible for air traffic controllers to communicate to aircraft.

Everything here seems to be going as planned, according to Vasquez.
"I foresee a successful TRUEX with no major problems, at least problems that we can't overcome."