CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait -- In the first complete offload of its current deployment, the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) came ashore in Kuwait today to begin training at Udairi Range, a venue that will give the unit a chance to exercise its core capabilities as a Marine air ground task force (MAGTF) in preparation for future operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf region.
The MEU, embarked aboard the ships of the Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group, recently arrived in the Gulf to help set the conditions for security and stability in the region.
Using helicopter transport provided by Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 162 (Reinforced) to Kuwait Naval Base and surface transport to shore via Landing Crafts, Air Cushioned (LCACs), the MEU began its offload in the early-morning hours and continued the flow of troops and equipment ashore throughout the day.
While at Udairi Range, Marines and sailors will sharpen skills that define their roles within the MEU. Training will include small arms and crew-serve weapons firing, live-fire convoy operations, patrolling, command and control and aviation live-fire. The training period will culminate in a combined arms exercise, incorporating all the elements of the MEU.
During this training evolution, the MEU staff will maintain command and control of the exercise from the combat operations center here. Troops from the Command Element, Battalion Land Team, 2nd Bn., 8th Marines, MEU Service Support Group 26 and HMM-162 (Rein.) will participate in a variety of training exercises to reinforce conventional battle skills along with tactics unique to a Marine Expeditionary Unit. Once the training is complete, the MEU will rejoin the strike group afloat and prepare for follow-on operations.
In its current status as the strategic reserve for U.S. Central Command and U.S. Navy Central Command the 26th MEU (SOC) and Kearsarge ESG may be called upon to support security and stability operations in Iraq while maintaining the ability to respond to contingencies elsewhere in the region.
The concept of conducting separate but simultaneous missions, labeled distributed operations, is a distinguishing capability of the flexible, rapid response force that is the 26th MEU (SOC).
For more information on the 26th MEU (SOC), log on to www.usmc.mil/26thmeu.