MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marine and Sailors from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Combat Logistics Battalion-26 constructed a camp capable of housing hundreds of displaced persons during a humanitarian assistance exercise here, today.
The mission was part of the Composite Training Unit Exercise evolution the MEU has been conducting from Oct. 24 to Nov. 6.
The II Marine Expeditionary Force Special Operations Training Group oversaw the training, provided role players for the mission and also graded the CLB on all aspects of the exercise.
The CLB was confronted with the task of assisting international aid organizations in feeding, housing and providing limited medical care to two separate groups simultaneously, while the two groups feuded with each other and occasionally with Marines.
Bone-chilling temperatures and darkness didn't slow the unit as it constructed the camp and processed the displaced persons quickly and efficiently.
Watching the CLB Marines in action impressed Major Marty Klotz (USMC Ret.), a member of SOTG who was role-playing as a United States Agency for International Development representative.
"They did very well; the Initial Response Team, Civil Affairs team, and overall teamwork for the exercise was outstanding," he said. "They set a record time for camp construction."
Humanitarian assistance missions are an essential part of a MEU's overall mission, said Klotz.
"Humanitarian Assistance is a part of every battle-space," he said, "Once you conduct combat operations, you must plan for the assistance of the local populace."
1st Lieutenant D'Arcy L. Spiese, CLB-26 Engineer Detachment Officer-In-Charge and Humanitarian Assistance OIC, said she was pleased with the performance of her troops.
"I was happy seeing all the detachments work so well together, " she said, "We can definitely tell the Marines are comfortable with the leadership roles, and are able to adapt to situations that arise."
She said that she was also impressed with how hard troops worked despite the cold and darkness.
"It got cold and dark but they kept working, got the camp up, and processed two conflicting religious peoples with no major problems."
As the CLB-26 and 26th MEU wrap up the COMPTUEX, they will be one exercise from completing the rigorous six-month predeployment training cycle that merges the disparate elements of the MEU into a cohesive, rapid-reaction force. The 26th MEU will continue to prepare for its scheduled 2007 deployment in support of the Global War on Terror.
For more on the 26th MEU, including news updates, video, and contact information, please visit www.usmc.mil/26meu.