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MAGTF At Its Finest: 26th MEU conducts first MAGTF exercise, MEUEX I
12 Jan 2023

U.S. Marines and Sailors with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) honed their warfighting skills and strengthened their core crisis response capabilities during MEU Exercise I (MEUEX I) from distributed operating positions within the littorals of eastern North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, from Dec. 7 to Dec. 22, 2022.

This fifteen-day field exercise was the first of several collective Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) training events associated with the 26th MEU pre-deployment training program (PTP) in preparation for an upcoming deployment to the 6th Fleet and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility in 2023.

The focus of MEUEX I was centered on building unit cohesion while planning and executing land-based MEU missions across the spectrum within a realistic threat-based scenario building upon the lessons learned during the MAGTF Interoperability Course facilitated by II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) Expeditionary Operations Training Group (EOTG). More so, this collective training event provided another opportunity for the 26th MEU to integrate and train with Naval Special Warfare units enhancing MEU/SOF-I3.

During MEUEX I, the 26th MEU showcased the flexibility and operational reach of a land-based MEU by executing long-range aviation strikes, night Raids, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance (FHA), Focused Collection Operations (FCO), Embassy Reinforcement and a Non-combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO), and contingency operations like Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP), Quick Reaction Force (QRF), and Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) – typical missions that a MEU MAGTF may be tasked by the Geographic Combatant Commander to support while forward deployed.

"The Marines and Sailors of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit came together during MEUEX I to demonstrate their resolve and tenacity in a dynamic environment while executing missions across the full range of military operations. The Golden Eagles of the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) were able to maintain an expeditionary warfighting mindset throughout the exercise and build upon the relationships necessary to form a fully functioning MAGTF,” said Lt. Col. Larry Buzzard, Commanding Officer of VMM 162.

“CLB-22 is unquestionably in a higher state of readiness following MEUEX. The exercise tested our ability to provide sustained Combat Service Support to the MEU while simultaneously enhancing our interoperability with the MEU through scenarios rehearsing our core tasks of providing the Evacuation Control Center in support of Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations and providing Foreign Humanitarian Assistance,” added Lt. Col. Luke Sauber, Commanding Officer of CLB-22, the 26th MEU’s Logistics Combat Element.

“There was not a single mission that we could have done alone. Collectively, we all learned from each other and demonstrated the lethal capability a fully operational MAGTF provides. We are truly excited to be a part of the 26th MEU as the Ground Combat Element and continue to grow as a unified team and prepare to serve at the tip of the spear,” said Lt. Col. Scott Helminski, Commanding Officer of BLT 1/6.

The 26th MEU provides a forward-deployed, flexible, MAGTF capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response, and limited contingency operations, to include the enabling of follow-on forces and designated special operations, in support of theater requirements of the Geographic Combatant Commander. The 26th MEU is preparing for a scheduled deployment alongside Bataan Amphibious Ready Group.

For more information contact the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Communication Strategy and Operations Officer, Capt. Angelica White at angelica.white@usmc.mil.