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The 26th MEU Fights in the Littorals
23 Mar 2023

U.S. Marines and Sailors with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU) successfully completed their final land-based exercise, MEU Exercise III (MEUEX) by conducting distributed operations within the littorals of eastern North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana from Mar. 3 to Mar. 15, 2023.

Over the last several months, U.S. Marines and Sailors with the 26th MEU have planned and successfully executed multiple Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) level exercises as part of the unit’s pre-deployment training program (PTP) designed to ensure the 26th MEU has the battlestaff competencies and operational capabilities required to function as the Nation’s premier forward-deployed expeditionary crisis response force during its upcoming deployment to the Sixth and Fifth Fleet areas of responsibility.

Throughout the initial and intermediate stages of the PTP training cycle, hosted by II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) Expeditionary Operations Training Group (EOTG) and Carrier Strike Group 4 (CSG-4), the 26th MEU partnered with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BAT ARG) for advanced land-based and at-sea training periods designed to test the 26th MEU’s ability to execute MEU MAGTF specialized missions within the maritime environment. Additionally, during the PTP, the 26th MEU has partnered with Naval Special Warfare Group (NSWG) and various SEAL Teams showcasing the relevance and operational capability of the 26th MEU to fuse together, support, enable, and complement SOF activities.

MEUEX III provided an opportunity, within a dynamic and complex training scenario, for the 26th MEU to execute the full range of MEU MAGTF operations. During MEUEX III, the 26th MEU successfully achieved C5ISR capabilities and demonstrated proficiency in all MEU Mission Essential Tasks (METs) – including: land-based distributed operations within the littorals of the eastern shoreline, an Airfield Seizure, Long-Range Raids, Long-Range Expeditionary Strikes, Focused Intelligence Collection, Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP), CASEVAC, QRF, MASSCAS, Company-level live fire training, Littoral Operations, a day/night Fire Support Coordination Exercise, Special Insertion and Extraction (SPIE), deep reconnaissance and surveillance, and multiple integrated MEU/SOF operations.

“The FSCEX phase of MEUEX III focused on integrating surface and air-delivered fires within a defined battlespace – to include a live-fire High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) mission via long-haul digital communication. The exercise construct showcased the ability of the MEU Fires and Effects Coordination Center (FECC) and Battalion Fire Support Coordination Center (FSCC) to command-and-control multiple firing agencies to maximize effects on the battlefield in support of MAGTF maneuver,” stated Capt. Vernon Atkinson, Firepower Control Team Leader, 26th MEU. “This advanced fire support training exercise was a significant step forward in regard to our MEU/SOF integration and a great rep and set for the MAGTF fires enterprise . . . encompassing the senior leaders in the FECC down to the observer on the hill. More so, it provided an opportunity to validate internal procedures prior to our evaluation during the SACEX later in our PTP” stated Maj. Andrew “MAWD” Lloyd, Air Officer, 26th MEU.

MEUEX III served as the culminating land-based littoral exercise for the 26th MEU setting conditions for the 26th MEU to transition with the BAT ARG into the advanced stage of PTP for ARG/MEUEX (AMX) followed by the final certification during Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).

The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit 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 BAT ARG, the 26th MEU serves as a premier stand-in force with a breadth of all domain capabilities to operate persistently within the littorals or within the weapons engagement zone of an adversary.

For more than 50 years, the 26th MEU has provided Geographic Combatant Commanders with a highly adaptive, potent, rapid response force capable of conducting missions across the full spectrum of military operations – its performance over the years has marked the 26 MEU as “A Certain Force in an Uncertain World.”

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