MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit trained as a Marine Air Ground Task Force to evacuate non-combatants during MEU Exercise, here, April 10-11.
Non-combatant evacuation operations are one of many standing missions a MEU can be called upon to execute. This operation’s main effort was 15th MEU’s logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion 15. They were responsible for the safe extract of the non-combatants along with transport and military police to name a few.
If the 15th MEU is called upon to conduct any type of operation (such as a NEO) during its deployment, several key members, called the Forward Command Element, will go ashore ahead of the main body to ensure proper coordination is made with the diplomatic agent of the country where the mission will take place.
The exercise used several scenarios to make the training more realistic. The scenario used for this exercise was an increasing hostile political climate in the country where the scenario took place, where tensions and protests escalated than the country could handle. The MEU was given the mission to rescue more than 50 American citizens, as peaceful protests turned into riots.
“We are evacuating people from the notional country due to rising hostile environments,” said 2nd Lt. Louis C. Lukondi, NEO site commander, Combat Logistics Battalion 15, 15th MEU. “Our goal is to get the Americans out as fast as possible with minimal collateral damage ,” added the 23-year-old native of Bronx N.Y.
The exercise involved nearly 200 Marines and sailors from the 15th MEU serving as either role players or force protection. Combat Logistics Battalion 15 also provided a portion of their military police to assist with controlling the hostile populace.
“The CLB is conducting the extract of the non-combatants,” said Cpl. Douglas A. Vogel, vehicle commander, Combat Anti-Armor Team 1, Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th MEU. “We are providing security for them while they evacuate the non-combatants.”
Before non-combatants were evacuated, they were thoroughly searched by the MPs then processed through the evacuation control center.
After moving through the control center, the evacuees were transported in seven-ton trucks by CLB-15 to Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton where they were further extracted to MCAS Miramar.
The 15th MEU is a MAGTF comprised of approximately 2,300 Marines and sailors who are participating in MEUEX to help prepare the unit for its deployment scheduled for this fall.