MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Every operation cycle, units pack up their gear and store it until they get ready to ‘pump out’ again. Before a deployment, they ‘dust off the cobwebs,’ and assess the equipment they use while conducting operations.
Marines and sailors with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) conducted a Command Post Exercise, June 20-23, dubbed “CPEX,” to better familiarize themselves with the gear they will use for their command operations center.
“The biggest part of this exercise is that we ensure all of the gear is deployable,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Martin L. Trujillo, operations chief, operations section for I Marine Expeditionary Force, the unit’s parent command. “The 15th MEU is one of three MEUs on the west coast and it’s important that we standardize the equipment requirements for our MEUs,” added the Thornton, Colo. native.
The exercise involved setting up all of the different tents used for the staff sections of the 15th MEU’s Command Element. Training of this nature is conducted with the Command Element separately from the unit’s Major Subordinate Elements or MSEs to ensure self-sufficiency within each command.
“The CPEX helped us get acquainted with our equipment,” said Lance Cpl. Philip M. Larkin, administrative clerk, 15th MEU. “A lot of people have recently joined the unit so getting to know our gear before we deploy is really important,” said the Scottsdale, Ariz. native.
Once the Command Operations Center was all setup, the unit’s commanding officer, Col. Scott D. Campbell evaluated the setup to see what changes needed to be made.
“Ultimately, the commander makes the final decision as to how things are set up to best meet his needs,” said Maj. Scott A. Huesing, assistant operations officer, 15th MEU. “The event was a success thanks to enablers (both military and civilian,) and we identified which components made it work so well. We want to ensure we retain the expansion capability to host higher headquarters while we remain as expeditionary and lightweight as possible,” said the Chicago native.
After the exercise, the CE now knows where they stand in terms of what changes need to be made to the setup or what gear needs to be purchased.
“The CPEX is helping Marines understand the expeditionary means of the command as well as the requirements to become operational,” said Trujillo. “It also helps them get familiar with their gear.”
The entire training event could not be accomplished without the support of all sergeants and below, according to Master Sgt. Jose M. Giron, headquarters commandant, 15th MEU, the needed repairs have been identified and the tents have been repacked in an organized manner.
“The best part about having been out here is learning how to use all of the different pieces of gear our MEU has,” said Larkin. “This is my first time doing an exercise like this but as more Marines check-in to the Command Element we’ll have a better understanding of how it all comes together and be able to help teach them how it works.”
The 15th MEU is comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors and is a forward deployed force of readiness capable of conducting numerous operations, such as Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations, Humanitarian Assistance Operations, Disaster Relief Operations and a wide range of amphibious missions. The 15th MEU is currently in its dwell period after it completed a seven month Western Pacific deployment December 17, 2010.