An F-35B Lighitng II performs deck landing qualifications on the USS Wasp (LHD-1), March 5, 2018. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 embarked a detachment of F-35Bs on the USS Wasp for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Spring Patrol 2018, marking the first operational deployment of the F-35B with a MEU. As the Marine Corps' only continuously forward-deployed MEU, the 31st MEU provides a flexible force ready to perform a wide range of military operations. (Photo by Cpl. Bernadette Wildes)
On Thursday, May 24, 2018, the Center for Adaptation and Innovation (CAI) hosted the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and the WASP Amphibious Ready Group as part of its Returning Commander Speaker Series. The 31st MEU BHR ARG/31st MEU was deployed from 6 June through 12 September 2017, and the WASP ARG/31st MEU was deployed from 19 March through 23 April 2018. Captain Ed Thompson was the Commodore of PHIBRON 11 and Colonel Tye R. Wallace was the commanding officer of the 31st MEU.
The 31st MEU participated in multiple high level exercises. They took part in Sea Dragon 2025, which is the big picture vision for the Marine Corps that focuses on a variety of equipment enhancements as well as command structure changes. The 31st MEU also participated in Talisman Saber ’17 where they participated in combined joint amphibious landings and certification of AUS amphibious ships. The 31st MEU was the inaugural deployment of the first operational F-35B. The F-35B provides the MEU capability to operate in a high threat environment. During Operation Ssang Yong ’18 the MEU established and executed fully operational F-35 capable FARP.