U.S. Marines and Sailors assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) spell out 26 MEU on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), Mar.14, 2016 in the Arabian Sea. http://www.26thmeu.marines.mil/Photos.aspx?igphoto=2001552228
30th June 2016 - As part of its Returning Commander Speaker Series, the Center for Adaptation and Innovation hosted Colonel Robert Fulford of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and Captain Augustus Bennett of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSG ARG), on 30 June 2016. The MEU/ARG were deployed from 6 October 2015 to 3 May 2016. The KSG ARG deployment encompassed 210 days; 181 days operating in split configuration and 8 as disaggregated days. The MEU deployment encompassed 242 days, of which 59 were disaggregated days.
The Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) / Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) is a flexible Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) that performs a Range Of Military Operations (ROMO) with a focus on amphibious operations and expeditionary support, backing Geographic Combatant Commanders and providing crisis response. This MEU/ARG took part in 4 named operations, 4 theater security cooperation exercises, 1 bilateral exercise, and 11 exchanges with Special Operations Forces throughout the CENTCOM, EUCOM, and AFRICOM theaters. Of these exercises, two major exercises were conducted with 6th fleet, and the bilateral training exercise with Turkey exercised the full capability of the landing force by conducting ship to shore operations.
Colonel Fulford and Captain Bennett emphasized the value of their rigorous and aggregated Pre-Deployment Training Program (PTP) in mission preparation and creating a unified team. Their training and well-monitored supply chain ensured that they were prepared for every mission. Colonel Fulford and Captain Bennett also affirmed their decision to request and receive specialists to help with intelligence collection and analysis. Interoperability was also key to a joint understanding of requirements and limitations. The Marine Corps and the Navy exchanged liaisons, thereby improving naval integration. Web-based communication was also important for connectivity, and will continue to be in the future.
The value of blue-green teaming and the resulting amphibious capabilities stems from the increased flexibility, adaptability, and agility derived from such a force. There will be more split operations in the future, due to the increasing number of requirements and decreasing number of ships. These split operations are most successful when conducted by a well-integrated team. Today’s threat environment requires an agile response from amphibious units, and cooperation and coordination between our naval assets to promote warfighting readiness.
We would like to acknowledge the loss of Staff Sergeant Cardin who died from wounds suffered following an indirect fire attack at Fire Base Bell in northern Iraq.