CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines with 1st Civil Affairs Group, Force Headquarters Group, Marine Corps Forces Reserve assisted the Marines of I Marine Expeditionary Force during I MEF Exercise 2015 as a bridge between the civilian and the military’s operational mission aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Feb. 18.
MEFEX-15 is a MEF-level exercise to evaluate the unit’s training and readiness to deploy in support of combatant command operations.
The 1st CAG is responsible for assisting the commanding general by working closely with civilian authorities in the area of operation to lessen the impact of military operations on the local populace.
During MEFEX-15, 1st CAG focused primarily on assisting the I MEF Marines with introducing effective ways of conducting civil affairs operations such as flyers or a more modern way, like social media. Civil affairs members act as a liaison between the civilians within a warzone or disaster area and the military authorities.
The CAG Marines exercised their capabilities throughout different scenarios and notional events to demonstrate their abilities and identify any weaknesses they may have.
“The scenario here is that the enemy is pushing thorough Bakersville and also resides in Bakersville. So there’s an obvious lack of resources there. We, as civil affairs, are trying to keep the people safe so we make sure they don’t get too heavily affected by our operations,” said Capt. Adam E. Luff, a G-9 assistant operations officer with 1st CAG. “1st CAG itself is a reserve unit, but we come together in this exercise and in real life to provide the MEF and the MEB a (civil affairs unit), which is support as a staff element.”
Soldiers with California reserve units also aligned with I MEF as a support agency. The 1st CAG is comprised of both active duty and reserve Marines that come together and train in order to complete the mission.
“Learning staff processes are all about relationships. In order to do so, we have to build and establish a staff relationship on the job,” said Lt. Col. Amber M. Lehning, the G-9 operations officer with 1st CAG. “As a reservist Marine, we must be ready to supplement the active duty forces when needed regardless if we hardly know the group of people we’re working with. I honestly think that’s what these large scale exercises are all about.”
Marines with 1st CAG were able to effectively support MEFEX-15 as they remain ready and relevant for any conflicts that may arise in the future and effectively safeguard the civilian populace.