MARINE CORPS MOUNTAIN WARFARE TRAINING CENTER BRIDGEPORT, Calif. --
The 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade is showing its ability to be a rapid-response asset for the United States during exercise Javelin Thrust 2011.
Marines and sailors of 1st MEB’s command element realistically simulated what it would take to go from its Camp Pendleton headquarters to a forward-located combat operations center, complete with computers, communications equipment and anything else necessary to run full-scale operations.
“I think we’ve done well,” said Lt. Col. Bruce Laughlin, the MEB’s current operations officer. “It’s been impressive that we could send a small advanced party along with this equipment, and that they could come out here and set it up. And then for the main body to arrive and just fall in on equipment, log in and see the systems come up in just a very short period of time is very impressive.”
Until July 29, the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif., is on the western border of the fictitious country of Acadia, at least to the 5,000 active and reserve Marines and sailors participating in Javelin Thrust.
The scenario places the MEB’s staff in the middle of growing tensions between U.S. ally Acadia and its northern neighbor and enemy, Cameno. Cameian forces have entered Acadia, and the likelihood of all-out war is high. Now that they’re here, the MEB staff will simulate how it will respond to the various mock scenarios that will play out over the next several days.
“It’s been a long time since the MEB has done this. Over the last decade, we’ve been focused on Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Laughlin said. “We’re looking at the future and seeing what those requirements might be, and we see that the MEB is the right force to respond.”
This is the third year for Javelin Thrust, which spans across several training areas in Nevada, Arizona and California. This is the first time 1st MEB is participating.
In the past, reserve units participating in Javelin Thrust used their own people to simulate a higher MEB-level headquarters. Actually having 1st MEB’s staff allows for more realistic training, said Sgt. Maj. George Muskievicz, the Javelin Thrust sergeant major.
“It allows us to have the MEB to create that command and control center that oversees the entire operation. And I think it’s a great thing to have a higher headquarters online,” he said.
As a reservist, Muskievicz has been a part of this exercise before. He said having the MEB participate also allows his Marines to build on the progress they’ve made in previous years.
“This operation absolutely puts everybody together, and you hone in those skills so that when you do deploy, you’re ready and full-on capable,” he said.
Meshing both components of the Marine Corps could be more prominent in future operations, said Laughlin.
“The MEB is the emergency response force of the future, and the reserves could very well be a component within the MEB if we had to respond to a crisis,” he said.
Although it’s still early on in the exercise, Laughlin said he already sees payoffs in participating in Javelin Thrust.
“We’re seeing a lot of the good, we’re seeing some of the things that we need to work on, and we’re going to go back home and continue to refine the process so we’ll be ready to deploy when we’re asked to,” Laughlin said.
Javelin Thrust 2011 continues until July 29.