By Cpl. Aaron J. Rock
26th Marine Expeditionary Unit
The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit completed its Kuwait Sustainment training exercise today. During more than two weeks of training, the MEU offloaded all its assets from the ships of the USS Iwo Jima Strike Group, and performed a multitude of operations and scenarios using the full range of its equipment and assets.
After long periods aboard ships, Marines and Sailors of the MEU welcomed the chance to continue to train ashore and take the opportunity to conduct training operations in the desert setting, which included aviation, artillery, armored vehicles, and weapons training, said 26th MEU executive officer Lt. Col. Wes Capdepon.
“It's good to get out here and really flex our muscles a bit," said Capdepon. "The facilities and ranges here at Camp Buehring are an excellent venue for MEU Marines to refresh and sharpen those combat skills they work so hard to perfect."
The unit took advantage of the extensive ranges available here to fire almost every weapon in their inventory, from individual small-arms to vehicle and helicopter-mounted cannons and rockets.
Marines and Sailors also took advantage of the base’s training facilities to maintain combat readiness in other areas and scheduled medical training, Humvee egress training and classes in a host of other skills necessary to deployed Marines and Sailors.
“The MEU is a dynamic organization," said Capdepon. "There are many moving parts and many skills to be practiced and reinforced. We do some great training on ship, but coming ashore and actually firing the weapons systems, flying the helicopters, conducting all the mission support – nothing compares to doing it in the real world," he said.
Though most of the MEU will return to ship following the exercise, some elements will remain ashore to continue to train.
The MEU has now completed nearly two-thirds of its current deployment, and will continue to maintain its stance as the force in readiness for the Central Command Area of Operations.