OKINAWA, Japan -- The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (3D MEB) completed a short-notice, rapid response Alert Contingency Marine Air Ground Task Force (ACM) rehearsal here Sept. 22, 2021.
The drill was designed to maintain the combat readiness of the brigade in order to rapidly deploy a Forward Command Element (FCE) to a crisis event anywhere in the Indo-Pacific Area of Responsibility. The FCE is designed to conduct an assessment of the crisis situation, make recommendations for flow of additional forces, and provide a forward command and control node to enable any follow-on operations that may be necessary.
“We execute these drills to enhance our ability to be ready at a moment’s notice, to execute any number of options across the continuum of crisis we could be asked to deal with here in this region,” said Col. Michael Brennan, operations officer, 3D MEB. “We know that the call could come at any time, so these rehearsals keeps us sharp, keen, and ready for compassionate or violent action, whichever the mission calls for.”
The drill began with an early-morning notification, which then quickly led to various elements of the 3D MEB assembling at the Unit Marshalling Area (UMA). Once at the UMA, the FCE team gained accountability, loaded individual and unit equipment, weapons and ammunition on tactical vehicles.
After final preparations were made, the team moved via tactical vehicles to Kadena Air Base. Once at the airfield, 3D MEB Marines quickly unloaded vehicles, and then palletized, staged, prepared gear for loading onto aviation assets, and conducted communication checks, successfully meeting required timelines for completion.
“In order to be successful today, we had to coordinate with III MEF’s major subordinate commands, including 3d Marine Logistics Group to transport chow and ammunition, and the MEF Support Battalion to provide administrative support including vehicles and transport of weapons,” said Maj. Stephan Quirk, 3D MEB current operations officer.
As part of the 3D MEB maintaining year-round readiness, members must rehearse integrating reinforcements that would be required to deploy the force.
“This type of realistic training allows the 3D MEB and its associated elements to be resilient, ready and relevant for tasking to any crisis response as directed by higher-headquarters within the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility,” Quirk continued.
The 3D MEB is III Marine Expeditionary Force’s ‘Fire Brigade’ force, and as such, is the organization tasked to immediately respond to crisis as directed by U.S Indo-Pacific Command around-the-clock.