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Unit Deployment Program

There are currently two types of deployments: Unit Deployment Program (UDP) of Continental United States (CONUS) and Hawaii-based units to Western Pacific (WESTPAC) and deployment to support a Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU). Although considered part of the UDP, the WESTPAC MAU remains aboard amphibious shipping for a majority of their deployment precluding entitlement to per diem during that period. MCO P3000.15 Manpower Unit Deployment Program Standing Operating Procedures (MANPOWER UDP SOP) establishes policies and procedures for deployment of units in connection with the Unit Deployment Program. One of the basic tenets of the UDP is the reduction of personnel turbulence through the stabilization of Marines within the same tactical unit thereby increasing both leader to led interface and training continuity. Deployment aboard amphibious shipping for the entire period of a deployment; i.e., WESTPAC or Landing Force Sixth Fleet (LF6F) Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU) is different from the normal unit deployment to Okinawa or Iwakuni.

On 17 March 1959 the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, initiated the Transplacement Battalion Rotation System which called for organizing and training a unit, such as an infantry battalion, at Camp Pendleton, and then moving the trained unit to Okinawa, where it becomes a unit of the 3d Marine Division. In turn, a similar sized unit from that division returned to Pendleton, where, over a period of months, it was re-organized and trained to await its turn for a tour overseas. Transplacement battalions came into being when the Marine Corps decided to relieve its Marines stationed on Okinawa by relieving units rather than individual Marines, thus retaining the unity and efficiency of the battalion by keeping its men serving together. Under the initial transplacement plan, a battalion transplacing between the 1st Marine Division in the States and the 3d Marine Division in Okinawa would retain its original regiment's identity.

On 01 January 1961 the infantry transplacement battalions of the 1st and 3d Marine Divisions were redesignated to conform with their present regiment. This change was made as a means of eliminating the administrative difficulty which had resulted from the units being allowed to maintain their original identities. From now on, transplacement battalion would exchange names with the unit it relieved. As a result of this new transplacement plan, the 1st, 2d, and 3d Battalions, 7th Marines, were redesignated the 1st, 2d, and 3d Battalions, 9th Marines. This action changed only the correct administrative title of the battalions and did not involve the physical movement of Marines, although some of the battalions were in the process of transplacement at the time.

To reduce the number of unaccompanied tours and improve unit continuity, the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) established the UDP to provide for the deployment of units to WESTPAC for periods of approximately 6 months. The initial program was a six-phased evolution that sequenced infantry battalions and aircraft squadrons/detachments into WESTPAC deployments, thus eliminating the 12-month permanent change of station assignments for personnel assigned to these units.

The program commenced in October 1977 and has proceeded through the six phases. In August 1985, tank companies began phasing into the program. They were followed by assault amphibian vehicle companies and direct support artillery batteries in FY87 and FY88. Further expansion of the UDP will also be implemented.

The Marine Corps' objective is to adhere as closely as possible to a 6-month period of deployment away from a unit's Continental United States or Hawaii homebase. It must be understood, however, that shipping or airlift schedule variations and exercise or contingency operations will occasionally necessitate longer or shorter deployments for participating units.

Twelfth Marines deploys batteries, augmented with a Combat Service Support Detachment, to various locations on mainland Japan to conduct live-fire, artillery-sustainment training. The batteries participate in the Unit Deployment Program and spend six months on Okinawa before returning to the United States. The batteries will receive augmentation from 12th Marines, 3d Force Service Supply Group and 3rd Marine Division, as needed, depending on facilities available at the relocation sites.

Active duty members assigned to Okinawa as part of the Unit Deployment Program (UDP) are not considered permanently assigned for the purpose of qualifying for Overseas Housing Allowance. OHA is payable to a member without dependents at their permanent duty station when government quarters are not available for assignement.




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