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TRUEX now a memory for the 22d MEU

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 11/19/2003

Story by Gunnery Sgt. Keith A. Milks

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Nov. 19, 2003) -- After spending nearly three weeks in the Columbia, S.C.-area conducting their Training in an Urban Environment Exercise (TRUEX), the Marines and Sailors of the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) returned to Camp Lejeune satisfied another major training milestone was now behind them.

TRUEX is a standard pre-deployment training exercise for all deploying MEUs, and helps prepare the unit for operating in urban terrain ranging from major metropolitan cities to mid-sized towns and small villages.

The bulk of the training focused on refining the urban combat skills of the 22d MEU's Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF). Known in some circles as the 'scalpel' of the MEU, the MSPF consists of the unit's Force Reconnaissance Platoon, a security platoon, and a number of specialized attachments.

During TRUEX, the MSPF conducted one daylight and two nighttime precision raids in and around the Columbia and Rock Hill, S.C. areas. Supporting these raids were elements of Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 6th Marines, the ground combat element of the 22d MEU, who provided quick reaction and recovery forces, and the aircraft of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 (Reinforced), the MEU's aviation combat element, who provided lift into and out of the 'hit' sites.

In addition to the MSPF raids, the MEU used TRUEX to sharpen a number of other skills. HMM-266 (Rein) received valuable aerial urban navigation training and practiced both aerial and rapid ground refueling. The Marines and Sailors of BLT 1/6 worked closely with the MEU Command Element and its combat service support provider, MEU Service Support Group 22, on post-mission handling of casualties and enemy detainees.

A small break in the training cycle gave the MEU the opportunity to support local recruiting and community outreach efforts by visiting area high schools. At the two suburban Columbia schools, helicopters were flown in to give the students a chance to get a close-up look at the aircraft they'd heard and seen over the past few weeks and to meet and interact with their pilots and air crew.

With TRUEX behind them, the MEU is now looking forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and its Expeditionary Strike Group(ESG)/MEU Exercise scheduled for the first three weeks of December.

The 22d MEU is scheduled to deploy early next year as part of the WASP ESG/22d MEU. In addition to the amphibious assault ships WASP, SHREVEPORT, and WHIDBEY ISLAND, the force consists of the cruisers YORKTOWN and LEYTE GULF, destroyer MCFAUL, and attack submarine CONNECTICUT.

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