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III MEF Headquarters Group sustains UFG communications

US Marine Corps News

8/26/2011 By Lance Cpl. Matheus J. Hernandez, Marine Corps Bases Japan

CENTRAL TRAINING AREA, OKINAWA, Japan — III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group and its subordinate units are operating here in support of Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2011 through today.

UFG is a defense-oriented, annual combined-joint command post exercise that demonstrates U.S. commitment to the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance. UFG simulates U.S. support of its South Korean ally in possible crisis situations, explained Maj. James Cherry, executive officer, III MEF Headquarters Group.

“The exercise gives the Marines a better idea of how we operate and what to expect. A lot of these Marines haven’t deployed, so it helps prepare them for any future operations,” said Gunnery Sgt. Johnny Delarosa, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, detention operations, Military Police Support Company, III MEF Headquarter Group. “Training is key to helping us become more proficient in the future.”

Marines with 7th Communication Battalion, 3rd Intelligence Bn., elements of 3rd Radio Bn. and III MEF staff, all part of III MEF Headquarters Group, as well as other III MEF commands, have been supporting the MEF exercise for the past two weeks, contributing their expertise.

“Marines have been working on how they would support the MEF HQ and how they would set up the (command operations center) for combat operations,” said Cherry.

The experience is great for the Marines because it allows them to recognize potential pitfalls and correct them in a safe environment, according to Delarosa.

“The communication from top to bottom is very detailed,” said Cherry.

There are many moving parts with all the different units involved, and working together allows the Marines to see how each element contributes to the overall exercise, said Cherry.

“It’s a very intricate, highly-coordinated dance,” said Cherry.

All elements have been constantly in play contributing to the MEF-sized COC.

“The Marines get a chance to come out and do their task of supporting the MEF,” said Cherry. “They also get a chance to go out and practice a lot of the combat skills that they might not get to do on a day-to-day basis. We have Marines out here doing security and tactical convoy operations in the training areas, so they’re getting a chance to hone their combat skills, as well as their main mission of supporting the MEF COC.”


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