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24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Amphibious Squadron 8 conduct training off Florida coast

US Marine Corps News

By 24th MEU Public Affairs Office, 24th MEU

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Amphibious Squadron 8 sailed down the Eastern seaboard from their home stations of Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Norfolk, Va., to conduct training exercises off the coast of Florida in preparation for their deployment scheduled for early next year.

The Marines plan to operate around the Mayport, Fla. area in the coming days as part of Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) a test of the Navy-Marine Corps teams ability to rapidly plan and execute a number of missions based off scenarios they could possibly face once deployed.

The current scenario has the 24th MEU and PHIBRON 8 preparing for a wide variety of missions in a fictional country in the vicinity of Naval Station Mayport near Jacksonville, Fla.This training mission is similar to the type of real-world operations the 24th MEU and PHIBRON 8 participated in during their last deployment in 2010.

Approximately 2,100 Marines are participating in COMPTUEX and are currently aboard the amphibious assault ships that comprise PHIBRON 8 USS Iwo Jima, USS New York and USS Gunston Hall.The training is scheduled through Dec. 21 and will include a number of exercises including a non-combatant evacuation of personnel; visit, board, search and seizure of maritime vessels at sea; and aviation training for the various aircraft of the 24th MEU.The Marines will conclude the exercise with an amphibious assault and offload back at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

This training provides the 24th MEU the opportunity to exercise their abilities as a Marine Air Ground Task Force synchronizing the ground, air and logistics elements of its Battalion Landing Team, Aviation Squadron, and Combat Logistics Battalion, said Col. Frank Donovan, commanding officer, 24th MEU.

The missions were conducting with our Navy counterparts off the Florida coast are complex and the unique opportunity we have to train in Florida, in unfamiliar territory, will better prepare us for what we may face once deployed, Donovan said.

While the 24th MEU and PHIBRON 8 are operating in the Jacksonville and Mayport areas, locals may notice increased aviation operations with MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft and CH-53 Super Stallion helicopters. Marines will be on the ground conducting their humanitarian assistance scenario in the vicinity of Naval Station Mayport later this week.

The training is meant to develop cohesion between the 24th MEU and PHIBRON 8 in conducting amphibious operations, crisis response, and limited contingency operations while operating from the sea.

We appreciate this opportunity to train somewhere new and appreciate the support from the Jacksonville area, Donovan said.

The training off the Florida coast will conclude early next week when the 24th MEU and PHIBRON 8 sail north back to the coast of North Carolina.

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