The two videos you will see here were taken on recent at sea training exercises undertaken by the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). You will get a good idea of the complex training and conditions that these new USMC MEUs are undergoing for their new duties.
The Navy and the Marine Corps were paired together from the beginning of their mutual histories, but over much of the 20th century, their connections had not been so closely tied together. The Marine Corps became more of an independent service of its own, though still part of the US Navy. They were the ground forces that were delivered by the Navy, and they flew Marine planes off of Navy aircraft carriers, but they were not as closely tied to one another as they had been in the beginning when the Marines were the fighting force and boarding forces on Navy ships at sea. As the joke goes, the Marines called the Navy their “Uber” drivers. But the Navy’s new amphibious assault ships are bringing the Navy and the newest elements of Marine Corps, the MEUs, back to something of a relationship more like the original one back at the time of the American Revolution.
The Navy has developed this new breed of littoral ships and others along with the Marine Corps that are designed to deploy Marine recon and infantry units more rapidly, more efficiently and more lethally from these multi-purpose designed ships. The MEUs are also training for more at sea, ship to ship, kinds of battle scenarios.
In these videos you will see the kinds of training and the kinds of scenarios that the MEUs and the Navy are undertaking together for this new battlefield arena. In one video you will see Marines repelling, or fast-roping, onto a ship deck, taking up firing positions and working on their tactics and marksmanship skills. On the other, you will get more of a narrative about what is going on from the onboard Marine commander. This one deals with launching Marines on rubber boats from one ship, then you will see the Marines being picked up by helicopters, suspended from rope ladders and then delivered to the deck of the USS Wasp (LHD-1), a United States Navy, multipurpose amphibious assault ship. These are the kinds of maneuvers and tactics these MEUs are training for today. The Marines are being prepared to fight battles ship to ship as well as on land. They are becoming more mobile and more diverse in their mission possibilities.
One of the things you will see is that the Marine Recon and MEUs as well as the sailors aboard these ships work together seamlessly. They are more integrated and work very efficiently together. These units are being prepared for the kind of situations that might arise in the future between the larger powers around the world, like China and Russia that may take place more at sea.
There is no other service as adaptable, as agile and as quick as the United States Marine Corps. Now, with this ever more integrated USMC-USN approach, they will be even faster and potentially more lethal than ever.
Understand why in the video below.
Semper Fi and Fair Winds to the USMC MEUs and their U.S. Navy partners.