Photo Information

Cpl. Justin Davis peers over the barrel of a MK-19 40mm grenade launcher during a practice raid here March 4. Davis and other infantry Marines from 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, conducted training missions March 2-6 as part of 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit exercise, which focuses on Marine Air Ground Task Force planning and execution.

Photo by Sgt. Scott M. Biscuiti

MEU exercise lays foundation for working together

6 Mar 2009 | Gunnery Sgt. Scott Dunn 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Aviation, ground and logistics elements worked in concert here March 2-6 to complete the first of several exercises planned for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which deploys later this year.

The exercise established the foundation of a cohesive war-fighting unit of 2,200 Marines and sailors, said Col. Gregg Olson, 11th MEU commanding officer.

“We have experienced leaders who know what it takes to prepare for war,” he said.

In addition to executing surface and helicopter-borne raids, the unit conducted a variety of missions including humanitarian assistance, personnel recovery and tactical refueling.

The three major subordinate elements, which officially joined the MEU in January, are Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines; Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166 (Reinforced) and Combat Logistics Battalion 11. 

“Each element brings specific expertise,” said Lt. Col. James R. Hensien, CLB-11 commanding officer. “There isn’t one unit with expertise in all areas. We have a requirement to teach each other.”

Simulating a forward-deployed environment, as if projected inland, the latest exercise put the planning skills into action by incorporating all players down to the platoon level.

As the MEU hones its capabilities as an air-ground task force and begins training from the sea with Navy counterparts, a progressive training schedule will integrate a more amphibious focus.

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

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Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
Executive Officer

LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

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