Photo Information

An AV-8B Harrier with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (Reinforced) lands on the amphibious assault ship Makin Island here Sept. 29. The squadron serves as the aviation combat element for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The unit embarked USS Makin Island, the amphibious transport dock New Orleans and the dock landing ship Pearl Harbor in San Diego Sept. 28. The unit is participating in its final exercise before deploying in November.

Photo by Cpl. Tommy Huynh

Certification exercise readies 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit for deployment

29 Sep 2011 | Capt. Roger Hollenbeck

Marines and sailors from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit will be tested on their ability to conduct missions from the sea during their certification exercise Sept. 29 to Oct. 12 aboard USS Makin Island, USS New Orleans and USS Pearl Harbor and at military bases throughout Southern California.  

"The certification exercise is a validation of this unit's capabilities by observers who will evaluate both our ability to conduct missions under real conditions and timelines beyond our control, and provide fine tuning as we prepare to deploy," said Col. Michael R. Hudson, the 11th MEU's commanding officer. 

The outcome of the exercise will be captured in a report and presented to the commanding general of the First Marine Expeditionary Force. If the MEU's performance meets the standard, it will be certified to deploy. 

"This exercise solidifies best practices and is the capstone event for the MEU before we deploy," Hudson said. "The certification process ensures that the 11th MEU will have the most up-to-date training to support the commanders we will work for overseas.”

This will be the third iteration of training at sea with Amphibious Squadron Five in preparation for deployment this November to the Western Pacific, Middle East and Horn of Africa regions.   

The mission of the MEU is to provide a rapid-response force capable of conducting conventional amphibious and selected maritime operations from sea, by surface or air.

The MEU's major subordinate elements are Battalion Landing Team 3/1, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (Reinforced) and Combat Logistics Battalion 11. This team, along with the units command element, has been working together as a complete air-ground-logistics team since May.

For more information, contact the unit's public affairs officer, Capt. Roger Hollenbeck at, or visit the MEU website at or follow us on Twitter @11thmeu.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit