Photo Information

Marines with 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, receives their next target point for completing the next fire mission as part of Expeditionary Fires Exercise (EFEX) as part of Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) at San Clemente Island, Calif., May 8, 2014. COMPTUEX is the second at-sea event in the 11th MEU's predeployment cycle, in which the MEU will conduct concurrent mission planning and execution integrated across all element of the Marine Air Ground Task Force while supporting Amphibious Squadron 5 in their evaluated training. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Demetrius Morgan/RELEASED)

Photo by Cpl. Demetrius Morgan

11th MEU conducts EFEX

19 May 2014 | Cpl. Demetrius Morgan 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit has conducted several varying training evolutions during its predeployment cycle. The MEU is currently conducting, along with Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5, Composite Unit Training Exercise off the coast of southern California on the USS Makin Island, USS San Diego and USS Comstock. The purpose of this now second at-sea period is to hone mission essential tasks, execute specified MEU and Amphibious Ready Group operations, and establish the foundation for a cohesive warfighting team for future exercises and operations.

From May 7-9, as one of the first training evolutions, the MEU conducted an Expeditionary Fires Exercise on San Clemente Island, Calif. EFEX provided the opportunity for Marines and sailors of the combined ARG to practice coordinating and controlling fire missions from different terrains and locations. “EFEX was our fire support evaluation for the deployment,” said Capt. William D. Turner III, the 11th MEU’s fire support officer and an artillery officer. “We do this exercise so we can be certified to be the supporting arms for MEU operations.”  

During EFEX, Marines and sailors worked together to complete multiple fire missions by providing suppressive fire with heavy artillery in support of an objective. In order to facilitate this, Marines behind the scenes coordinate fire missions from an outpost overseeing the terrain.   

“We have fires coming from the ground, air and sea,” said Cpl. Nicholas Thompson, a fire support specialist with 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, 11th MEU. “Our job is to coordinate where all that fire power goes to provide the most effective support to Marines on the ground. ”  

Fire support specialists worked together with field radio operators to effectively communicate with different elements throughout the mission.   

“Proper communication is probably the most important thing when we do these types of missions,” said Lance Cpl. Jodie Inoke, a field radio operator with 1st ANGLCO, 11th MEU. “If we can’t talk to the motormen or the sailors operating the Naval gunfire then we can’t complete the mission because no one knows what’s going on. If a plan falls through at the last minute we have to be able to adjust to the situation and coordinate something different and we can’t do that without communication.” 

After a fire mission is recommended, it gets passed up to the Supporting Arms Coordination Center, where fire leaders will quickly evaluate the mission and either approve or deny based on the circumstances of the entire mission objective.  

“The key thing with EFEX, and really every other exercise that we do in the future, is for the green and blue sides to effectively coordinate with each other,” said Turner. “We’ve worked together on a lot of good training exercises in the last few months and I think so far we have done very well communicating with each other. The MEU will conduct many more training exercises that will require Marines and sailors to integrate effectively to complete missions to best prepare them to be ready for their upcoming deployment scheduled this summer.

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