7TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY -- Marines and sailors of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit have worked long and hard over the last six months of their Western Pacific deployment, sustaining mission readiness as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force willing and ready to execute whatever mission come their way.
As the MEU makes its way back home, small unit leaders recognize the importance of continuing to keep skills sharp and readiness high.
“It’s easy right now to get relaxed and lose sight of what you’re supposed to do,” said Sgt. Keenan Rheaves, a platoon sergeant with Golf Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th MEU and Panamar, California native. “We still have a mission as Marines and we aren’t going to get lazy just because we want to go home. This is our true test honestly because now we have to fight the urge to get complacent.”
Uphold the strict standards of the MEU, Marines and sailors continue to train their bodies physically and mentally, while also conducting skills training with their designated sections.
“Since the start of the deployment, we have always had to attend routine training sessions, whether it be classes or periods of instruction,” said Cpl. Cody Shephard, the line non-commissioned officer with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th MEU and San Diego native. “The method behind it is so we have a way of improving in some way shape or form. So now even though we are on the home stretch and everyone can see the light at the end of the tunnel, we still have the training we do everyday. Knowing more about what our mission is as a MEU, I can see why we do it like that.”
Marines with BLT 2/1maintain a very busy schedule. Marines like Lance Cpl. Jose Floress, a cannonier with Charlie Battery and San Jose, California native, continue to contribute to the readiness of their units.
“Our staff noncommissioned officers always say complacency kills and Marines are always ready,” said Floress. “I can’t even think of how many times I’ve cleaned the howitzer or woke up early to go PT, but I know in the back of my head that we are doing it to stay ready. Even though the deployment’s almost over, nothing has changed.”
Anything can happen at any moment in time during a deployment and the MEU is the instrument to respond to those instances. No matter how close the end is, personnel will continue to operate at full capacity.
The 11th MEU is deployed in support of maritime and theater security operations in the 7th fleet area of responsibility.