NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- The United States Marine Corps – any mission, any place, any time.
It's a bold statement, but it is backed with more than 240 years of success, hard work and self-refinement.
The Rapid Response Planning Process, or R2P2, is just one war-fighting capability among many that has evolved over these many years of refinement within the Corps. It gives a forward-deployed Marine Expeditionary Unit the ability to undertake any mission around the globe, as rapidly and effectively as possible, and is core to the doctrine of any forward-deployed Marine Corps unit.
To hone the skills necessary to be a crisis-response force, leaders with the 11th MEU and Amphibious Squadron 5 conducted extensive R2P2 training at the Expeditionary Warfare Staff Planners course aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado and aboard the USS Makin Island (LHD8) while in port at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., April 12-22, 2016.
While deployed to the U.S. Central and Pacific Commands’ areas of operation, the MEU’s goal is to have an amphibious reaction force able to respond to a crisis within a 6-hour window from the time the order was received.
The R2P2 course is a condensed version of the Marine Corps Planning Process tailored to the objectives of a MEU, which include: embassy reinforcements, mechanized raids, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel (TRAP), foreign humanitarian assistance and amphibious landing scenarios, all offered by Expeditionary Warfare Training Group – Pacific.
“The main scenario being emphasized during this training is the raid scenario,” said Maj. James Lindler, deputy operations officer with the 11th MEU. “If a maritime raid, whether surface or air, is properly executed, then those skills can be flexed to accommodate any other mission set. If you can do a raid, you can do any other mission required by the MEU,” Lindler reiterated.
The training also serves as a means of developing the 11th MEU Marines’ working relationship with the sailors of PHIBRON 5 for their upcoming deployment in the fall of 2016. During the second week, the Marines and sailors conducted their training aboard the USS Makin Island (LHD8), which not only served to better familiarize themselves with the vessel and its crew, but also to make the training environment that much more realistic. Marines and sailors pride themselves for training just as they would fight.
“The most important factor during a planning process is teamwork and that has been solidified during this training,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Long, an instructor with EWTGPAC, Carrier Strike Group 15. “Being able to rely on each other and having open communications allows the two branches to act as one and I think that really sets the stage for any task they’ll be required to execute during their deployment.”
Under the stress of timelines, scenarios, the commanders’ expectations, and most importantly, knowing in the future lives will be put on the line, all of the key planners and their teams within the MEU and PHIBRON must understand how their role fits within each phase of the planning process for it to operate smoothly and achieve success in a real-world situation.
“It’s a huge multi-faceted effort to put this Navy-Marine team together and continue throughout pre-deployment training,” said Lindler. “As the Marines walk away with an understanding of the planning process, and a stronger relationship with their Navy counterparts, the MEU will be very successful moving forward toward deployment.”
The 11th MEU and PHIBRON 5 are currently in the pre-deployment training process, which prepares and certifies them for their deployment to the Pacific and Middle East later this year. The EWTG Staff Planners course is the first of five training exercises scheduled to take place in the coming months prior to deployment.