By Debbie Gregory.
In February 2015, more than 1,800 Marines and Sailors combined for one of the largest military training exercises in history for a scenario that simulated a full-scale war.
The massive joint-exercise was conducted by the I (One) Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) at Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton in Southern California. The MEF-level exercise, or MEFEX, lasted ten days, and simulated the deployment of more than 50,000 U.S. military personnel, in case of a sudden outbreak of war. The last time a full MEF was deployed was for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The MEFEX coincides with Marine Corps Commandant General Joseph Dunford’s stated expectations for the Marines Corps to be both mentally and physical prepared to deploy and fight anywhere, at any time.
Each individual combat unit conducts constant preparedness training. But it is mission essential that exercises of the size of this MEFEX are conducted so that U.S. forces, from top to bottom, are familiar with the necessary workings of such a large scale deployment. This is also the best way to handle any snags in planning during real world operations.
For this training, the IMEF, comprised of nearly all of the Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton, Miramar, Twentynine Palms, and in Yuma Arizona, were pitted against a Marine Corps training group made up of approximately 60 service members and contractors.
The MEFEX focused on getting Marines from sea to shore. Then the I MEF carried out ground and air attacks against the opposition, simultaneously working on supplying their forces and defending against cyberattacks.
While the simulated deployment destination was a fictional country, the reality is that such training would be vital if the need arose to apply this sort of operation to a real world situation.
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Military Connection: Massive Marine Training Exercise in California: By Debbie Gregory