Tuesday, June 2, 2009

13th MEU Conducts Wash Down Before Heading Home

Story and Photos by Lance Cpl. Megan Sindelar

The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit is scheduled to conduct an agricultural wash down, sustainment training and cultural awareness tours for Marines and sailors of USS Boxer (LHD 4) while at a port in the Middle East June 1-8.

After four months of being at sea, dirt and salt water build up on vehicles throughout operations within various areas of U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility.

The wash down ensures no contaminated vehicles or gear will enter the United States upon the 13th MEU’s arrival in San Diego. Pulling the gear off the ship also serves as a good tool to help alleviate maintenance issues that would otherwise be difficult to resolve while on ship. This gives USS Boxer and the 13th MEU the readiness to return home, but more importantly restores all capabilities to conduct missions in any area of responsibility that may arise throughout the remainder of the deployment.

While Marines wash down the vehicles and gear, other elements of the 13th MEU are able to participate in training, both unilateral and bilateral with the host nation.

As Combat Logistics Battalion 13 takes the lead on all wash down procedures, members of Battalion Landing Team 1/1 are scheduled to conduct weapons training in various terrain while the Reconnaissance Platoon refreshes their diving capabilities. Members of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 163 (Reinforced) will provide air support throughout the exercise and conduct live fire training. The Command Element will control the unit’s movement to ensure success of the training exercises that are planned around the area.

Service members will be given a break and an opportunity to participate in cultural awareness tours. The tours give the Marines and sailors a chance to experience one of the most culturally rich areas areas the world.

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