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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Two thousand Marines and sailors from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit will be on Guam this week to take part in this year’s TRUEX — Training in an Urban Environment.

They left Okinawa as part of the Sasebo Forward Deployed Amphibious Ready Group, which will participate in the exercise at various locations on Guam from Jan. 23 to Feb. 13, according to a Marine news release.

The exercises are part of a routine six-month training cycle for the 31st MEU to prepare for any contingencies requiring them in the Western Pacific.

“The exercises are standard training for all MEUs and are not in response to any real or perceived threat in the region,” the release stated. “Since three-quarters of the world’s population live in urban environments, Marines must conduct training in a wide variety of urban settings.”

TRUEX has been conducted in various cities since 1985.

Marines usually stay on ships or in the field during the training.

With a proposed U.S.-Japan force realignment plan to permanently transfer some 6,000 to 7,000 Marines and their families from Okinawa to Guam over the next six years, Guam officials are making sure the 31st MEU is welcomed for the exercise.

“The Marines have long had a commitment to train on Guam,” Madeleine Bordallo, Guam’s non-voting delegate to Congress, said in a statement released Friday on the island. “The training exercises over the next few weeks are a continuation of that commitment.

“That the Marines have before and continue to utilize Guam for training is a reflection of why our island was chosen to become a major Marine base” under the realignment proposal, she said.

According to the bilateral plan, the headquarters element of the III Marine Expeditionary Force will move to Guam and the remaining units on Okinawa will be realigned and reduced to a Marine expeditionary brigade.

“This training provides a glimpse into Guam’s future with skilled, professional Marines conducting world-class training on Guam,” Bordallo said.

Bordallo, in a recent address to the Guam legislature, says the island’s economy is going to get a big boost from constructing the necessary infrastructure to accommodate the Marines and the extra people the Air Force and Navy intend to assign to the island in coming years.

“All aspects of this training have been coordinated with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies,” the Marines news release stated.

“As part of the training, Marine Corps helicopter pilots will practice urban flying and navigation techniques using routes and altitudes approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. As a result, (Guam) residents may see or hear unfamiliar helicopter activity.”


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