ARLINGTON, Va. — Saddled with increasing commitments worldwide, the U.S. Marine Corps has sent out a “warning order” to Reserve Marines to gear up for a six-month Unit Deployment Program to Japan, officials said.

The warning order, sent out Wednesday, alerts 600 to 700 Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines, headquartered in Bridgeton, Mo., that they could be mobilized in January for the training deployment typically reserved for active-duty Marines, said Capt. Jeff Pool, a spokesman with Marine Forces Reserve in New Orleans.

“They’ll be activated for 12 months … with six months of that year training in Okinawa,” Pool said. It has not been determined when within that one-year period the 3/24 Marines will deploy to Okinawa, or what they will be doing for the other six months, he said.

Okinawa already is host to some Reserve Marines, Pool said. Marines from 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, headquartered in Ayer, Mass., arrived this summer and are set to leave in December or January, Pool said.

“Given the worldwide commitments the Marine Corps has, we’ve decided that Reserve units fulfilling UDP requirements would be appropriate,” said Marine Capt. Dan McSweeney, a Corps headquarters spokesman. “It’s not common,” he added.

Reserve units typically aren’t tapped for UDPs, which usually are carried out by active duty Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms, Calif.; or Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Sending the Reserve units gets them trained and ready in the event they are deployed to a real-world mission and frees up active units to be deployed to those real-world missions, officials said.

The infantry UDP exercises give Marines training in areas such as unit maneuvering, ground operations, land navigation, and small unit tactic, technique and procedures. UDPs help provide the III Marine Expeditionary Force’s with a ground combat element to promote regional security and stability in the Pacific theater.

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