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Camp Lejeune takes to ocean, sky for training

A U.S. Marine MV-22 Osprey with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit lands on the deck of the USS Arlington during Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON)-MEU Integration training in the Atlantic Ocean, June 15, 2018.

ANDREW OCHOA/U.S. MARINE CORPS

By MIKE MCHUGH | The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C. | Published: July 8, 2018

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — The sounds of summer fun on area beaches are blending with the sounds of freedom from nearby training exercises. Beach-goers may have recently noticed large ships on the horizon and fast moving, low-altitude aircraft in the skies.

Their eyes weren’t deceiving them.

Camp Lejeune and Navy assets have been training as a part of workups for future deployments, Camp Lejeune officials confirmed.

“The ships off shore were a part of the Amphibious Squadron Marine Expeditionary Unit Integration Training,” Gunnery Sgt. Brian Kester, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit communication strategy and operations chief wrote in a written response to The Daily News.

This was the first part of three pre-deployment periods at sea as part of the Amphibious Ready Group and Marine Expeditionary Unit (ARG/MEU), said Col. Michael Perez, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit commanding officer, which he called "PHIBRON-MEU Integration."

"PMINT (a three-week-long pre-deployment training event) aims to initiate a strong partnership, interoperability, and interdependence between the Navy's Amphibious Squadron 6, and the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit for the development and sustainment of combat capability for our upcoming deployment," Perez said.

Kester added that this is the first at-sea period for ARG/MEU as well as the first time that the majority of the MEU is embarked.

Constant preparation is required to get into the right mindset, Kester said, and these pre-deployment training exercises are essential to the success of future missions.

mike.mchugh@jdnews.com

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