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22nd MEU steps off as one team

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit grew in numbers and capabilities Friday as the Aviation Combat Element, Ground Combat Element and Logistics Combat Element were officially attached to the unit. Marines and sailors celebrated the day with an immense formation run consisting of more than 1,200 Marines and sailors from the MEU.


22nd MEU steps off as one team
9/12/2008 By Sgt. Matt Epright, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit

"What we just accomplished was the first of many successful evolutions as a MEU," said 22nd MEU Commanding Officer, Col. Gareth Brandl. "Other than just putting information out in an e-mail, that says 'welcome to the 22nd MEU,' and calling it another day, we wanted to do something physical that really gets the Marines out and shows them how large this organization is and what they're a part of."

As the North Carolina sun crept up in the sky, a sea of 22nd MEU Marines and sailors took to Julian C. Smith Road aboard Camp Lejeune. The formation filled both lanes of the road and the roar of voices sliced through the early morning fog.

The run wasn't a spur-of-the-moment event. Several weeks of coordination and planning was required to ensure maximum participation in the early morning run.

"It was really motivating and it gave me a lot of confidence in my command to know that they can organize something so large, so well," said Lance Cpl. Derrico Grier, an operations clerk with the MEU. "Seeing this gives me confidence in our upcoming deployment."

Some Marines like Sgt. Steven Ruddle, a platoon sergeant with Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, were struck by the symbolism of several units stepping off together as a single entity.

"A lot of times, as individual units, you get individualized; you don't accomplish that overall mission," said Ruddle, "The run allowed us to come together as one unit and realize that there are no individuals here, we're all trying to go out and accomplish that overall mission."

The 22nd MEU now consists of its Ground Combat Element, BLT 3/2; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; and its Command Element.

The run kicked off a six-month training cycle for the MEU and subsequent six-month deployment. For more information about the 22nd MEU, visit the unit's website at www.22meu.usmc.mil.