31st Marines Conducting Certification Exercise This Week During Valiant Shield

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Guam – The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, embarked aboard the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, is scheduled to hold a certification exercise (CERTEX) in and around the island of Guam Sept. 17 – 22 in conjunction with the ARG’s participation in the Valiant Shield exercise underway.
CERTEX is conducted to validate the MEU’s ability to effectively respond to a number of contingency operations, and to keep the skill of the individual Marines and elements sharp and ready for use in potential real-world scenarios.

The 31st MEU will execute simulated assaults from the air and sea at several military installations on Guam during CERTEX.  Local residents should be aware that they may see increased activity in those areas during the exercise.

The 31st MEU will employ AV-8B Harrier jet aircraft and CH-53E Sea Stallion, CH-46E Sea Knight, AH-1W Super Cobra and UH-1N Huey helicopters to execute various air operations.  The MEU will also utilize Combat Rubber Reconnaissance Craft to conduct amphibious operations.

The 31st MEU is also scheduled to hold a community relations project Sept. 21 in order to build relationships for the future.  “We want Guam to benefit from our presence,” said MacMannis.  “The island, the people, and the environment.”  Marines and Sailors of the MEU plan to engage residents of an assisted living facility while the MEU conducts training on the island.

The 31st MEU, with more than 2,200 Marines assigned, is composed of a command element, ground combat element, aviation combat element and logistics combat element. These elements are the striking arm of the Essex ARG and enable amphibious operations from the sea and power projection ashore.

“The 31st MEU does not operate without Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11, and PHIBRON 11 doesn’t operate without us,” said MacMannis. “This is a great chance for our team to work together and do what we do best.”

The Essex ARG is led by Commander, PHIBRON 11 and is also composed of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), the amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9) and the dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49).

Upon completion of Valiant Shield and CERTEX, the permanently forward-deployed 31st MEU will continue on patrol in the Asia-Pacific region.

The 31st MEU provides a forward-deployed, flexible sea-based force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations in the Asia-Pacific area.  Always ready to respond, the 31st MEU is also prepared to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief when directed.  The 31st MEU is the only continually forward-deployed MEU, and remains the nation’s force-in-readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.

For more information about the deployment of the 31st MEU, follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Okinawa-Japan/31st-Marine-Expeditionary-Unit/115253045176016 or visit our webpage at: http://www.marines.mil/unit/31stmeu.

Media queries may be directed to 1st Lt. Caleb Eames, 31st MEU public affairs officer at caleb.eames@usmc.mil.