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By Sgt. Jonathan G. Wright, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit
Marines with Battery G., with Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, pushed back hostile protesters from the building gates of a simulated embassy during the 31st MEU’s Certification Exercise, March 15.
In the CERTEX scenario, the 31st MEU’s Forward Command Element is coordinating humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts with the host nation’s government and other aid organizations to deliver relief supplies to a desolate village. Protesters from the area opposed to the 31st MEU’s presence in the country rallied outside the gates of the embassy, and the Marines of Battery G. were required to calm the situation to allow personnel in and out of the building.
“We need to quickly gain control of a riot situation before things get out of hand, but we also need to keep the interests and the safety of the embassy in mind,” said Lance Cpl. Kevin A. Monroe, a field artillery cannoneer with Battery G., Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 31st MEU, and a native of Olympia, Wash. “And although they’re rioting, they’re not enemies. They’re locals we’re trying to help, so handling a situation like this can be very tricky.”
The Marine force moved to the gates in full riot control gear, utilizing re-enforcements later called in from the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) off the coast of Okinawa to eventually quell the situation.
The 31st MEU’s CERTEX is a training package that tests the capabilities of the MEU in a variety of scenarios and is evaluated by members of the Special Operations Training Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.