MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C --
On May 20, on a gymnasium floor aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force gathered around a large map resembling part of North and South Carolina with signs representing different units and their movement.
The Marines aren’t assaulting or invading parts of the Carolinas. They are participating in Marine Expeditionary Force Exercise 12 (MEFEX 12), a large-scale exercise for conventional combat operations. The rehearsal of concept drill or “ROC drill” explains and practices the movement of troops and logistics throughout the exercise.
“There’s a lot of hard work here but we haven’t done this in a while at this scale,” said Lt. Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., commanding general of II MEF.
MEFEX 12 is a scenario-driven, simulation supported, staff-level exercise designed to train II MEF and its Major Subordinate Commands and Major Subordinate Elements.
“The purpose is to figure out our standard operating procedures for planning in general and how we do that as a MEF,” said Maj. Sean P. Dynan, the Operational Planning Team Leader for the MEFEX 12. “We really haven’t done this since 2002, so it’s the first time in a long time, so what we’re doing is taking the lessons learned from this and incorporating it into our SOP.”
After covering the general orientation of the map and discussing conventional operations, Marines began to describe in detail the specific parts of the operation.
While addressing each part of the operation, individual subordinate elements’ representative explained their purpose and actions in the mission to the audience.
“The biggest part of today was people standing up and explaining what they were doing and everyone going ‘okay I get it, I understand what you are doing and I will support that’,” Dynan said.
Throughout the presentations, II MEF leaders including Paxton, asked questions to better refine the standard operating procedures and the plan of action for the MEFEX 12.
“We did exactly what we wanted to, which was to talk through the phasing and sequencing of the operation,” said Paxton. “The second part of that was to capture potential friction points so that subordinate commanders and adjacent or higher headquarters could be identified and we did both of those things.”
On May 21, the exercise portion of MEFEX 12 began providing Marines an even better idea of how to conduct conventional combat operations and accomplish their mission.