CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force, held a field meet aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 27, 2014. The meet was the last group activity the Marines had before going on leave to prepare for deployment.
The 11th MEU includes Marines from throughout I MEF including Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 163; Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment and Combat Logistics Battalion 11. This combination of skills allows the MEU to accomplish a variety of tasks including amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations.
"The MEU is a place where if anyone comes here they have a tremendous opportunity to grow mentally and professionally," said Staff Sgt. Bennet Nelson Jr., the Marine Air Ground Task Force plans chief for the 11th MEU. "There is so much going on and there's a lot of stuff that's outside your [military occupational specialty] that causes you to be more well-rounded."
The Marines have been training together for several months in preparation for their deployment, said Capt. Allison Aichele, the officer-in-charge for the Radio Battalion Detachment, 11th MEU. The training included Special Operations Training Group courses, realistic urban training, and several amphibious activities that required the Marines to be gone for up to three weeks at a time.
"The tempo was difficult, but they did great," said Aichele.
Aichele explained that the field meet was the command's way of congratulating the Marines on a job well done. During the meet, the different shops within the 11th MEU competed against each other in softball, volleyball, basketball, horseshoes, sumo wrestling, miniature golf and tug-of-war.
"We've got the Marines out here enjoying some activities, a little bit of competition and some camaraderie," said Nelson.
After the field meet the Marines were released for two weeks of block leave to relax and get their affairs in order before they deploy for several months.
"It's a morale booster," said Aichele. "It's been difficult with the work ups, but I think we're all ready to get on deployment and see where it takes us."
The 11th MEU is scheduled to deploy later this summer.