Hagatna, Guam-The U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy, in cooperation with local law enforcement, finished yesterday a three-day training to enhance skills and maintain readiness to local, national and homeland security. Elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25, the Guam Police Department, and the Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense collaborated to conduct portions of a Realistic Urban Training Exercise, or RUTEX, in Guam from Jan. 7 to 9.
“Training in Guam is vitally important because we can train in a different environment than what we are accustomed to on Okinawa. This variety ensures we will maintain our readiness and the capability to respond to any contingency in the region,” said Col. John E. Merna, commanding officer, 31st MEU. “This training package provides the Marines of the 31st MEU the opportunity to exercise vital skill sets that better prepare us for any challenge we may face as the most ready forward deployed force in the Pacific.”
An element composed of Marines and sailors of the Maritime Raid Force, 31st MEU participated, including elements of Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. SWAT Special Operations Unit, Marine Patrol and K9 Unit from the Guam Police Department will join them.
“Safety of the public is paramount and we want to ensure that this realistic exercise will not compromise anyone’s safety or well being,” said Homeland Security adviser Pedro Leon Guerrero. “At the same time, we welcome this exercise and will continue to engage and coordinate with all entities to update and maintain our jurisdictional plans/annexes, SOPs, MOUs and policies. We are confident this exercise will assist us [GHS/OCD] in executing the appropriate courses of actions.”
As with any training exercise the police department or the military on Guam conduct, all precautions were taken to ensure the exercise was safe and secure. Local authorities worked with businesses, fishermen, and organizations in the area to accommodate any safety concerns they have. There was minimal obstruction to daily operations in the area.
This is the second time RUTEX has been held in Guam and the 31st MEU is honored to be hosted in Guam again, and hopes to continue the partnership and cooperation. The 31st MEU is often the first to respond to crisis in the Asia-Pacific region.
This training exercise is standard and not in response to any real or perceived threat in the region.
RUTEX, previously known as Training in Urban Environment Exercise, has been successfully conducted in Guam and various cities throughout the United States such as Miami Florida, Savannah Georgia, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Columbia South Carolina and San Diego since 1985. (PR)