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Pendleton Marines trained in rescue efforts leave for Middle East

September 16, 2012 | 12:12 pm

Fresh from training on how to rescue Americans from hostile mobs in foreign countries, Marines from the Camp Pendleton-based 15th Expeditionary Unit are set to leave Monday for the western Pacific and Middle East.

Some 4,000 Marines and sailors will deploy from San Diego on three ships — the amphibious assault ship Peleliu, the amphibious transport dock ship Green Bay, and the amphibious dock landing ship Rushmore. The regularly-scheduled mission of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group is set to last seven months.

According to the Marine Corps, the final pre-deployment training for the Marines and sailors was on the evacuation of non-combatants from hot-spots.

The exercise included role-players on San Nicholas Island and Victorville in San Bernardino County who were "rescued" by Marines and taken by helicopter to Camp Pendleton. Meanwhile, aboard the Peleliu, sailors trained in how to provide berthing, medical care and food for evacuees.

The training and the deployment were scheduled long before the current turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. The rescue training is a common part of pre-deployment work-ups for Marine expeditionary units.

Lt. Col. John Wiener said that the 15th MEU "is fully prepared to execute these type of missions in the real world."

The 15th MEU was on a similar deployment when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred. Summoned back to their ships from a port-call in Australia, the Marines were among the first U.S. combat forces into Afghanistan just weeks later.

— Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Marines from the 15th Expeditionary Unit during riot-control training. Credit: Marine Corps