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Old 12-26-2003, 06:05 AM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Cool MSSG-11 'collects' work-up milestone

MSSG-11 'collects' work-up milestone
Submitted by: MCB Camp Pendleton
Story Identification Number: 20031223171132
Story by Cpl. Jeremy M. Vought

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(December 23, 2003) -- A key part of the nation's first ocean-going 911 force with Operation Iraqi Freedom vets aboard has earned its wings ? and in nearly half the usual time.

Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group 11 is ready to join the 11th MEU after a battery of work-up exercises. The 1st Force Service Support Group, MSSG-11's parent command, gave the unit the go-ahead to join the 11th MEU after it passed the Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation last week.

"We were given mission-capable status by MCCRE evaluators with no significant finding," said Capt. Joseph M. Garaux, MSSG-11's Transportation Support Detachment commander.

For most MSSGs, the evaluation period lasts roughly six months. MSSG-11 completed and passed all testing in almost half that time ? just 3-1/2 months. The stepped-up timetable reflected the fact that many of the MSSG' s personnel were late joining the MEU because their return from OIF came after the usual start-up time for workups. So the faster-pace qualification enabled them to stay on schedule.

During work-ups, the Marines and sailors of MSSG-11 worked tirelessly to plan, prep and train for the MCCRE while completing a combined arms exercise, commanding general inspection and ensuring all their Marines' training requirements were met.

"It's been a roller coaster ride," said Lt. Col. Ted A. Ruane, commanding officer for MSSG-11. "I'm very proud of our Marines and sailors. We got a lot done in a very short period of time."

"It feels good that we finally made it," Garaux said.

Now that MSSG-11 has been assigned to the 11th MEU, Col. Anthony M. Haslam, commanding officer of the 11th MEU, held his first capabilities meeting Dec. 16.

"We bring a full range of combat service support to the MEU as well as a lot of combat experience," Ruane said.

That expeditionary support, as Ruane explained it, consists of supply, maintenance, combat engineers, transportation support and health services.

"On top of those, we have expertise in humanitarian assistance operations, non-combatant evacuation operations, mass casualty response, explosive ordnance disposal support and assistance in tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel missions," he said.

The HAO ? which often involves the delivery of food, medicine and medical attention to refugees ? is one of the largest in the MSSG and one of the 26 core missions of the MEU.

"The HAO is our cornerstone mission with the MEU," Garaux said. "Because of the assets we possess, the HAO falls under the MSSG."

With Camp Pendleton Marines gearing up for a second deployment to Iraq, HAOs and NEOs ? or evacuation of civilians from a combat zone ? are essential capabilities.

In fact, the HAO and NEO was MSSG-11's final evaluation before they could detach to the MEU.

During a HAO, Marines set up a delivery camp and notify local villages and displaced civilians to come for food, water, protection and medical services.

"It is a controlled environment, but not a prison," said Garaux, who is the site commander during a HAO. "They are free to come and go as they please."

At a HAO, a force protection element guards the compound against attack. Anyone entering a HAO site is screened and their belongings searched.

After being admitted into the camp, they are processed and logged in. After processing, anyone requiring medical or dental attention is treated. They are given food, water, a place to stay and a place for prayer and worship.

After performing the HAO, 1st FSSG MCCRE evaluators gave Gadaux and his staff feedback for improvement and passed them on their ability to successfully conduct a HAO.

"It went really well. I was very pleased," Garaux said. "If we had to do a HAO right now, I'm confident we would succeed.

Now that they have the MCCRE behind them, Ruane said the training and hard work doesn't stop.

"The training will get more crazy and hectic now," he said.

MSSG-11 will start training with the 11th MEU after New Year's to begin the MEU's training to become Special Operation Capable before they deploy sometime in 2004.

E-mail Cpl. Vought at

Lance Cpl. Colin A. Smith, a military policeman with Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group 11, 1st Force Service Support Group, guards the entrance to a Humanitarian Assistance Operation exercise site Dec. 11. MSSG-11 was evaluated and passed on the execution of the HAO mission. After passing the evaluation, MSSG-11 was formally turned over to the 11th MEU to train for deployment. Photo by: Cpl. Jeremy M Vought


SSgt. Roger A.
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