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26th MEU lands in Djibouti for deployment's first exercise

Feb. 7, 2007; Submitted on: 02/08/2007 04:43:11 AM ; Story ID#: 20072844311

By Cpl. Jeremy Ross, 26th MEU


Corporal Dan E. Larson, a landing support specialist from Combat Logistics Battalion-26, looks on as Marines and Sailors from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit offload from a Landing Craft Air-Cushioned at a beach near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 5, 2007.  The LCACs, from Assault Craft Unit-4, carried the MEU's troops ashore from the ships of the Bataan Strike Group to participate in Exercise Image Nautilus.    Photo by: Cpl. Jeremy Ross.
Corporal Dan E. Larson, a landing support specialist from Combat Logistics Battalion-26, looks on as Marines and Sailors from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit offload from a Landing Craft Air-Cushioned at a beach near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 5, 2007. The LCACs, from Assault Craft Unit-4, carried the MEU's troops ashore from the ships of the Bataan Strike Group to participate in Exercise Image Nautilus.
Marines and Sailors from Kilo Battery, Battalion Landing Team 2/2, 26th MEU, come ashore at a beach near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 5, 2007, to begin participation in Exercise Image Nautilus.  More than 150 personnel, along with their vehicles and equipment, came ashore aboard Landing Crafts Air-Cushioned from the ships of the Bataan Strike Group to take part in the exercise.   Photo by: Cpl. Jeremy Ross
Marines and Sailors from Kilo Battery, Battalion Landing Team 2/2, 26th MEU, come ashore at a beach near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 5, 2007, to begin participation in Exercise Image Nautilus. More than 150 personnel, along with their vehicles and equipment, came ashore aboard Landing Crafts Air-Cushioned from the ships of the Bataan Strike Group to take part in the exercise.
Corporal Dan E. Larson (right), a landing support specialist from Combat Logistics Battalion-26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, guides an Extended Boom Forklift from CLB-26 off a Landing Craft Air-Cushioned and across a beach near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 5, 2007.  The LCACs, from Assault Craft Unit-4, carried the MEU's troops ashore from the ships of the Bataan Strike Group to participate in Exercise Image Nautilus.  Photo by: Cpl. Jeremy Ross
Corporal Dan E. Larson (right), a landing support specialist from Combat Logistics Battalion-26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, guides an Extended Boom Forklift from CLB-26 off a Landing Craft Air-Cushioned and across a beach near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 5, 2007. The LCACs, from Assault Craft Unit-4, carried the MEU's troops ashore from the ships of the Bataan Strike Group to participate in Exercise Image Nautilus.

CAMP LEMONIER, DJIBOUTI (Feb. 7, 2007) -- Marines and sailors from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit rolled ashore near here, Feb. 5, for the first exercise of a routine, scheduled deployment that began when the unit left North Carolina Jan. 6, aboard the ships of the Bataan Strike Group.

More than 150 troops, along with their gear and vehicles, were carried to the beach from the ships by Landing Crafts Air Cushioned from Assault Craft Unit-4 to participate in Image Nautilus, an exercise which includes bi-lateral training conducted with the Djiboutian military.

While the two missions differ in principle, they share a common over-arching importance, said Maj. Chris C. Lynch, executive officer for Combat Logistics Battalion-26th MEU.

"Our purpose here is to continue to build on the great relations we share with the Djiboutian people, both military and civilian," he said.

"We'll have a great chance to interact with this nation's people and military, to assist them and to assist us," he said.

For many of the MEU's troops, just being ashore in a location as far from home as Africa was an experience in itself, said Cpl. James M. Butts, a food service specialist from Light Armored Reconnaissance Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 2/2, 26th MEU.

"It's a place most of us have never been to," he marveled. "I'm like, 'Wow, this is Africa'."

"I think the new environment will bring a refreshing change of pace to our training," he said.

The benefits of training and operating in new and unknown surroundings are already showing as the MEU successfully negotiated the unfamiliar beachhead, said Lynch.

For more on the MEU, including news, videos and contact information, visit www.usmc.mil/26thmeu.
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 Corporal Dan E. Larson, a landing support specialist from Combat Logistics Battalion-26, looks on as Marines and Sailors from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit offload from a Landing Craft Air-Cushioned at a beach near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 5, 2007.  The LCACs, from Assault Craft Unit-4, carried the MEU's troops ashore from the ships of the Bataan Strike Group to participate in Exercise Image Nautilus.    Photo by: Cpl. Jeremy Ross.Corporal Dan E. Larson, a landing support specialist from Combat Logistics Battalion-26, looks on as Marines and Sailors from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit offload from a Landing Craft Air-Cushioned at a beach near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 5, 2007. The LCACs, from Assault Craft Unit-4, carried the MEU's troops ashore from the ships of the Bataan Strike Group to participate in Exercise Image Nautilus. Photo by: Cpl. Jeremy Ross.
 Marines and Sailors from Kilo Battery, Battalion Landing Team 2/2, 26th MEU, come ashore at a beach near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 5, 2007, to begin participation in Exercise Image Nautilus.  More than 150 personnel, along with their vehicles and equipment, came ashore aboard Landing Crafts Air-Cushioned from the ships of the Bataan Strike Group to take part in the exercise.   Photo by: Cpl. Jeremy RossMarines and Sailors from Kilo Battery, Battalion Landing Team 2/2, 26th MEU, come ashore at a beach near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 5, 2007, to begin participation in Exercise Image Nautilus. More than 150 personnel, along with their vehicles and equipment, came ashore aboard Landing Crafts Air-Cushioned from the ships of the Bataan Strike Group to take part in the exercise. Photo by: Cpl. Jeremy Ross
 Corporal Dan E. Larson (right), a landing support specialist from Combat Logistics Battalion-26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, guides an Extended Boom Forklift from CLB-26 off a Landing Craft Air-Cushioned and across a beach near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 5, 2007.  The LCACs, from Assault Craft Unit-4, carried the MEU's troops ashore from the ships of the Bataan Strike Group to participate in Exercise Image Nautilus.  Photo by: Cpl. Jeremy RossCorporal Dan E. Larson (right), a landing support specialist from Combat Logistics Battalion-26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, guides an Extended Boom Forklift from CLB-26 off a Landing Craft Air-Cushioned and across a beach near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 5, 2007. The LCACs, from Assault Craft Unit-4, carried the MEU's troops ashore from the ships of the Bataan Strike Group to participate in Exercise Image Nautilus. Photo by: Cpl. Jeremy Ross