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Capt. Jordan Vargas, a platoon commander for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's Maritime Raid Force, speaks with a crowd before a tactical display of a vehicle interdiction during a community engagement event at Naval Air Museum Barbers Point, Kapolei, Hawaii, Jan. 19, 2019. The event gave the Marines of the MRF the opportunity to build a relationship with the community. There were static displays of the Marines and their gear, a breaching display and a tactical demonstration of a high value target interdiction. The 31st MEU, the Marine Corps’ only continuously forward-deployed MEU, provides a flexible and lethal force ready to perform a wide range of military operations as the premier crisis response force in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Isaac Cantrell/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Isaac Cantrell

31st MEU MRF takes RUTEX to Hawaii

8 Feb 2019 | Cpl. Isaac Cantrell III Marine Expeditionary Force

Marines and Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's Maritime Raid Force kick off Realistic Urban Training Exercise at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Jan. 20, 2019. This is the first iteration of RUTEX in 2019 and the first time that the 31st MEU has conducted this exercise in Hawaii.
This iteration of RUTEX will incorporate scenarios and considerations that the Marines and Sailors of the MRF will factor into any real-world situation in an urban environment and will allow them to integrate with local law enforcement agencies, according to Gunnery Sgt. Michael L. Wilkinson, a platoon sergeant for the Force Reconnaissance Platoon, a part of the MRF.
"RUTEX is supposed to simulate realism on the battlefield," Wilkinson said. "It shows the Marines a different environment that they could be operating in and adds into play real-world considerations, such as civilians in cities and towns."
Hosting this exercise in Hawaii will provide the MRF with several new and unique opportunities, including coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Honolulu Police Department. According to Wilkinson, the MRF will practice utilization of this police force in a manner that they could readily apply to a foreign nation's police force. In addition, this will expedite the planning process for the Expeditionary Operations Training Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force which will be overseeing the exercise.
"Hawaii is a good stateside location that makes it a lot easier for the Expeditionary Operations Training Group to coordinate our training sites and provide a better environment for the MRF to perform its raids and training," Wilkinson said. "This training is a lot more dynamic than any training that can take place on a military base. Out on town there are a lot of real-world considerations and other things we have to work through."
The MRF is made up of four main elements, each with their own individual responsibilities throughout this training. Throughout RUTEX, the FRP, Wilkinson's platoon, will be performing a multitude of high-speed raids on potential simulated targets in areas surrounding Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
By the conclusion of RUTEX, the Marines and Sailors of the MRF will be ready, willing and able to respond to any threats or crises in the Indo-Pacific region.