January 22, 2009

22nd MEU hosts Community Day at Fort Pickett

By Sgt. 1st Class Anne B. Burnley
Virginia Army National Guard Maneuver Training Center Public Affairs

  22nd MEU Community Day at Fort Pickett

Rose A. McDaniel, Capt. Matthew I. Murray, a CH 53 Echo Helicopter copilot with the 22nd MEU, Trisha G. Currin  and Sterling C. Currin stand beside the CH 53 Echo Helicopter during the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit Community Outreach  Day, Jan. 17, 2009 on the Blackstone Army Airfield tarmac. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Anne Burnley, Virginia Army National Guard Maneuver Training Center Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Frosty temperatures and gusting winds did not stop the public from attending the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Community Outreach Day on the tarmac of the Blackstone Army Airfield at Fort Pickett, Va., Jan. 17.

“The 22nd MEU's Community Outreach Day was designed to allow the community to get up close and personal with our Marines and equipment,” said Capt. Clark D. Carpenter, the 22nd MEU Public Affairs officer. “We've been operating in the area for more than a week and this is our way of saying thanks to the citizens of Virginia who have shown us such great support.”

The Virginia Army National Guard Maneuver Training Center, Fort Pickett was the hub for the 22nd MEU Rural Urban Training exercise which began Jan. 9. More than 2,200 Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., have been training both on the post and around locations throughout the Commonwealth.
 
The 22nd MEU, commanded by Col. Gareth F. Brandl, consists of: the Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tilt-rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; and the 22nd MEU Command Element. 

Aircraft and equipment used by the Marines, including the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, the CH-53 Super Stallion, the AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter, and a variety of amphibious assault and light armored vehicles were on exhibition.

  22nd MEU Community Day at Fort Pickett

Visitors attending the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit Community Outreach Day, held  on  Jan. 17, 2009 at the Blackstone Army Airfield, listen as Lance Cpl. Adam P. Richards, 22nd MEU, Combat Logistics Battalion 22, explains the purpose of the M88A2 Tank Recovery Vehicle. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Anne Burnley, Virginia Army National Guard Maneuver Training Center Public Affairs)

“The idea of community outreach has been part of Realistic Urban Training for many years, but it was formerly known as media day. We've changed the name to better support strong community relations as we operate in a specific area,” Carpenter said. 
 
“This year's Community Outreach Day was a three-pronged evolution,” Carpenter explained. “We flew our aircraft to Virginia Military Institute, Fork Union Military Academy, and we had static displays of our equipment at Blackstone Army Airfield. We were well received at all three locations and estimate that, across the region, we hosted more than 1,000 spectators.”

The crisp weather did not deter Lunenburg County resident Trisha G. Currin, who brought her son Sterling C. Currin and mother, Rose A. McDaniel of Nottoway County, from attending the 22nd MEU Community Outreach Day.  “I wanted to support the Marines and to show Sterling all the equipment,” Currin said.  “Sterling also wants to be fighter pilot.”

After being greeted by Capt. Matthew I. Murray, 22nd MEU, Aviation Combat Element and CH53 Echo Helicopter co-pilot, Currin, McDaniel and Sterling had the opportunity to climb inside and walk around the helicopter. Looking up to both Murray and the helicopter, five-year-old Sterling grinned and exclaimed, “I saw helicopters and jeeps. Now I want to be a Marine man.”

Click HERE to return to the top of the page ~ Click HERE to return to the news directory