Area May Get Noisy With Marine Military Training This Week

As military units train in southern Indiana and northern Kentucky later this week, local residents may hear and see a variety of military air and land craft operating.
Marines from the Camp Lejeune-based 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit will be using pre-designated landing zones in civilian areas from Thursday-Tuesday, Sept. 24-29. Local residents can expect to see, and hear, helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft at various times throughout the day and night.
Specific areas this activity will affect include: Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Freeman Field, Camp Atterbury, Hoosier National Forest, Brown County State Park, Columbus, and Seymour among others
Aircraft that might be noticed in any of these areas include:
MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter, UH-1 Huey helicopter, AH-1 Super Cobra helicopter.
“Residents are encouraged to view from a safe distance but are asked not to interfere with the training,” said Capt Rob Shuford, Public Affairs Officer for the training. “For safety reasons do not approach any aircraft or Marines.”
All areas used for training have been approved by local land and business owners, as well as local and state officials, he said. All areas designated as landing zones have been surveyed by the Marine Corps and civilian safety officials months before training was approved.
While much of the activity will take place aboard the military bases, residents in some areas can expect to see helicopters flying overhead, military vehicles on the roads, and Marines patrolling on foot. Residents living close to a select few sites will be notified in advance that Marines will be conducting mock raids nearby.
“In some cases, residents may notice aircraft landing in close proximity to civilian buildings and infrastructure,” Shuford said.
The Realistic Urban Training Exercise, or RUT, is a critical part of the 24th MEU’s training cycle that prepares them to respond to a variety of missions they may face on their deployment, which is scheduled for sometime early next year, according to Col. Pete Petronzio, commanding officer.
“During RUT the Marines will hone their skills in firing their weapons, conducting patrols, operating vehicle checkpoints, reacting to ambushes, responding to mass-casualty scenarios, and countering the threat posed by roadside bombs,” he explained
“Many of the Marines you may see in the coming few days have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment—now the MEU’s ground combat element—was in Ar Ramadi, Iraq helping to wrest that city from insurgent control.”
“We have plenty of combat experience. But we also have plenty of new Marines preparing to make their first deployment. Their lives and the success of our future missions could well depend on what we’re accomplishing now during our training,” Petronzio said.
“The urban environment is the most challenging we’re likely to face. Maneuvering in a heavily congested area; picking out possible threats lurking in windows and around street corners; trying to tell whether the car barreling toward their vehicle checkpoint is driven by a suicide bomber or an innocent family oblivious to their warning signals: these are just a few of the challenges Marines face in an urban setting.”
“Our aim in south central Indiana and northern Kentucky is to expose our Marines to realistic scenarios in an actual urban community. We simply cannot replicate those conditions aboard our home base” he said.
The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) is slated to be the landing force for the Norfolk-based Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group, and will be deployed early next year on three amphibious assault ships—USS Nassau, USS Mesa Verde and USS Ashland.
The Marines kicked off their pre-deployment training program in June, and before completing RUT, they will have completed a host of specialized combat courses, field training exercises and at-sea drills aboard the ships they will be living on for at least seven months next year.
If there are concerns, or if damage is done to civilian property, residents can contact the 24th MEU hotline – 1-877-676-0396, the commander said.