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Marine Corps to conduct training around Natural Bridge

Published On: Sep 06 2013 10:49:27 AM EDT   Updated On: Sep 06 2013 10:50:33 AM EDT

Marines will be training in the Natural Bridge area of Rockbridge County this weekend, both on the ground and in the air. 

It is part of pre-depolyment  training for the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.  The unit has also been training in the Charlottesville area.

Here is the complete announcement from the U. S. Marine Corps:

FORT PICKETT, Va. - Natural Bridge area residents can expect an increase in military aircraft traffic in the vicinity of the Natural Bridge Juvenile Correctional Center Sept. 6-8, 2013.

The Marines and Sailors of the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) will conduct training near the Natural Bridge Juvenile Correctional Center on Arnolds Valley Rd. as part of their Realistic Urban Training exercise, or RUT.

Residents may see Marines and role players periodically throughout the exercise and are likely to notice more military aircraft and ground vehicles than usual operating in the area.

The types of aircraft participating in the training may include the MV-22 Osprey, UH-1Y Huey, CH-53E Super Stallion and AH-1W Super Cobra.

Since 1985, the three Camp Lejeune-based MEUs have used numerous cities throughout the United States to simulate the kinds of hotspots to which MEUs are often called.

The Marines kicked off their pre-deployment training program in July and will conduct a series of land-based exercises and numerous at-sea periods with their Navy counterparts. RUT is the 22nd MEU's first major exercise in the six-month training program, which is scheduled to end in December.

The 22nd MEU is composed of its command element; Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment; Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263 (Reinforced); and Combat Logistics Battalion 22.

The MEU is slated to be the landing force for the Norfolk-based Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which consists of the amphibious assault ships USS Bataan (LHD 5), USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44).

The MEU and Bataan ARG are scheduled to deploy in early 2014 to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility to serve as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations.

If residents have concerns about the training or questions about the noise of the aircraft the following number is provided as a local "hotline": 910-467-8693.