31st MEU Marines, Sailors step-it-out during command hike
Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Wood-Casella, a U.S. Navy religious program specialist with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, stands in formation before beginning a conditioning hike at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, Feb. 15, 2019. Wood-Casella, a 22-year old native of Norwell, Massachusetts, protects the 31st MEU chaplain during amphibious operations; chaplains are classified as noncombatants and do not carry weapons – they rely on their ‘RPs’ for defense during Marine Corps operations. Marines and Sailors with the 31st MEU’s Command Element, the aptly named command and control element for the Marine Corps’ only continuously forward-deployed MEU, completed a more than five-kilometer hike to build conditioning and prepare its Marines and Sailors for the rigors of amphibious operations. The 31st MEU, partnering with the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group, 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.