Savannah Vets tour 24th MEU during Truex XXXIX

20 Jan 2001 | Sgt. Arthur Stone

History met the tip of the spear recently when veterans from the local chapters of the Marine Corps League and Navy League visited the modern-day warriors of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, II Marine Expeditionary Force, operating out of the Air National Guard Combat Readiness Training Center here during their Training in Urban Environment Exercise (TRUEX).

Colonel Richard P. Mills, a Huntington, N.Y. native and commanding officer of the unit gave the 10 veterans a brief on the MEU's capabilities and assets before they went to see a static display of Medium Helicopter Squadron 266's aircraft.  Captain Jimmy J. Brown of San Jose, Calif., and 1st Lt. Robert P. Randazzo of Philadelphia, both pilots, escorted the veterans around the aircraft and gave them a rundown of the controls and capabilities of the CH-53E Super Stallions, CH-46E Sea Knights, UH-1N Hueys and AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters.  

Maintenance crewmen, Sgt. Shawn Angell of Denver, and Cpl. Craig N. Charbonneau of Oklahoma City, talked to the visitors about the maintenance of the aircraft.

The MEU's Maritime Special Purpose Force, the combat element which conducts special training missions during deployments, also set up a static display for the former Marines and Sailors. 

Gunnery Sgt. William D. Bates of Jacksonville, N.C., Staff Sgt. James C. Hypes of Roanoke, Va., and Sgt. James N. Arrasmith of Benton, Texas, all reconnaissance Marines, displayed the weapons and equipment used by the MSPF during raids and special missions.  These included the M-40 sniper rifle and the M-4 carbine rifle.

"I think it was outstanding. No question about it," said Ray P. Cuthbertson of Savannah.  "The Marines do a hell of a job.  We really appreciate what they are doing.  We need you, so keep it up!"