Marine Commander Thanks Communities For Cooperation, Apologizes For Damage

Letter From The Commanding Officer Of The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit – Marine Commander Thanks Communities For Their Cooperation, Apologizes For Damages

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. – The Camp Lejeune-based 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit is currently conducting their Realistic Urban Training Exercise (RUT) in communities of northern Kentucky and southern Indiana. During this exercise local residents can expect to see Marine aircraft flying in close proximity to neighborhoods and other urban areas through the middle of next week. In some instances residents may feel vibrations in their houses and hear loud noise as the aircraft pass close by.

Specific areas that may be affected in the coming days include:

Nashville, Ind.

Columbus, Ind.

Frankfort, Ky.

western Louisville, Ky.

The following is a letter written from Col. Pete Petronzio, commanding officer, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Dear Residents,

Let me first apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused during our training in the local area. We whole-heartedly appreciate your patience and cooperation in opening up your neighborhoods so that we can conduct this very important training. I know that hearing a loud aircraft over your neighborhood, particularly at night, can be startling.

Please understand we are trying to mitigate the disturbance as best we can. We are constantly doing everything possible to minimize any inconvenience to the community while balancing the need for your Marines to receive realistic urban training prior to deploying overseas in the service of this Nation.

You may be wondering why we are training in your local area rather than our home base in North Carolina. The training value we receive here allows your Marines to experience somewhere totally unfamiliar to them, just as it will be when we deploy.

marine expeditionary unit

I’m sure some residents are worried about damage we may cause and are concerned about the safety of their families. This is completely understandable. I would be too. Safety of the local public and of your Marines is a huge concern for us as well. I can assure you though, that your Marines are professionals. They’ve conducted multiple training exercises just like this one all along the East Coast and back at their home bases and stations, and are well prepared to do the missions you are witnessing.

We will only be here for a short time and I will strive to minimize any disturbance we may be causing. Our training is scheduled to conclude in the middle of next week. We have already taken measures to cancel some of our landing zones and flight paths that might have caused undue stress on your communities. I ask for your continued cooperation and understanding.

I, and the Marines and Sailors of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, THANK YOU! Your support means more to us than can be expressed. If you have any further concerns please call our toll free hotline at 877-676-0396 and we will get back in touch with you.

Semper Fidelis, Sincerely,


Pete Petronzio, Col, USMC

Commanding Officer, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

The 24th MEU is slated to be the landing force for the Norfolk-based Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group, and will be deployed on three amphibious assault ships – USS Nassau, USS Mesa Verde and USS Ashland.

The training that is being conducted in the northern Kentucky, and southern Indiana is part of the training cycle every Marine Expeditionary Unit conducts.

Since 1985, the three Camp Lejeune-based MEUs have used numerous cities throughout the mid-western and southeastern United States to simulate as realistically as possible the kinds of hotspots to which MEUs are often called in a crisis. In 2008, the 24th MEU conducted its RUT exercise at Ft. Pickett, Va., and in the surrounding communities.

The 24th MEU is composed of its command element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, VMM 162 (Reinforced), and Combat Logistics Battalion 24.

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.


For more information about the 24th MEU, visit the unit’s Web site at –