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U.S. Marines assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrive at Reno-Stead Airport, Nevada, on a KC-130J Super Hercules attached to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport 352, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, to conduct a simulated military assisted departure during Realistic Urban Training exercise, Aug. 24, 2023. During the scenario, the 15th MEU conducted a mission to coordinate with a U.S. Consulate until the situation necessitated an evacuation of consulate staff and American citizens from the area. RUT is a land-based predeployment exercise which enhances the integration and collective capability of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force while providing the 15th MEU an opportunity to train and execute operations in an urban environment.

Photo by Cpl. Amelia Kang

U.S. Marines Complete Embassy Evacuation Training in Reno

30 Aug 2023 | Capt. Brian Tuthill 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit completed training in Reno, Nevada, Aug. 24 to conduct U.S. Embassy reinforcement and noncombatant evacuation operation missions.

The scheduled training was supported by Department of State advisors at Army National Guard Base Reno-Stead, Nevada, and was not related to President Biden’s visit to the Reno area.

The six-day evolution was a part of Realistic Urban Training, a larger two-week predeployment training exercise the 15th MEU began Aug. 17 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.

The 15th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force of approximately 2,500 Marines and Sailors from Camp Pendleton, California. A MAGTF is a composite Marine Corps unit that brings together a Command Element, Ground Combat Element, Aviation Combat Element, and Logistics Combat Element to forward deploy on U.S. Navy ships as a worldwide crisis response force.

Operating within the dynamic training scenario, 17 members of the 15th MEU’s Forward Command Element flew in a KC-130J Super Hercules from MCAS Yuma, Arizona, to Reno on Aug. 19, at the request of the fictional U.S. Consulate of Reno. As the simulated crisis escalated into violent protests, there was a clear need for the 15th MEU to rapidly respond due to its unique capabilities to support of the State Department and evacuate American citizens, their families, and consulate personnel.


“This scenario is fiction, but this mission is very real to us – we understand how critical it is to our nation that the 15th MEU is trained and ready to respond if Americans overseas need our help,” said Col. Sean Dynan, commanding officer of the 15th MEU. “RUT provides us a challenging training construct to practice our standing missions and exercise the full potential of our MAGTF.

“Here, we rapidly plan and then aggressively execute our missions just like when we get the call.” Col. Sean Dynan, commanding officer of the 15th MEU


The FCE team in Reno worked closely with their State Department subject matter experts each day as they role played as consul general, diplomatic security, consular affairs, public affairs, and a Marine Security Augmentation Unit. Together, they planned and coordinated the 15th MEU’s resources available in Yuma, leading to 20 additional 15th MEU Marines and Sailors flying to Reno on Aug. 24. This included evacuation control center teams, a medical team, and other enabling personnel from Combat Logistics Battalion 15 to conduct the military assisted departure of civilians from Reno. CLB-15 serves as the 15th MEU’s LCE.

The 15th MEU also prepared to send an embassy reinforcement team of infantry Marines from Battalion Landing Team 1/5 before the scenario’s protests subsided. BLT 1/5 serves as the 15th MEU’s GCE.

Evacuation Photo by 1st Lt. Robert Nanna
U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Alexander Mora, executive officer of Combat Logistics Battalion 15, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, briefs Marines on processing evacuees during a simulated military assisted departure as part of Realistic Urban Training exercise in Reno, Nevada, Aug. 24, 2023. During the scenario, the 15th MEU conducted a mission coordinating with a U.S. Consulate until the situation necessitated an evacuation of consulate staff and American citizens from the area. RUT is a land-based predeployment exercise which enhances the integration and collective capability of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force while providing the 15th MEU an opportunity to train and execute operations in an urban environment.


On Aug. 24, the last day of the training, a KC-130J Super Hercules again transported 15th MEU Marines from Yuma more than 600 miles to Reno to screen and process evacuee role players. In the scenario, that aircraft would have then transported more than 50 American citizens to a nearby safe haven nation.

In the coming months, the 15th MEU will continue to train to conduct these types of missions to support U.S. Embassies and protect American citizens while forward deployed.

The 15th MEU will complete RUT on Aug. 28 and return to Camp Pendleton.


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