CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines and sailors from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Pendleton, Calif., will be training at Fort Hunter Liggett and neighboring Camp Roberts March 15-29. The MEU includes a command element and three major subordinate elements handling ground, aviation and logistics.

Most Marines and equipment will be based at Fort Hunter Liggett and use Marine aircraft and ground vehicles to conduct training missions in the surrounding areas. To ensure the training is realistic some flights and movements will occur after darkness, increasing local air and ground traffic. The combination of these sites brings a dimension of urban realism and provides mission-essential training.

This training enhances Marines' combat skills in a simulated urban environment similar to those they may find during combat missions. The exercise is conducted to maintain a high level of combat readiness as the 11th MEU prepares for deployment later this year. The unit's mission is to provide a rapid-response force capable of conducting conventional amphibious and maritime operations from sea, surface or air.

The units are sensitive to the impact this exercise may have on local citizens and the goal is to train safely with minimal interference. Measures will be taken to reduce the amount of noise associated with this training, but residents near the exercise may hear helicopters and weapons fire.

All aspects of the training have been coordinated with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, and the Federal Aviation Administration, to ensure the training will be carried out safely. The Marines respectfully request that local citizens who encounter training activities keep a safe distance for the safety of themselves and those participating in the training. This training includes extensive live fire.

Equipment and Marines have already begun arriving for the exercise, and drivers in the area can expect to see traffic related to the exercise in the air and on the roads until early April.

Hunting and fishing on Fort Hunter Liggett is closed through March 29. Drivers passing through on Nacimiento-Fergusson to the coast or Del Venturi Road to the Ventana Wilderness should remain on the pavement and not stop within the installation's boundaries.

Fort Hunter Liggett is the eighth largest Army installation in the United States. With more than 165,000 acres of unencroached mountains, valleys, rivers, plains and forests, the training facilities provide ideal maneuver areas for today's training requirements.

Camp Roberts is a full-service joint military training center supporting training and mobilization of National Guard, Army Reserve and active component units. With more than 43,000 acres, multiple ranges and diverse training areas, Camp Roberts offers soldiers the opportunity to train in a realistic environment, with world class support.