Service members from across Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River gathered to see over 100 different vendors present new technology, programs and available services to Marines at the Marine South Military Expo on MCB Camp Lejeune, April 11 and 12.
While the expo mainly showcased equipment ranging from new weapons systems to boot socks, some booths featured representatives from United Service Organizations and the Marine Corps League offering assistance to military members when they transition out of the military or face other hardships.
Top leaders from across the base were on hand to see the latest products military industry had to offer with a particular focus in mind. “We’re going against an enemy that we have not seen in a long, long time,” said keynote speaker Lt. Gen. Robert F. Hedelund, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force to an audience comprised mostly of uniformed service members and veterans. “We’re looking for young minds and innovative thinking to apply some of what you see in here to today’s warfighting.”
Every year the Marine Corps League sponsors the Marine South Military Expo so all the companies can come on base and show service members what they’re selling. Marines get to test some of the equipment being shown and provide feedback to impact the production and usability of a future product.
"The battlefield is not a good place to learn new skills,” said Ralph Petroff, president of the North America branch of Marathon Targets, a vendor at the expo. “Our goal is to allow Marines to train in the most realistic environment that they can before they have to use those skills in combat.”
Some of the technology displayed is already owned and used by the Marine Corps such as the joint light tactical vehicle in order to show Marines what they already have so they can be compared to the new equipment they could be using in the future.