GEORGE COUNTY, Miss. (WKRG) – Officials from the U.S. Marine Corps came to George County on Monday to recognize county supervisor Frankie Massey and the board of supervisors for lending land to military training.

Marines have been using Massey’s land since 2020 to practice realistic decision-making scenarios similar to what they will face on deployment.

“This is our last chance that we get to see the Marines before they go on deployment. So they put several Marines in various scenarios and they grade them on the process of how they get to the end result,” said exercise planner Albert Carpenter.

The RAVEN unit readiness exercise simulates a United States Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) unit in a country where they are likely to train allied forces on deployment.

Training done in Lucedale includes live-action role players acting as foreign civilians and soldiers from the host nation. The MARSOC units work through scenarios requiring intelligence gathering, control narratives, public perception, the training of host nation forces, combat missions, coordination with the State Department, and raid execution.

Marines most recently parachuted from and landed a helicopter in Rocky Creek before navigating eastward in the night as part of the training.

RAVEN is typically the last in a series of exercises in a six-month-long training cycle that a Marine Raider company will execute to prepare for an overseas deployment.

The most recent class of Marines to complete training in George County last month will graduate and be deployed to commands for Africa, the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific Region within 60 days.

Training staff told county supervisors the 18 exercises completed annually in the Gulf Coast have a $14 million economic impact in the region each year.

“We could not certify all of our companies and special operations task forces before they deploy without the support of the community. We look forward to continuing to work with you in the future. We’re making an investment here in Southern Mississippi. It provides us with a lot of the things that we need to train on,” said Lt. Col. Damon Doykos.