News: Light Strike Vehicles expand Helo Company’s capabilities, range
Story by Cpl. John Robbart III
ARTA BEACH, Djibouti – When the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s helo-borne assault force receives the call, a specialized vehicle could help them complete the task at hand.
The Marines with Weapons Platoon, Kilo Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th MEU, practiced working with the unit’s light strike vehicles, or LSVs, during the unit’s sustainment training in Djibouti, designed to increase unit cohesion, practice the fundamentals of their trades and take advantage of a unique opportunity to train in a foreign country, Feb. 11.
“The LSV is a platform we use to seize airfields or assist us in setting up blocking or support-by-fire positions,” said 1st Lt. James P. Rooney, platoon commander, Weapons Platoon, Kilo Company, BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “It’s a very unique vehicle that we are able to get on the ground quickly,” added the 25-year-old native of Long Island, N.Y.
The training in Djibouti allowed the Marines to familiarize themselves with the vehicles, and enabled them to practice quickly offloading LSVs from aircraft to facilitate convoy operations.
“We are very proficient with helicopter operations and dismounted patrols,” said Sgt. Tyler W. Johnson, assault section leader, Weapons Platoon, Kilo Company, BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “This gave us an opportunity to practice a new skill,” added the 26-year-old native of Phoenix.
The LSVs can be partially dismantled and stowed away in the back of a CH-53E Super Stallion. The Marines are able to assemble the vehicle for travel in less than a minute. The company has four vehicles, providing the platoon with a means to close on an objective quickly.
Additionally, the vehicles enable the unit to sustain for a longer period of time. Using a vehicle to move to their objectives means the Marines can carry more food, water and ammunition.
“It’s designed for the 120mm mortar system,” said Rooney. “This is something you would usually see at an artillery battalion, but it works well for us.”
During the familiarization, the Marines practiced maintaining security, proper dispersion and internal communication.
“Driving the LSV is a good time,” said Lance Cpl. Nathan J. Ross, machine gunner, Weapons Platoon, Kilo Company, BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “It’s a lot more maneuverable than a humvee, and it’s really easy to fold up and put in a helicopter,” added the 20-year-old native of Gillette, Wyo.
Kilo Company is one of three rifle companies that make up BLT 3/5, the 15th MEU’s ground combat element.
The 15th MEU is deployed as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group as a U.S. Central Command theatre reserve force, providing support for maritime security operations and theatre security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.