News: Camp Lejeune Marines utilize air support during Exercise Mailed Fist
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — The II Marine Expeditionary Force and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing kicked off a large-force training operation, dubbed Exercise Mailed Fist, June 18.
Marines with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, participated in the initial aerial assault phase of the operation which in turn began their week-long training operation.
“As part of Exercise Mailed Fist, 2nd MAW made a lot of their aircraft available to help support the division,” Capt. Scot A. Foster, air operations officer, 2/8, said. “The operation is giving us a large-scale training opportunity to see how well different elements of the Marine Corps can function as whole.”
The battalion staged three different companies for the assault. Four 2nd MAW squadrons, using MV-22B Ospreys and CH-53E Super Stallions, transported the Marines to various landing zones aboard the base. UH-1N Hueys and AH-1W Cobras from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467 provided oversight as waves Marines of dashed toward the aircrafts for transportation.
“This is a pretty rare occurrence so we’re very lucky to be able to take advantage of this,” Foster said. “Usually when platoons move your talking only two helicopters; here were utilizing up to 10 aircraft to move nearly 500 Marines in three different waves.”
According to Foster, the exercise is the largest of its kind in nearly 10 years. He said the battalion wanted to employ 2nd MAW’s support to its fullest potential which is why they planned 2/8’s field exercise when they did.
“Any time these Marines can get on helicopters and do missions is a great benefit,” Foster said. “Just exposure to the different aircraft and utilizing them for these types of drills is huge - it builds confidence.”
The remainder of the battalion’s week-long field exercise consisted of live-fire combat movement rehearsals, scouting and patrolling, Military Operations in Urbanized Terrain, simulated causality drills and motorized and mechanized attacks.
The battalion is slated for a deployment to Afghanistan next year and has several other training events scheduled in the near future. Foster said the unit has numerous combat veterans who are working hard to pass their knowledge to the new Marines coming on board—“This aerial movement is just one of the things we’re doing to stay prepared,” Foster said.
“We’re going to continue to train to conventional standards and maintain our readiness,” Foster said. “We’re going to maintain that expertise to execute a high state of readiness. Every month, we’re updating everything so we will be ready to go at a moment’s notice.”
Date Posted:06.20.2012 14:44
Location:CAMP LEJEUNE, NC, US
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