By Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright
31ST MEU Public Affairs
Sporadic bursts of rifle fire cut through the still air, drawing an immediate response from the Marines staged on the opposite end of the clearing. Calls for maneuvers were made as groups of Marines took up defensive positions, returning fire in the direction of the enemy contact. Minutes later, three hostiles were either killed or captured, and a security perimeter was established around the cleared area.
“We’ve encountered rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire,” said Lance Cpl. Derek Gregory, an assaultman with Company A, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. “After clearing the immediate area and checking for any (improvised explosive devices), we’ll return the town to the (local) government.”
Capturing an area from control of enemy forces is one of the objectives during a training exercise that took place Jan. 13. The unit, known as Boat Company, conducted a mock raid using combat rubber raiding craft on the Kin Blue training area as part of the MEU’s pre-deployment exercise.
“The focus of this training was to properly conduct a boat raid from the beach, locate and eliminate any offensive forces, and patrol the surrounding area,” said Sgt. Henry Pulcine, acting range safety officer for the Kin Blue training area.
A total of 15 boats hit the beach with the Marines moving quickly ashore and setting up defenses around the beach. After the boats were camouflaged with sand, the Marines made their way into the simulated enemy-held areas with cover provided by snipers and mortar teams.
“It may be fake, but it’s one of the best ways to keep our skills fresh and ensure we don’t forget any beneficial training,” said Gregory. “We’re going to keep doing it, so we’re ready when we deploy.”
After securing the area, the Marines continued patrolling, discovering and properly clearing mock IEDs along the way.
Another patch of resistance was met when hostiles, concealed in the foliage, attempted to repel the Marines from securing a landing zone.
Those Marines who suffered simulated injuries during the firefights were evacuated by way of helicopter from the secured landing zone.
When the rest of the area was deemed free of enemy forces, the Marines made their way back to the beach to leave in the craft they arrived in.
“This training combined different elements of the (Marine air-ground task force) and further taught them how to work as a cohesive whole,” said Pulcine. “It was a good learning exercise, and I think it helped the Marines work on any areas that might have needed attention.”
|Date Posted:||01.26.2012 20:37|
|Location:||KIN BLUE, OKINAWA, JP|
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