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Lava Dogs go wheels up


Story by Sgt. Owen Kimbrel

Lava Dogs go wheels up MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - The sound of CH-53E Super Stallion rotors spinning in the distance could be heard as Marines and Sailors with Company B, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, and Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366 teamed up to run drills in ground air integration training aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., July 26.

Utilizing helicopters, the Marines increased their ability to reach a remote area, insert, and conduct a cordon and search to locate potential targets housing weapons and drugs.

“This type of training is important because it gives the Marines the opportunity to conduct TSE [Tactical Site Exploitation] methods and also be able to exploit an actual village to set up an inner and outer cordon,” said 1st Lt. Alan Blackburn, a platoon commander with Company B, 1/3.

The Marines inserted on the outskirts of the village and tactically cleared buildings in search of possible targets, establishing a cordon of the area to not let anyone in or out.

After clearing the buildings, the Marines found five possible targets. Upon further questioning and battling varying combatant attitudes from the role players, the Marines used a biometric scanner to scan each individual’s eyes and finger prints to determine which individuals needed to be detained.

“A good thing to take away from this type of training is that you sometimes are going to have to force people to do what you say, and when they don’t speak the same language as you, it makes it that much harder,” said Lance Cpl. Arata Young, a team leader with Company B, 1/3. “So you have to be patient yet assertive in order to make progress.”

After completing the mission, the Marines were able to receive feedback from observers with varying fields of experience from detainee questioning to employment of the biometric scanners.

“It was a good opportunity for us to come out here and perform,” added Blackburn. “Everyone likes to conduct [Military Operations in Urban Terrain] towns, so we came in here and had a good time.”

This training allows Marines to successfully replicate sectioning off an area in order to search and seize hazardous material or individuals.

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