MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Close air support and casualty evacuation helicopters revolved over a fictitious village while Marines in tactical vehicles converged on an objective during a motorized raid training exercise at the mobile Military Operations in Urban Terrain training area aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Feb. 15, 2011.
The Marines surrounded a building, breached a door, and finally, met the enemy face-to-face.
The chaos was provided by the II Marine Expeditionary Force Special Operations Training Group’s Motorized Company Raid Course. The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit’s major subordinate elements participated in a two-week course to train proper execution of a motorized, company-sized raid.
Simulated improvised explosive devices detonated, village bystanders created commotion, insurgents were detained and the full effects of combat descended on the Marines of Golf Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd MEU. Although they conducted the exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, the training simulation replicated the sensation of a combat environment.
While the raid was in full swing, Marines provided security, evacuated casualties, destroyed a weapons cache, surveyed the area for looming threats and gathered intelligence.
Suddenly, a tactical vehicle was struck by an IED. The shaken, yet focused Marines quickly maneuvered away from the kill-zone, assessed the situation and dispatched another truck to tow the disabled vehicle.
The daytime raid was one of three evaluations to test the Marines on techniques learned during the two-week course. Two night raids followed this evolution later in the week.
Special Operations Training Group, II MEF, designed the course curriculum to prepare the Marines to effectively plan, brief and execute a motorized raid on simulated enemy objectives to prime the 22nd MEU for an upcoming deployment and potential contingencies.
The training combined assets commanders use to conduct a motorized raid, like force reconnaissance, snipers and radio reconnaissance Marines.
Within a few hours of receiving the initial intelligence, we’re supposed to be able to execute any mission we’re tasked, said Sgt. Joshua W. Simonson, 27, a squad leader with the BLT.
Simonson said the training forced Marines to be thinkers, to adapt and overcome various scenarios.
“I think it’s a great training environment; I’m having a blast out here,” added Simonson, a Bellingham, Mass., native. “It’s hard, tough and fast paced … but everyone is learning something; I don’t care how long you’ve been in.”
Simonson said new Marines with Golf Company progressed dramatically in just two, short weeks of raid training. On the contrary, senior Marines also added new tactics to the leadership’s expertise.
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are in the early stages of their pre-deployment training program, which is a series of progressively complex exercises designed to train and test the MEU's ability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task Force.
The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission capable force comprised of Aviation Combat Element, Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and the Command Element.
Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps' smallest permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force, commanded by a colonel and comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors ready to provide immediate response in a hostile or crisis environment. While deployed, each MEU also incorporates two KC-130 aircraft available to support the unit's operations abroad.