USS BATAAN --
Marines with Golf Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted a motorized raid aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 6, 2011.
The raid was a ship-to-shore exercise, which used diverse assets within the MEU including helicopters, tilt-rotor aircraft and landing craft units to unloaded vehicles along the shoreline.
“This training is very important,” said 2nd Lt. Dom A. Pellegrini, a Golf Company platoon commander and Boston native. “Especially the coordination with the Navy; it was good for the Marines to see an actual beach landing.”
Before the raid, Golf Company Marines loaded their trucks onto LCUs aboard the USS Whidbey Island. After they hit the water and headed ashore, AH-1W Cobras from Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced), 22nd MEU, circled overhead to provide protection.
Before they hit the beach, the LCUs dropped their front ramp and the Marines drove their vehicles onto the sand and headed inland.
“The beach landing was definitely something I’ve never experienced and it’s the same for a lot of the guys as well,” said Lance Cpl. Stuart J. McHenry, a Golf Company squad leader and Hornell, N.Y., native.
Before the assault force raided the objective, Marines set up blocking positions with concertina wire and machine guns.
Once the blocking positions were in place, the Marines moved into the town and fought against insurgents, completing actions on the objective quickly and efficiently. They then loaded back into their vehicles and returned to the beach.
“It went very smoothly,” said Pellegrini. “There were a lot of assets involved. It’s a challenge coordinating all the assets and making sure everyone is in the right place at the right time.”
The ship-to-shore training comes at a vital time as the Marines deployed nearly three months early. The MEU will continue to train off the coast of the U.S. before heading east.
It is unclear what missions they will conduct as they deploy to support U.S., Africa and European commands.
“Without a doubt, the Marines are confident and capable to execute any mission” said McHenry.
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and will continue to train and improve 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, commanded by Col. Eric J. Steidl and comprised of an Aviation Combat Element, Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); a Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its Command Element.
Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps' smallest permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force, and comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors ready to provide immediate response to a hostile environment or crisis.