USS BATAAN --
Marines and sailors with Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted an aviation-borne tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel while deployed aboard the USS Bataan, April 10, 2011.
The Marines conducted the exercise to enhance their aviation-borne rescue capabilities while deployed.
In the training scenario, an injured Aggressor Squadron 28 pilot was stranded ashore after ejecting from his aircraft. The 22nd MEU immediately tasked Weapons Company to respond to the incident and conduct a search and rescue mission.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 22, radio reconnaissance and combat correspondent Marines from the MEU’S Command Element were attached to the team to provide assistance and document the special operation.
Once the TRAP commander gathered vital information on the pilot’s location and condition, hostile activity in the area and terrain features, the team boarded two CH-53E Super Stallions with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced).
The Marines flew from USS Bataan to a landing zone on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., not far from the stranded pilot’s position.
The North Carolina coast served as a fictional scenario for the duration of the exercise.
After landing, the Marines quickly exited the helicopters and established a secure perimeter around the landing zone. The helicopters immediately departed the area to avoid the possibility of a hostile attack.
As the search and rescue effort began, the Marines received incoming machinegun fire from several positions. The Marines quickly took cover and returned fire to eliminate the enemy threat, and allow the search and rescue teams to advance.
Search teams pushed forward to locate the distressed pilot, while AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters flew overhead providing close air support.
The pilot was located, properly identified and loaded on a stretcher for medical evacuation. The helicopters soon returned to the landing zone and the Marines rushed aboard for extraction. The Marines successfully returned to the USS Bataan, stored weapons, and together, debriefed the mission.
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 Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; 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 capabilities in a hostile or crisis mission.